Charisma Carpenter as Kyra
|First appearance||"Cheaper by the Coven"
7x03, September 26, 2004
|Created by||Brad Kern|
|Portrayed by||Charisma Carpenter|
|Significant other(s)||Zankou (ex-fling)|
Kyra, also known by her title the Seer, is a fictional character from the American television supernatural drama Charmed, which aired on the WB Television Network (the WB) from 1998 to 2006. Charmed follows the supernatural adventures of the Charmed Ones, a trio of sisters known as the most powerful witches of all time. The character was created by executive producer Brad Kern and was portrayed by actress Charisma Carpenter. Carpenter was invited on the show after acting with Charmed cast member Holly Marie Combs on the ABC Family television film See Jane Date (2003). The actress' original contract was a guest star role that included three episodes in season seven, with media outlets reporting the possibility of Carpenter becoming a series regular.
A demon characterized by her powers of divination and precognition, she eventually forms a friendship with Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause) and the Charmed Ones, specifically Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano), after expressing her desire to become human. Despite being killed by the demon Zankou (Oded Fehr) on the show, the character makes further canonical appearances in the comic book series Charmed: Season 10. Her storylines focus on her involvement with witch Prue Halliwell's new destiny, and her romantic relationship with the newly revived Benjamin Turner (the father of Cole Turner).
The Kyra character has received mixed feedback from critics, and has been defined by her sex appeal and called "overtly sexual, coy and kitteny", and "tasty". Critics have positively and negatively compared the role to Carpenter's previous performance as Cordelia Chase on the supernatural dramas Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) and Angel (1999); Demian of Television Without Pity criticized the character as a copy of Chase because of her lack of a unique identity.
Casting and creation
Charisma Carpenter was invited to appear on Charmed because of her friendship with Holly Marie Combs after they had worked together on the ABC Family television film See Jane Date. Kyra was created as a separate character from the Seer (Debbi Morgan), who was featured as the primary antagonist in the second half of season four. Carpenter joked that she was surprised to be considered for such a minor part on the show as a guest star. In an interview with her official fansite, Charmed cast member Rose McGowan stated that she looked forward to new characters like Kyra and Kyle Brody joining the show, saying "[w]e are all delighted to have them on board".
According to Kristin Veitch of TV Guide, representatives from the WB Television Network (the WB) released a statement indicating the possibility of Kyra being promoted to star billing. In August 2004, Carpenter was set to star in a UPN mid-season replacement comedy called Like Cats and Dogs, but she expressed interest in doing more episodes of Charmed if the pilot was not picked up by the network. She stated while she enjoyed working in the supernatural genre, and viewed it as "familiar" territory, she was hesitant about committing to the show's demanding shooting schedule as it would take time away from raising her son.
Kyra was one of three characters with precognition that Carpenter has played in her career, including Cordelia Chase from supernatural dramas Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and Heather from the Syfy horror film Voodoo Moon (2006). In an interview with film journal Static Mass Emporium, Carpenter did not personally identify as a "vision girl", but described feeling a love for roles involving seers.
In an interview with Charmed Magazine, Carpenter described Kyra as having the same sassiness as Cordelia Chase, added that Kyra was "totally evil and a lot sexier" than Chase. She felt that the emphasis on sexuality was the main aspect of the character's personality, calling her "overtly sexual, coy, and kitteny". While she viewed Chase as a "smartass", Carpenter defined Kyra as a "temptress" and a "jezebel" and opined that her flirtatious banter with Leo Wyatt was meant to be a part of her own agenda. She stated that the way she portrayed Kyra was influenced by her revealing outfit, feeling that every woman on Charmed had to look and act "hot" and "notoriously sexy".
Pat Shand, the writer of Charmed: Season 10, said he incorporated Kyra in the comic book series as he enjoyed her dialogue and Carpenter's performance of the character; he wrote: "To write dialogue for a character played by Charisma is to hear Charisma in your head. Who would turn that down?". Shand commended Carpenter's ability to voice characters in "a very unique rhythm" and called the process of replicating that energy in the form of comics as "a blast" and "super easy" in comparison with the show's other characters.
When discussing the development of the season, Shand said that the pairing of Kyra and Prue Halliwell's storylines was a "natural fit", especially since both characters were his favorites from the series. He clarified that Kyra's return, specifically her relationship with Benjamin, was central to the season and called it "straight up plot" and "inextricable" from Prue's storylines in response to fans' concerns about the character being limited to being part of a subplot. While the two women never interacted on the show, he explained that Prue sifted through "all of the seers in all of the history to see who best tell her what's the deal" with her new powers and destiny. Shand said Kyra was a vital part of Prue's plans to perform the Advent, a ritual that would resurrect a powerful race of evil demons known as the Old Ones.
|"In my line of work, I see a lot and good and bad, and the good's just better. Problem is, I can see it, but I can't feel it."|
|— Kyra, describing her longing to be human in the episode "Witchness Protection".|
The Kyra character first appears in the season seven episode "Cheaper by the Coven", when she helps Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause) uncover the identity of a masked demon attacking his son Wyatt Halliwell. She is shown as possessing the powers of precognition and divination through the use of a magical pool. She later works with the half-demon Sirk on his plans to track down and kill his mortal relatives in order to seal his transformation as a full demon. As a demon, Kyra cannot feel emotions, but she is shown to be curious about the world of mortals. Longing to experience the emotions she sees in her visions, she contacts the Elders (a council of whitelighters which governs the forces of good) to make a deal where she would trade her information on the then unknown threat, the Avatars, if she is made human. The Avatars are later revealed to a group of magical beings capable of warping reality who devote themselves to creating a world without good or evil. As word of Kyra's betrayal spreads across the Underworld, Leo is sent to save her and bring her to the Halliwell Manor during the negotiations.
While at the manor, Kyra bonds with Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano) over their shared powers of premonition. She guides Phoebe and Lieutenant Darryl Morris (Dorian Gregory) to Inspector Sheridan (Jenya Lano), a member of the San Francisco police department who was placed in a coma by FBI agent Kyle Brody (Kerr Smith); Brody had sequestered Sheridan after she discovered the truth about the Halliwell sisters being witches. Kyra shares her premonition of the Avatars with Phoebe. While the prior episodes established the Avatar as a threat, Kyra's vision shows Phoebe and her future daughter living in a utopia where demons no longer exist. After witnessing the vision, Phoebe has a premonition of the demon Zankou (Oded Fehr) vanquishing Kyra. In order to prevent Kyra's death, Phoebe convinces the Elders to provide a spell to turn Kyra human. During this time, Kyra forces Leo to reveal his true identity as an Avatar to the sisters. While Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs) helps her to prepare for her new life as a mortal, Kyra reveals her real name and abandons her title as "the Seer". Before the sisters can transform Kyra into a mortal, Zankou kills her because of her betrayal of the demonic world, and his fear of what she might tell the sisters. Her death is a turning point in the season as it pushes the sisters to agree to meet and to help the Avatars build their new world.
In Charmed: Season 10 (the canonical comic book continuation of the TV series), Prue Halliwell summons Kyra from the past in order to better understand her new identity as the guardian of the Nexus of the All (a spiritual energy that forms the basis of all magic). After completing a ritual that allowed Prue to enter her own mind, she turns Kyra human. Despite being overjoyed at her transformation, Kyra is uncertain about her plans for the future. She decides to reconnect with the other Halliwell sisters and devote her life to doing good. She begins by helping the newly resurrected Benjamin Turner, who is the father of Cole Turner (Julian McMahon), readjust to his new life. As they spend more time together, Kyra falls in love with Benjamin and they start a romantic relationship. At the end of issue #18 ("Tribunal and Tribulations"), Prue kidnaps Kyra, along with Bejnamin and the archai (a magical being capable of opening portals through reality) Tyler Michaels, and takes them to a space deep within the Earth.
Throughout her run on Charmed, Kyra received mixed critical feedback. Television critic Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer deemed the character a "tasty demon seer" and entertainment news website Hypable's Karen Rought praised her as being the most memorable incarnation of the Seer and a fitting role for Carpenter after her previous performance as Chase. SpoilerTV's Gavin Hetherington called Kyra a "great highlight of the season". Charmed Magazine's Tara Dilullo viewed Carpenter as the perfect actress to play Kyra as she "spent the better part of her career facing down the supernatural with a snark and a smile". In an article from Today, reader Patrick Kelly cited Carpenter's appearance on Charmed as an indicator of her popularity among the 16- to 39-year-old male demographic.
Nadim of Nad's Reviews opined that Carpenter should have been offered a permanent part on the show Pat Shand criticized the show's decision to kill the character, saying that she would have filled the role of the "fourth main character" or "non-Charmed One getting all that screen time" in season eight rather than novice witch Billie Jenkins (Kaley Cuoco). He added that he wished that the character had a spin-off with Cole Turner and Darryl Morris.
Demian of Television Without Pity praised the show's decision to hire an actor from one of Joss Whedon's shows, but was critical of Kyra's introduction in the episode "Cheaper by the Coven", saying that Carpeter was misused and "given so little to do". He referred to the character negatively as "Cordelia Lite". Parodying the character's lack of a concrete identity, he referenced Kyra as "Charisma" and "Cordelia" in his recaps of the later episodes.
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