Charmed

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Charmed
a dark blue triquetra over a darker blue background that fades to black near the edges with the word "charmed" in capital letters across the center using a light-blue, medium-sized font
Genre Supernatural drama
Comedy-drama
Horror
Fantasy
Action
Format Serial drama
Created by Constance M. Burge
Starring Holly Marie Combs
Alyssa Milano
Rose McGowan
Shannen Doherty
Brian Krause
Dorian Gregory
Julian McMahon
Drew Fuller
Kaley Cuoco
T.W. King
Greg Vaughan
Karis Paige Bryant
Opening theme "How Soon Is Now?" by Love Spit Love (Cover version)
Composer(s) J. Peter Robinson
and others
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 178 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Brad Kern
Constance M. Burge
Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Camera setup Panavision, Single-camera
Running time 40–45 minutes
Production company(s) Spelling Television
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Broadcast
Original channel The WB
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital
Original run October 7, 1998 (1998-10-07) – May 21, 2006 (2006-05-21)

Charmed is an American television series created by writer Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling and his production company Spelling Television, with writer-director Brad Kern serving as showrunner. The series was originally broadcast by The WB Television Network for eight seasons from October 7, 1998, until May 21, 2006.[1]

The series narrative follows three sisters, known as the Charmed Ones, the most powerful good witches of all time, whose prophesied destiny is to protect innocent lives from evil beings such as demons and warlocks. Each sister possesses unique magical powers that grow and evolve, while they attempt to maintain normal lives in modern day San Francisco. Keeping their supernatural identities separate and secret from their ordinary lives often becomes a challenge for them, with the exposure of magic having far-reaching consequences on their various relationships and resulting in a number of police and FBI investigations throughout the series. The first three seasons of Charmed focus on the three Halliwell sisters, Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). Following the death of Prue in the third season finale, their long-lost half sister, Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan), assumes her place within "The Power of Three" from season four onwards.

Charmed achieved both critical and popular acclaim,[2][3][4] with its first episode, "Something Wicca This Way Comes", garnering 7.7 million viewers, breaking the record for the highest-rated debut episode for The WB.[5] During its fifth season, the series became the highest-rated Sunday night program in the WB Network's history.[6][7][8] The series finale, "Forever Charmed", ended with a season high of 4.5 million viewers,[9] after becoming the second-longest drama broadcast by The WB. In January 2006, series producer Brad Kern declared Charmed was the longest running hour-long television series featuring all female leads.[10][11][12] The series also received numerous awards and nominations throughout its run and, in 2010, HuffPost TV and AOL TV ranked Charmed within their joint list of The Top 20 Magic/Supernatural Shows of All Time[13] while, in 2013, TV Guide listed the series as one of The 60 Greatest Sci-Fi Shows of All Time.[14] Throughout 2012, six years after it ceased broadcasting, Charmed was the second-most watched television series on subscription video-on-demand services, including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.[15][16]

The franchise has been developed into other media, including literature, a video game, and a New York Times Best Selling graphic novel series[17] which, from June 2010, has continued the narrative through Charmed: Season 9, commencing eighteen months after the end of the television series.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 1998, when the Warner Bros. Television Network began looking for new drama series for the 1998–99 season, they approached Spelling Television (which had produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven) to create it. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural-themed dramas such as the WB's own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the production company explored different forms of mythology to find characters they could realize with contemporary storytelling.[18]

Constance Burge was hired to create the series as she was under contract with 20th Century Fox and Spelling Television after conceiving the drama series Savannah.[18] When the theme of witchcraft was first pitched to her, she was aware of stereotypes of witches (flying brooms, black cats, and warts). After Wicca research, she changed her perspective[19] and aimed at telling a story of good witches who looked and acted like ordinary people. With this, her initial concept was a series set in Boston, Massachusetts[19] about three friends and roommates who were all witches.[18] However, executive producer E. Duke Vincent lacked confidence, asking "Why would anybody want to watch a show about three witches?" He proposed that the series focus on family values and developed the series-long mantra of it being about "three sisters who happen to be witches, not three witches who happen to be sisters." Spelling warmed to Burge's ideas and, after the concept was re-crafted to be a series about three sisters (now living in San Francisco) descended from a line of witches,[19] it was pitched to the Warner Brothers' Susanne Daniels, who liked it, allowing the series to begin development.[18]

The series was titled Charmed after Spelling's suggestion of House of Sisters was dropped. Burge wrote the pilot's script. They filmed a 28-minute version (the "unaired pilot", never aired on network television) with which the series was picked up by The WB. Upon its debut, Charmed received the largest audience for a series premiere in the network's three-year history.[5] The first season of twenty-two episodes was picked up by The WB network after two shows aired.

Casting[edit]

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Shannen Doherty was cast as the eldest sister Prue Halliwell, while her best friend and former Picket Fences actress Holly Marie Combs played the role of the second sister Piper Halliwell.[20] Lori Rom was originally cast as the third sister Phoebe Halliwell in the 28-minute unaired pilot episode.[20] However, Rom quit the series, and a new pilot was filmed with former Who's the Boss actress Alyssa Milano in the role of Phoebe.[20] In season one, T.W. King was cast as the detective Andy Trudeau, Dorian Gregory was cast as his detective partner Darryl Morris, and Brian Krause was cast as the sisters' whitelighter Leo Wyatt.[20] Doherty departed the series after the third season and was replaced by film actress Rose McGowan, who played the long-lost younger sister Paige Matthews.[21]

Executive producers[edit]

Executive producers Aaron Spelling and Duke Vincent maintained their roles until the series ended. Burge became an executive producer when she was hired to create the series and write the pilot. After the short "unaired pilot" was shown to the WB and the series was picked up by the network, Kern was recruited as the fourth executive producer and as the show runner in order to decipher how the series would develop over the course of its run. While Kern remained with the show until its end, between the second and third seasons Burge was not an executive producer. She remained as executive consultant until the end of season four when she left Charmed.

Writing and format[edit]

Scripting was done by a large number of writers. Kern did the most writing, with a total of 26 episodes, as well as directing one of them. The writers with the most writing credits other than Kern include Daniel Cerone, Curtis Kheel, Zack Estrin, Chris Levinson, Krista Vernoff, Sheryl J. Anderson, Monica Breen, Alison Schapker, Cameron Litvack, and Jeannine Renshaw.[22] Burge wrote seven episodes for the first and second seasons before leaving her position as executive producer. Scripting was carried out after group brainstorms took place, discussing the events of the episodes, the emotions of the characters, and the mythology involved. Robert Masello, an executive story editor for the series, credits himself as the only demonologist hired for a series, in order to add his experience to the storyline.[23]

However, as Combs revealed in The Women of Charmed documentary, the series aimed at following a mythology created by fantasy, and not adhering to Wiccan rules too closely, for fear of coming under criticism for either not being "technically correct enough" or missing the truth completely.[23] Between the second and the third season, Burge left, leaving her former position to executive producer Kern. Burge remained as creative consultant until season four.[24] Burge's departure resulted in changes in the story structure of the show, from a "demon of the week" system to using third- or half-season-long story arcs. In addition, more importance was given to the protagonists' personal lives. The serial connection of episodes culminated in the second half of season four. Despite the ratings increasing during season four's final story arc from 4.19 to 4.21, Warner Brothers asked Kern to abandon the serial system. This led to the largely episodic structure of season five, and resulted in the two systems being balanced from the sixth season onwards.

Logo and symbols[edit]

A Triquetra, the series' logo as seen throughout the show.

During the show's run, the Warner Brothers Television Network used two official logos to represent the series. The first was used during the first and second seasons and featured the name Charmed underlined and with a triple-aspect symbol above it. The second logo was introduced at the start of the third season and remained until the series ended. It was written in a different font and is still underlined and sometimes featured a triquetra above the name. This logo was designed by Margo Chase. Although the second logo replaced the first in all promotional material by the Warner Brothers, such as posters and television adverts, the first remained to be used on official merchandise after the third season, including on the covers of the novel series, the DVDs, the official Charmed magazine and the Charmed Comics.

Opening sequence[edit]

The opening sequence for Charmed is used to introduce the main and supporting characters in each season. It consists of various scenes from episodes and individual footages of characters that are updated from season to season.[25][26] The opening begins with images of the Golden Gate Bridge and flashing shots of the triquetra symbol.[27] The show's title card then appears with the triquetra symbol and Book of Shadows in the background.[27] After the title card fades in the seasons 1–3 opening, scenes from the pilot episode are shown, which includes an overhead view of the sisters at a round table and a shot of them coming downstairs.[27] A scene of the sisters reciting a spell is then shown with the word "starring".[27] This is followed by individual footages and names of each cast member; Shannen Doherty's appears first, then Holly Marie Combs' and Alyssa Milano's, followed by the individual footages and names of each supporting character.[27] The last few scenes in the opening are of the sisters walking upstairs into their home and Doherty's character closing the door using her telekinetic powers.[27]

Following Doherty's departure at the end of season three, the season four opening sequence was redone to remove all footages of Doherty and include her replacement Rose McGowan.[25] The beginning of the opening remains the same.[25] However, after the show's title card fades, scenes from the pilot episode are replaced with images that include the Golden Gate Bridge, a gargoyle, talisman, scrying crystal, tattoo of the triquetra symbol, and candles.[25] The order in which each main character's individual footage and name appears in the opening was also changed; Milano's was moved up first, McGowan's was put second and Combs' was moved down third.[25] The last few shots in the opening were also changed to include the Halliwell Manor and pages in the Book of Shadows.[25] A five-second opening sequence is used for the two-part premiere episodes of seasons four and five; it features flashing shots of the triquetra symbol and the show's title in large blue letters.[28][29]

The opening theme song used in the television airings of all eight seasons is Love Spit Love's cover version of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?".[30][31] In the shortened five-second opening for the two-part premiere episodes of seasons four and five, the song is replaced by instrumental music.[28][29] "How Soon Is Now?" was replaced by hard-rock instrumental music in the season eight DVD because the license for it expired.[31][32] This instrumental music is also used in the opening sequence for all eight seasons on Netflix.

Plot[edit]

"Before Melinda was burned at the stake, she vowed that each generation of Warren witches would become increasingly stronger, culminating in the arrival of three sisters ... the most powerful witches the world has ever known - The Charmed Ones."

Phoebe Halliwell, "Something Wicca This Way Comes" (series premiere)
(Written by Constance M. Burge)

In 1998, after the three sisters' (Piper, Phoebe, Prue) grandmother dies, Phoebe moves from New York to the Halliwell Manor to live with her sisters. When Phoebe comes across the family's Book of Shadows (a family heirloom book containing centuries of knowledge, spells, and magic learned or created by the Halliwell matriarchs), Phoebe learns that she and her sisters are the most powerful witches ever known in the history of Witchcraft and the world, destined to protect both innocents and the world at large from demons, warlocks, and other evil creatures. Phoebe, reasonably thinking the book is a novelty, reads the book's initial inscription—an inscription which also happens to be the incantation which activates the Halliwells' "Charmed" powers once all of the sisters are back at the manor.

The fictional Halliwell Manor located at Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles, California. However, in Charmed, the manor is said to be set in San Francisco.

By the end of the first episode, each sister learns that she has a unique power and that they can each cast spells and brew potions. Prue, the eldest, had the power of telekinesis—(the ability to move objects with her mind), and in season two she develops the power of astral projection. Piper, the middle sister, has the power to effectively "freeze" people and objects. As she grows more proficient, she learns how to freeze only certain people or objects or body parts, as she wishes. In season three, her powers grow even more, as she is able to make molecules move so fast they explode. Phoebe, the youngest, initially possesses the power of premonition, which evolves into being able to receive visions of both the future and the past. She later picks up the powers of levitation in season three, and empathy in season six, the latter allowing her to sense and tap into others' emotions and sometimes, powers.

During the first two seasons, the sisters would face various evil beings from week to week. However, they discover in season three that their true enemy is The Underworld's ruler, the Source of All Evil. Prue is later killed in the season three finale by The Source's personal assassin, Shax. While grieving Prue's loss, Piper and Phoebe discover that they have a half-sister—Paige Matthews, who had been the secret love child of the sisters' witch mother and her guardian angel ("Whitelighter"), Sam Wilder. Paige's abilities represent her dual heritage as both a witch and Whitelighter; like Prue she possesses a form of telekinesis, but she has to verbally call for objects to teleport ("orb") them to their intended destination. As she learns to control the dual sides of her ancestry, Paige also learns how to orb herself and others, and eventually she receives her own Whitelighter charges to train and protect as they learn witchcraft. Paige, after falling in love with her future husband, develops the ability to heal others with the touch of her hand in season eight.

The Source, responsible for all of the attacks on the sisters, becomes the main villain during season four until he is finally vanquished. After The Source is vanquished, an annual season-long storyline and several antagonists were introduced in subsequent seasons (the "Big Bad" television format). These included Phoebe's ex-husband Cole Turner until mid-season five; the scheming, misguided Whitelighter Elder, Gideon, throughout season six; the Avatarsconsequentalist Utopia-advocating neutral beings— until mid-season seven; the demon Zankou, until the season seven finale; and in season eight, powerful sister witches Billie and Christy, who fall under the influence of the evil demonic Triad (who earlier featured as early-season three antagonists). On top of the supernatural issues in Charmed, the characters had to contend with serious issues in the day-to-day world of the mortals — such as relationships, careers, marriage, childbirth, illness and the deaths of their loved ones. The sisters also had to fight to prevent the exposure of the existence of magic to the community at large, contending with several police and FBI investigations.

The sisters also faced romantic storylines. Prue's featured love interest included Inspector Andy Trudeau, a childhood friend, who dies in the season one finale and a co worker, Jack Sheridan. Piper's central love interest throughout the series is the sisters' Whitelighter Leo; their early relationship was problematic due to the forbidden nature of witch-Whitelighter relationships, and so in season two a love triangle forms with Piper, Leo and her neighbor Dan Gordon. Eventually, the two manage to marry and consecrate their union in season three, and have two sons—Wyatt, in season five, and Chris, in season six. The couple separate due to supernatural circumstances at the end of the fifth season, and later reunite in the sixth; the final episode shows them to have a daughter, many grandchildren, and grow old together. Phoebe's relationship history involved many dates in the first two seasons, and a tortured relationship with half-demon Cole Turner in the show's third, fourth and fifth seasons; they had a turbulent marriage in the fourth, and in the fifth he played the role of an aggressive ex. Phoebe had a number of multi-episode mortal boyfriends in subsequent seasons before meeting a cupid, Coop, in the eighth season, whom she marries and has three children with in the finale episode flashforward. Paige, like Phoebe, had several multi-episode mortal boyfriends, as well as male witch and magic "addict" Richard Montana (season six) and unstable FBI agent-come-Whitelighter Kyle Brody (season seven). In the eighth season, she becomes committed to mortal parole officer Henry Mitchell, whom she marries and—in flashforwards—is shown to have three children with.

Characters[edit]

Shannen Doherty (left) portrayed Prue Halliwell, and Holly Marie Combs (right) portrayed Piper Halliwell.

Main characters[edit]

  • Holly Marie Combs as Piper Halliwell, the second eldest sister who has the power to freeze her surrounding environment. As the series progresses, she also gains the power to cause objects to spontaneously explode. Piper starts off as the middle child of the Halliwell sisters, but later becomes the oldest sister after Prue dies. One of the recurring struggles for Piper is her attempt to maintain a normal life despite her destiny of defeating the forces of evil in San Francisco. In season three, she marries her whitelighter Leo Wyatt, and as the series progresses, they have two children—Wyatt (born in season five) and Chris (born in season six).
Alyssa Milano (left) portrayed Phoebe Halliwell, and Rose McGowan (right) portrayed Paige Matthews.
  • Alyssa Milano as Phoebe Halliwell, the third sister with the power of premonition, which enables her to see into the future as well as the past. As the series progresses, she also gains the powers of levitation and empathy. Phoebe starts out as the youngest and most rebellious of the Halliwell sisters. Because of her free-spirited nature, she often comes into major conflicts with Prue, but the two eventually mend their relationship. She later becomes the middle sister after Prue dies and the series introduces her younger half-sister Paige. One of the recurring struggles for Phoebe is her attempt to find a career and true love.
  • Rose McGowan as Paige Matthews, the youngest half-sister who has the power to move objects with her mind by orbing objects from one location to another through a vocal command. She is the daughter of Patty and her whitelighter Sam Wilder, making Paige a half-witch and half-whitelighter. Paige was given up at birth to protect her from the wrath of The Elders if they were to discover her whitelighter heritage. At the beginning of season four, she goes on to help reconstitute the Charmed Ones by assuming her place within The Power of Three. As the series progresses, Paige also inherits a variety of whitelighter powers such as orbing, sensing, glamouring and healing. One of her recurring struggles is finding an identity for herself outside of her role as a Charmed One.

Supporting characters[edit]

  • Brian Krause as Leo Wyatt, the Charmed Ones' whitelighter who has the powers to orb, heal, sense, levitate, glamour and hover. Leo is introduced into season one as the sisters' handyman who is hired to fix up their house, but they later discover that he is their whitelighter. Leo's whitelighter duties often causes problems for his marriage to Piper and their family. Their relationship is the first of many conflicts between the sisters and The Elders.
  • Dorian Gregory as Darryl Morris, a lieutenant in the San Francisco Police Department. Darryl is introduced into season one as the partner of Detective Andy Trudeau. At first, Darryl is suspicious of the sisters' recurring connection to mysterious murders and crimes. However, a few months after Andy's death, the sisters reveal to him that they are good witches trying to bring justice and protection to the world. Throughout the series, Darryl helps the sisters cover up unsolved cases related to demonic activity, as well as granting them favors and giving them general support. After season seven, Darryl and his family move to the East Coast.
  • Julian McMahon as Cole Turner, known to the supernatural world as the demonic assassin, Belthazor. Cole has the powers to teleport and throw projective energy balls which could stun or kill. He is introduced into season three as an Assistant District Attorney sent by The Triad to kill the Charmed Ones, but instead falls in love with Phoebe. Though Cole eventually completely rids himself of his demonic nature and marries Phoebe in season four, he later returns to evil after he unwillingly becomes the new Source of All Evil. As the Source, Cole is eventually vanquished by the Charmed Ones, only to come back from death itself in his attempts to win Phoebe back. Driven insane, Cole is, through his own doing, once again killed by the sisters in the fifth season.
  • Drew Fuller as Chris Halliwell, the second son of Leo and Piper. Chris is introduced into the season five finale as a whitelighter from the future who helps assist the sisters against magical beings known as The Titans. In season six, Chris reveals that he is Leo and Piper's son and has traveled back in time to prevent his older brother Wyatt from growing up to be the evil dictator he becomes in the future. In the season six finale, adult Chris is killed by an Elder named Gideon and baby Chris is born.
  • Kaley Cuoco as Billie Jenkins, introduced into season eight as a young college student and a new charge for Paige. She has the power to move objects with her mind using telekinesis. Billie spends most of the season trying to find her eldest sister Christy, who was kidnapped 15 years earlier by The Triad. Billie is eventually reunited with her sister, but does not know that she has been turned evil under the influence of demons. After Christy briefly sways her to betray the Charmed Ones, Billie eventually sides with them in the series finale and is forced to kill her sister in self-defense.
  • Ted King as Andy Trudeau, introduced into season one as the sisters' childhood friend and Prue's high school sweetheart and first love. He works as a detective for the San Francisco Police Department and is coincidentally assigned to almost every police case that involves the sisters. Andy eventually discovers that they are witches and serves as the sisters' initial connection to the police force. In the season one finale, Andy is killed by the demon Rodriguez, who also happens to be one of the Internal Affairs officers investigating Andy's unsolved cases.
  • Greg Vaughan as Dan Gordon, introduced into season two as the sisters' new next-door neighbor. Dan and Piper become romantically involved after Piper and Leo break up due to the strenuous nature his whitelighter duties place on their relationship. Piper later breaks up with Dan and reconciles with Leo. At the end of the season, Dan moves to Portland to take a job offer.
  • Karis Paige Bryant as Jenny Gordon, Dan's niece who temporarily moves in with him for school because her parents are in Saudi Arabia on business. Whilst living with her uncle, Jenny forms a bond with the sisters and often turns to them for advice on female issues that she is not comfortable talking to her uncle about. Midway through season two, Jenny moves back with her parents when they return to the United States.

Episodes[edit]

The series began its first season on October 7, 1998 and aired for eight years until its finale on May 21, 2006. During its eight seasons, 178 episodes were aired, making Charmed the longest running hour-long television series with all female leads[33] (since surpassed by Desperate Housewives with 180 episodes). The series ended following the merger of The WB into the competing UPN network, creating The CW. Each season consists of 22 episodes with the exclusion of the fifth and sixth seasons which contain 23 episodes, including their double-episode premiers and double-episode finales.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception of Charmed has been generally favorable and positive.[34] The Entertainment Weekly critic Karyn L. Barr, in her retrospective review of the first season, argued that "for seven seasons, the Halliwell sisters have charmed the pants off audiences with their wonderful Wiccan ways", labelling it as a "crafty cult classic":[35]

Magically delicious the 1st, 3rd, and even 20th time ... this supernatural Spelling series remains spellbinding thanks to its proper balance of quirky humor [and] drama ... die-hard and not-so-die-hard fans will still be charmed, I'm sure.

Entertainment Weekly, January 31, 2005

During the first season, EW writer Ken Tucker, speaking on the comparisons between Charmed and rival series, argued: "spike-heeled where Buffy is fleet-footed, Charmed is Charlie's Angels with a Ouija board". As well as the show's action sequences—describing the Halliwells as "superheroes"—he notes that the series "plays up the stars' separate-but-equal charms" and admires both its "casting and pop-culture timing".[36] The Guardian agrees with Alyssa Milano's description of Charmed as "perfect post-feminist girl-power", praising the balance between action and emotion as the "three sibling sorceresses know mischief, but are accessibly feminine".[37] EW critic Gillian Flynn states that "the charm of Charmed is that it knows what it is: a guilty-pleasure fantasy", and gave credit to its mythology as well as the grounded characterisations of the sisters: "they call otherworldly beings 'dude' and get peeved over wondrous inconveniences".[38]

During the third season, PopMatters' Michael Abernethy credited it as "more enjoyable than most shows in the good vs evil genre" largely due to the strength of the performers. He also recognized the use of humor in creating "unexpected turns in stock storylines [which are] more interesting than one might expect". The monster of the week format is frequent during the early-half of the series, however Abernethy states that, despite this, "the writers tend to explore the sibling dynamics to keep the show from growing redundant".[39] Christel Loar, also of PopMatters, agrees that "episodes go beyond the demon-of-the-week formula to tap into the relationships of the characters and their ... flaws. Charmed... succeeded by combining sisterhood with the supernatural". She also claims that the Halliwells' struggle for normal lives, "stability, and a sense of self is one of the reasons Charmed strikes such a chord with its viewers".[40] Leigh H. Edwards, during the fourth season, asserts that the show effectively "explores some big questions (free will ... who is running the universe)", whilst paying attention to domestic issues including sibling rivalry, absent parents and love troubles.[41]

Reviewing the final season, EW's Aubry D'Arminio asserted "A FITTING FINALE? ... There's nothing like watching our witchy sisters kick evil's tail once and for all". She also described the lack of bonus features on the DVDs as "criminal considering it was TV's longest-running [all-female lead] show".[42] In PopMatters' conclusion of the last season, Jon Langmead argued that the series' run had many appealing elements including "smart casting", and "an attention to relationship drama that was smarter and more nuanced than it ever received credit for":[43]

Largely because of its Aaron Spelling-pedigree, Charmed rarely got notice for, more often than not, being smarter and more entertaining than much of its competition. It never got the critical nods ... but Charmed had plenty to offer and was often much better than it needed to be.

PopMatters, December 4, 2007

Ever since the end of the series in 2006, academics have appropriated its content and released essays and articles pointing out to the fact that Charmed is again more than meets the eye. It has been the subject of several collective books such as "Investigating Charmed: the magic power of TV" edited by Karin and Stan Beeler (I.B.Tauris, 2007) which adopts a gender perspective to carry out an in-depth analysis of third-wave feminism as shown in the series. In 2012, French professor and essayist Alexis Pichard delivered a lecture about intertextuality and postmodernism in Charmed at the Université de Rouen (France).[44]

Ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
Viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale
Viewers
(in millions)
1 22 Wednesday 9:00 pm October 7, 1998 7.7[45] May 26, 1999 5.6[46] 1998–99 #118[47] 5.5
2 22 Thursday 9:00 pm September 30, 1999 5.1[48] May 18, 2000 4.5[49] 1999–2000 #120[50] 4.7
3 22 October 5, 2000 7.7[51] May 17, 2001 5.3[52] 2000–01 #117[53] 4.9
4 22 October 4, 2001 6.0[54] May 16, 2002 5.2[55] 2001–02 #129[56] 4.2
5 23 Sunday 8:00 pm September 22, 2002 6.3[57] May 11, 2003 4.9[58] 2002–03 #128[59] 4.5
6 23 September 28, 2003 6.3[60] May 16, 2004 4.7[61] 2003–04 #154[62] 4.3
7 22 September 12, 2004 5.5[63] May 22, 2005 3.4[64] 2004–05 #132[65] 3.4
8 22 September 25, 2005 4.2[66] May 21, 2006 4.5[67] 2005–06 #132[68] 3.5

Awards and nominations[edit]

Charmed has gathered several awards and nominations.[69] The series was nominated for four Saturn Awards during its run, including Best Network Television Series for its first season and two nominations for lead actress Shannen Doherty. Rose McGowan won a Family Television Award in 2005 for Favourite Sister, whilst co-star Alyssa Milano has been nominated for a Kids' Choice Award, Teen Choice Award and Spacey Award. McGowan, after having also appeared in feature film Grindhouse, won a Spike Award for Femme Fatale in 2007. Holly Marie Combs has been nominated for three Best Lead Actress in a Science Fiction Series RATTY awards, having won once in 2003. Charmed has also received recognition for its young actors, having been nominated for five Young Artist Awards, with guest star Alex Black winning once for his role in the fourth season episode "Lost and Bound".

As well as the success of its cast, Charmed has accumulated awards for its production. The series won two ASCAP Awards for its music composers, Tim Truman and Jay Gruska, and a Hollywood Post Alliance Award for Outstanding Audio Post in Television for its final season. The Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild nominated the episode "The Devil's Music" for Best Contemporary Hair Styling in 2000. Directors of the series have also been acknowledged, including John T. Kretchmer who was nominated for a RATTY Award for the series premier "Something Wicca This Way Comes".[70] NAACP Image Awards, which honors African-Americans, nominated Janice Cooke Leonard for an Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series award in 2006. The series has also received further nominations from the International Horror Guild, TV Guide Awards, Teen Choice Awards, amongst others, for best television series.

The series also received a Certificate of Merit from the Entertainment Industries Council's EDGE Awards which recognizes media that promote firearm safety and discourage gun violence.[71] Charmed has been acknowledged internationally, having being nominated for a Spanish TP de Oro and having won a Cable Guide Award in the United Kingdom for Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series in 2001. Executive producer Aaron Spelling has also won several awards for his contribution to television, including a BAFTA for Excellence in Television, and a Producers Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award.[72]

Cultural impact[edit]

Impact on television[edit]

Charmed was the first primetime television show about a coven of witches.[73] In 2006, Spelling Television and producer Brad Kern declared that, following the January 22 broadcast of "Payback's a Witch", Charmed became the longest running hour-long series in American television history featuring all female leads.[10][74] The accolade applies to hour-long television series with multiple female leads (both Murder She Wrote and The Facts of Life ran longer than Charmed, though the former had only a singular female protagonist and the latter was a 30 minute sitcom).[10] In 2000, Cult TV placed Charmed at number forty-four on its list of the Top 100 Cult Television Series of the Century.[75] In 2007, AOL Television ranked each Charmed One within its list of the greatest witches in television history—Piper third, Phoebe seventh, Prue ninth and Paige twelfth.[76] In 2010, HuffPost TV and AOL TV ranked Charmed at number ten on their joint list of The Top 20 Magic/Supernatural Shows of All Time,[13] and in 2013, TV Guide placed the series on its list of The 60 Greatest Sci-Fi Shows of All Time.[14]

After Charmed ended, there had never been another long-running, successful witch television show to rival shows about vampires and zombies.[77] However, the 2013 fall season saw a resurgence of witches in new shows The Originals and Witches of East End, and in the third season of American Horror Story titled Coven.[78] The growing trend of witches on television that year led to many publications calling them "the new vampires" and to CBS developing a reboot of Charmed.[78][79] In an interview with E! Online, cast member Alyssa Milano stated that she believes Charmed helped pave the way for the popularity of these witch-themed shows, saying:

"I think, really, it's due to the success of Charmed and the fact that it had so much success even after it was done, meaning that people looked for it, people searched it out and watched those episodes over and over. The Charmed fans are the greatest fans on the planet and the most loyal fans on the planet. I feel like networks are trying to replicate that."[78]

Several critics noted similarities between Charmed and Witches of East End. Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that it has "got a bit of a Charmed vibe," while Samantha Highfill of Entertainment Weekly felt that the show "wanted to be a new Charmed."[80][81] Jason Hughes of The Huffington Post described Witches of East End as "one part Charmed, one part Desperate Housewives."[82] Geoffrey Berkshire of Variety noted that Witches of East End resembles Charmed "with its mix of light horror, heavy romance and sisterly squabbling."[83] Hollywood.com's Christian Cintron noted the show's red Victorian house looked similar to the house in Charmed, writing that "the image of a creepily similar house keeps the ghost of Charmed alive."[84] Robert Christie of HNGN wrote that in Witches of East End, "family of witches with unknown superpower potential and a secret book of spells just screamed Charmed."[85]

Other witch-themed shows that have been compared to Charmed include Hex, Eastwick and The Secret Circle. Tanner Stransky of Entertainment Weekly described Hex as "the UK's edgier, oversexed response to Charmed."[86] In his review of Eastwick, Ramsey Isler of IGN wrote that viewers will be "reminded of Charmed once the magical happenings start", and further added that the show "is kind of Charmed for older women."[87] Similarly, Daniel Fienberg of HitFix called Eastwick "an aged up Charmed."[88] Mehera Bonner of Wetpaint Entertainment described The Secret Circle as "much darker than Charmed, and more insular."[73] Kristina Adams of Heart of Glass magazine felt that the reason The Secret Circle drew comparisons to Charmed was "because it focused as much on the Wiccan side of things as it did on the magic and the relationships of the characters."[89] The season four episode "Spell" of Smallville received comparisons to Charmed as it focused on a trio of witches.[90][91]

Charmed in popular culture[edit]

Charmed has become a pop culture reference in television shows and films. In the 2000 parody film, Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth, Barbara Primesuspect (Julie Benz) is seen yelling at Shannen Doherty, who does not appear on-screen, and says "Charmed my ass!."[92] The series is also mentioned in the episode "Ur-ine Trouble" of teen comedy-drama series Popular, when Josh Ford (Bryce Johnson) tells Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) to go home and watch Charmed.[93][94] In another episode of Popular titled "The Shocking Possession of Harrison John", Josh asks George Austin (Anthony Montgomery) who is Michael Bernardino's (Ron Lester) "favorite hottie witch" on Charmed and George says it is Prue.[95] In the episode "Faith" of Third Watch, Fred Yokas (Chris Bauer) mentions to his wife Faith (Molly Price) that their daughter was upset she could not watch Charmed.[96] In the 2002 teen comedy film Big Fat Liar, Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) recalls watching an episode of Charmed on The WB where Alyssa Milano's character Phoebe was about to put a spell on her demon boyfriend.[97]

In a 2003 episode of the Australian soap opera Neighbours, Serena Bishop (Lara Sacher) and Erin Perry (Talia Zucker) find out they have a lot in common like their love for Charmed and discuss whether they prefer Prue or Paige.[98] In a 2005 episode of Neighbours, Bree Timmins (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) mentions that The O.C. is the best show on television since Charmed.[99] In the episode "Plucky" of So Notorious, Aaron Spelling tells his daughter Tori Spelling that "there's always room for another witch on Charmed", after hearing of her latest cable telemovie role.[100] In another episode of So Notorious titled "Cursed", Tori and Sasan (Zachary Quinto) discuss who has put a curse on her and Sasan says, "It's Shannen [Doherty]! She knows all that witchcraft from Charmed."[101][102] In the season four episode "Me and the Devil" of True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) tells a witch named Marnie Stonebrook (Fiona Shaw) that one of her favorite television shows she watched as a child was Charmed.[103] In the episode "Boy Parts" of American Horror Story: Coven, a witch named Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) mentions that she grew up watching Charmed.[104]

The depiction of witchcraft in Charmed has also had a significant impact on popular culture. In 2008, the religious organisation Beliefnet accounted the Charmed Ones as the eighth most significant fictional witches in history, behind the Weird Sisters from William Shakespeare's Macbeth and the Biblical Witch of Endor. Beliefnet praised the cultural image of Charmed for its female empowerment, mythology and how the sisters "managed to solve their cases" week-on-week.[105] In 2011, Piper was ranked at number six on E! Online's list of Pop Culture's Top 10 Most Bitchin' Witches.[106] In 2014, the Charmed Ones were ranked at number six on the Pop Culture's Favorite Witches list by MSN's Wonderwall.[107]

Distribution[edit]

Syndication[edit]

United States[edit]

Ever since the show ended on The WB, TNT airs two episodes every weekday morning at 7 am and 8 am Eastern. For many years, it aired a third episode at 10 am Eastern, but this ended around 2009. Starting in June 2010, WE tv began airing two episodes each weeknight at 6 pm and 7 pm.

International syndication[edit]

Other countries where Charmed airs include the following:

Online[edit]

TNT has released full episodes of Charmed for viewing with their "DramaVision" video player on the network website.[136] Similarly, subscription video-on-demand service Netflix released the full series via their Instant Streaming from July 1, 2011. In 2012, Charmed was found to be the second-most watched television series on Netflix as well as on other video-on-demand services such as Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus.[137]

Multimedia[edit]

Main article: Charmed multimedia

Expanded universe[edit]

External to the television series, the Charmed franchise has been expanded and elaborated by authors and artists through literature, comic books, magazines, board games and a video game.

Literature[edit]

Main article: List of Charmed books

Charmed novels have been released since 1999 by publisher Simon Spotlight Entertainment. The first, Eliza Willard's "The Power of Three", was a novelization of the series premier episode "Something Wicca This Way Comes". All other novels, apart from "Charmed Again" which documents the events of the two-part episode of the same name, are original stories revolving around the four Charmed Ones and their allies.

The novels follow no strict continuity with the television series or each other, and are sometimes considered to be non-canon by fans. This is due to there being a period of roughly a year between the original idea for a novel and the finalized product, causing difficulties for authors who are unaware of how the television series will develop and change during the writing process.[138] Despite this, however, editors function as the medium between the author and the production company, specifically creator Constance M. Burge. Therefore, the television producers have final approval of everything in the novels,[138] which could indicate that the literature conforms to the established canon of the series and the so-called "Charmed universe".

Forty three novels have been written in the Charmed series thus far. Ten include Prue and the original line-up of Charmed Ones, whilst the remaining thirty three feature Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Two of the novels, "Seasons of the Witch" and "The Warren Witches", are anthologies of short stories. Most focus on the Charmed Ones, however some of the stories in "The Warren Witches" place greater emphasis on the sisters' ancestors, the Warren line of witches, whilst the novel "Leo Rising" features Leo Wyatt and his sons Wyatt and Chris Halliwell as protagonists. Writers of the series include Hugo Award-winner Diana G. Gallagher, Paul Ruditis, and Laura J. Burns.

Along with the television series, Charmed literature is also subject to study as part of Charmed academia.[139]

Magazines[edit]

Main article: Charmed Magazine

Board games[edit]

Main article: Charmed board games

Video game[edit]

Main article: Charmed (video game)

In-Fusio, DC Studios and Fox Interactive developed an action, platform video game based on the television series, entitled Charmed. The game was released by In-Fusion in Europe and China in January 2003, and in North America in September 2004.[140][141] Players take the role of one of the Charmed Ones and must rescue the other two sisters from the first on-screen incarnation of The Source of All Evil. It is set during the first half of the series' fourth season, following Paige Matthew's introduction between "Charmed Again" and "Hell Hath No Fury", and prior to the Source's vanquish in "Charmed and Dangerous".

Comic books[edit]

Main article: Charmed (comics)

On March 15, 2010, Zenescope Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights from CBS Consumer Products, to publish comic books and graphic novels based on Charmed.[142][143][144] The first comic book series, Charmed: Season 9, serves as a continuation set eighteen months after the events of the televised show's final episode, "Forever Charmed". The first publication, Issue #0, was released on June 16, 2010 and served as a "prequel to the comic book series and [a] catch up on the Charmed universe."[145] The first proper issue, Issue #1, premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010.[142] Author Paul Ruditis was the lead writer of the series and Zenescope veteran Raven Gregory helped him co-write the first three issues.[142] The series finale, Issue #24, was released on October 3, 2012.

It was announced in April 2014 that CBS and Zenescope had officially reached an agreement for a tenth season.[146] Paul Ruditis stepped down as lead writer and will edit the series, while Pat Shand will write the new story.[146] The first issue of Charmed: Season 10 will debut at New York Comic Con on the weekend of October 9, 2014.[146]

Undeveloped spin-offs[edit]

Mermaid[edit]

Charmed's executive producers Brad Kern, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent developed a one-hour pilot episode for The WB Television Network in early 2005, entitled Mermaid. It was written by Kern and filmed in Miami during Charmed's seventh season, at the same time as "Something Wicca This Way Goes?".[147][148]

As work progressed on the fifth season's double-episode premiere, "A Witch's Tail", the theme of mermaids was recognized to have potential for its own series,[149] even though the episode was never meant to be a backdoor pilot for a television spin-off.

The series plot[150][151] is centered on a mermaid, Nikki, who is rescued by a young man when she washes ashore in Miami. Her savior, Matt Johnson, is a lawyer living with a roommate and engaged to the daughter of his boss. Initially, he is in utter disbelief of Nikki's nature, until it is proven true. According to the series mythology, mermaids are a race of creatures whose evolution took place underwater. The mermaids originate from a sunken city and have supernatural abilities, including superhuman strength and agility, as well as being able to see in the dark, read emotions and have a connection with other sea creatures. However, another race of creatures who began their existence underwater, but have since adapted onto dry land, include Luger who is hunting Nikki. Nikki, meanwhile, attempts to enact a normal life by working as a waitress at a local restaurant while living with Matt and his roommate. She begins assisting Matt in his attempts to help people: as the villainous Luger assesses, mermaids are drawn to protecting the innocent, it's "in their blood".

During the casting process, Kern "looked in London and New York and New Zealand, Hollywood, Florida, Melbourne and Sydney" and, after interviewing around 300 people, discovered "a fresh new face" in Australian Nathalie Kelley who played the lead role of Nikki. Geoff Stults was then cast as Matt, and Roger Daltrey as principal antagonist Eric Luger.[152] Brandon Quinn, who later went on to play Homeland Security Agent Murphy in Charmed's eighth season, played Matt's "goofy best friend" in Mermaid.[153] He spoke of his roles in both series:

[In Mermaid] I was the party man ... in the pilot, I had no job; I was a permanent bachelor. And when Brad [Kern] told me about [Agent Murphy], he was, like, 'He's a Homeland Security agent, he's 180 degrees opposite from what you played in my pilot this year, but I really think you could do it.' And I was, like, 'Wow, thanks for trusting me with Agent Murphy.'

Additionally cast in main roles were Ana Ortiz[154] (who went on to star in Ugly Betty) and Beatrice Rosen[155] who, along with Quinn, developed a recurring role in Charmed's eighth season as Maya Holmes, an innocent whose image Piper Halliwell inadvertently uses as her false identity 'Jenny Bennett'.

The pilot was considered to have a good chance of being picked up, but when The WB and UPN merged into The CW, the resulting network passed on the show. Speaking on the failure of the series to be picked up, Kern also revealed that CBS and Paramount Television "decided at the last second to cut the budget in half", which resulted in the number of shooting days to be reduced, thus decreasing the quality of the pilot in being able to "'sell' the concept".[156]

Reboot[edit]

On October 25, 2013, it was announced that a reboot of Charmed was in development at CBS (who own all of Spelling Television's properties).[157] Party of Five co-creator Christopher Keyser and Sydney Sidner were reportedly writing the script for CBS Television Studios and The Tannenbaum Company, who were going to executive produce the reboot alongside Keyser and Sidner.[157][158] The reboot was described as a "re-imagining of the original series centered around four sisters who discover their destiny – to battle against the forces of evil using their witchcraft."[159] CBS only ordered a script for a pilot, however; no commitment to filming was made.[137]

Following the announcement, the original cast of Charmed shared their opinions of the reboot through Twitter. Rose McGowan tweeted, "They really are running out of ideas in Hollywood," followed up by another tweet, "lame lame lame lamertons."[137] Alyssa Milano tweeted, "The thing about them doing a #charmed reboot is ... it just ... it feels like yesterday. It feels too close."[160] Holly Marie Combs tweeted, "Here's the thing. Everything is a reboot. If you think otherwise you haven't read enough Shakespeare yet. At least they had the decency to call it what it is. Instead of ripping it off and then pretending to not be ripping it off."[161] She then tweeted that fans should "reserve judgement" on the reboot, "Watch it. Or don't. Then if you don't have anything nice to say ... Come sit by me. ;)."[161] Shannen Doherty tweeted to a fan, "I don't know yet. It's strange to think about a reboot. I guess I'm still processing the idea."[161] However, on August 12, 2014, TVLine's Michael Ausiello revealed that CBS had officially cancelled the reboot.[162]

Potential film[edit]

On October 30, 2013, five days after news of a reboot broke, Milano revealed that she would be interested in working on a Charmed film, and asked her former co-stars if they would consider the possibility.[163] She tweeted, "I would definitely do a #charmed movie. Would you, @H_Combs @rosemcgowan and @DohertyShannen?."[163] Doherty replied, "yep I would. Enough was left undone to address and make a good movie."[163] Doherty also retweeted a message from a fan suggesting the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film.[164]

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