Charisma Carpenter as Kyra
|First appearance||"Cheaper by the Coven" (7.03)|
|Created by||Brad Kern|
|Portrayed by||Charisma Carpenter|
|Title||The Seer (former)|
|Significant other(s)||Zankou (ex-fling)|
Kyra, formerly 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. The character was created by executive producer Brad Kern and 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 both 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 carbon copy of Chase without any indicators 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 an 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. 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 her love for roles involving seers.
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 that 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.
In an interview with Charmed Magazine, Carpenter described Kyra as having the same sassiness as Cordelia Chase, adding that Kyra was "totally evil and a lot sexier" than Chase. She felt that the emphasis on sexuality was the defining 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 characterization of 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 called Kyra 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.
Kyra 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. Unbeknown to Kyra, Prue steals her powers of foresight to further understand herself and the All. Despite being overjoyed at her transformation, Kyra is uncertain about her plans for the future.
Kyra 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 Benjamin and the archai (a magical being capable of opening portals through reality) Tyler Michaels. Kyra witnesses Prue perform a sacrificial ritual forcing Tyler to open portals in the sky that provide the Old Ones with access into the world. Kyra, Benjamin, and Tyler are later rescued by Paige. Following Prue's death and the closure of the portals, Kyra initially plans to leave, but Ben convinces her to help the students of Knox Academy, a school for magic. Prue, while under the influence of the Old One Heremus, had previously attacked the campus and turned the students and faculty into hosts for demons.
Critical response to Kyra was largely positive, with SpoilerTV's Gavin Hetherington calling Kyra a "great highlight of the season". The character was described as a "tasty demon seer" by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and identified as the most memorable incarnation of the Seer by entertainment news website Hypable's Karen Rought. Rought wrote that the role suited Carpenter due to her previous performance as Chase. Charmed Magazine's Tara Dilullo agreed and determined that Carpenter was 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". Carpenter's appearance on Charmed was cited by reader Patrick Kelly, in an article from Today, as an indicator of her popularity among the 16- to 39-year-old male demographic.
Several television commentators argued that Kyra should have had a larger role on the show. Nadim of Nad's Reviews opined that Carpenter should have been offered a permanent part on the show. The decision to kill Kyra, and introduce the novice witch Billie Jenkins (Kaley Cuoco) in season eight was criticized by Pat Shand. Shand viewed Kyra as a better alternative to Billie to fill the role of the "fourth main character" or "non-Charmed One getting all that screen time" during the final season. He also wished that the character received a spin-off with Cole Turner and Darryl Morris.
Even though Demian of Television Without Pity praised the show's decision to hire an actor from one of Joss Whedon's shows, he was critical of Kyra's introduction in the episode "Cheaper by the Coven". He wrote that Carpenter was misused and not given enough material, negatively referring to the character 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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