Hey There Everyone!
If you've been following the recent pilot season news, you will have heard about which TV shows networks are renewing, which they are dropping, and which new ones they are picking up. It's a time of mixed reactions as fans are relieved that their favourite has been kept for another season, angry at their favourite show for being dropped, and intrigued about what new shows to expect for the coming season. This season has seen a lot happen, from Brooklyn Nine-Nine being dropped by FOX, only to be picked up by NBC 36-hours later, FOX then dropping Lucifer and fans rallying to try and save it, and The CW picking up the seemingly unwanted Charmed reboot over the highly requested Supernatural spin-off, Wayward Sisters.
Since news came out last year about The CW wanting to do a Charmed reboot, response from fans has been mixed. And as more information about the show has come out, from the synopsis, casting, pilot rundown, and trailer, fans have continued to lean towards the negative end of the spectrum. Now, it seems that there's very few fans interested in this reboot at all. Like many fans, I've been vocal about my thoughts on the reboot on Twitter and YouTube, and today I thought I'd continue the conversation and discussion here, because there's a lot we need to talk about. Get comfy, because this is going to be a long one...
What Charmed Means To Me
Before I can get into the reboot, I feel it's important to talk about why Charmed means so much to me and why I feel the way I do about the reboot. Way back in 2005/06, just as Charmed was in its final two seasons here in Australia, my cousin and I stumbled upon an episode on TV while we were staying at our Nan and Pop's during the school holidays. I don't remember which episode exactly, but we were both really interested in the show, and enjoyed what we saw. I think we ended up watching a couple of episodes during the holidays, and when we all parted ways at the end of the holidays, all three of us looked into the show more, found out there were a tonne of earlier seasons, another sister, and so much epicness we could consume. And we did.
By the time the school holidays came round again, we were obsessed with the show and the magic. Our school holiday days were soon filled with writing spells, making potions, fighting demons and going to Magic School. I was always Paige, my cousin Rhys was Piper and my youngest cousin Kira was Phoebe - Prue was dead so it was kind of weird to play her. It was such a magical time and we created so many amazing memories. Somewhere, I even still have our little spell books from Magic School. Charmed was, and is, an amazing show that I love to revisit, but it's also one that is so close to my heart for all the memories it helped create and the bonds it helped to strengthen. I was already quiet close to my cousins, but this seemed to bring us even closer.
Reboot? Revival? Reimagining? Reunion? Remake?
Since Charmed ended in 2006, fans all over the world have wanted a reunion or spin-off. Who wouldn't love to see Chris, Wyatt, Melinda and the rest of the next generation take the helm and continue to fight demons while their parents enjoy retirement?
The first premise released when a Charmed reboot was announced actually took place in San Francisco during the 1970s - when Penny and Patty were fighting demons while the Charmed Ones were growing up - and followed three women who didn't really know each other but came together due to their powers. At the time, this premise didn't sound promising at all, but looking back, it's kind of the best premise, but more on that later. When the news came out that The CW was going ahead with the reboot and was beginning to cast for a pilot, the premise had changed again. This time, it resembled the original so much more - three sisters who discover they have powers after a family tragedy. But it was not welcomed at all.
It soon became apparent that this wasn't going to be a reboot in the traditional sense. Most reboots take the original characters and give them a fresh face, make their character and storylines a little more modern, and roughly follow the original story. They pay homage to the original, some even incorporating original cast members in little guest roles to give a nod to the original and its fans. Take Dynasty for example, which actually airs on The CW. It's a modern spin on the 1980s soap, with the same characters and similar stories and plenty of nods to the original, to the point where an original cast member is said to be making an appearance in season two. At every turn they've tried to pay homage to the original while still keeping it modern and fresh. That's not what this 'reboot' is doing.
So it's not a reboot. A revival or reunion would constitute bringing back the old cast, like Roseanne, Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace. These shows, which had massive followings back during their original run, were welcomed by fans with open arms, excited to see what their favourite characters were doing today. It was exciting to know that we could continue these characters' stories and, in a sense, pick up where we left off.
This 'reboot' could be considered a remake, but even then a remake is a bit closer to a reboot, like Dynasty once again, where the original story is made again, rather than taking that story and giving it to new characters. So it's more like this version of Charmed is a reimagining - taking the original characters, storyline and world, manipulating it a bit and giving it to brand new characters, stories and setting. But even then, 'reimagining' still doesn't seem to fit with everything we know so far. It seems more like a cheap knock-off, trying to use a name and legacy that already has a large fanbase in order to get views. For the sake of this post, I'm just going to keep calling it a reboot, as that what it's being labelled, and it's just easier that way.
Why It's Not Something Fans & OG Cast Want
When this reboot was announced, it was labelled as a feminist take on the original. The headline alone was enough to annoy fans AND some of the original cast. Saying that this new show would be a feminist take on the original implied that the original wasn't feminist at all. Shannen Doherty, who played Prue, has stated she’s’ interested in what the reboot has planned, but took offense to this marketing headline. Given that the original was very much a feminist show following three strong and independent women, standing up for themselves and not needing a man to be successful and kick ass, she called out the promotional wording as “terrible and a bit offensive”. So why is this new one suddenly adding feminism to the original like it never existed?
Shannen wasn't the only cast member to make reference to the reboot, with Holly Marie Combs, Piper, being the most vocal about her thoughts about this reboot. During the casting stage, it was revealed that one of the sisters was a lesbian, which is totally fine, but it's the way in which it was reported that shocked and annoyed fans - it was made to look like a major plot twist than just a simple character description. TV Line's headline was 'Charmed Reboot Added LGBT Twist'. Holly responded to this headline with "I have no words...... I mean I have a lot of words but at this juncture... sure... yeah.... We Wish Them Well....." At this, the media suddenly thought that Holly was homophobic and unhappy with a gay character leading the show, despite just calling out the fact that having a LGBT+ character isn't a shocking twist and shouldn't be reported as such. Like the feminist 'twist' they had previously reported, this lesbian 'twist' was not appreciated by the original cast and fans - these marketing strategies shouldn't be used to promote a show.
It's been abundantly clear from early on that none of the original cast or crew had been consulted about the reboot, and the more Holly has spoken out about her feelings towards this reboot, it's clear that she doesn't agree one single bit with how The CW has gone about the reboot. Many fans have said they'd be way more on board with the reboot had the original cast and crew been involved in some way, even just from a production stand point. During the original run of the show, both Shannen and Rose sat in the directors chair for a few episodes, while Holly and Alyssa Milano eventually became producers of the show. All four had a lot of input behind the scenes in creating the show, so it's such a downfall on The CW's part for not including them in this reboot
With this show not really connected to the original as a spin-off or prequel, it’s easy to see why fans have voiced their opposition to the reboot in its current form. There has been talk that Melinda Warren will be added to the show, with these new sisters possibly finding out they are descended from such a powerful witch, just like the original sisters, but this connection will not be enough to sway fans. Charmed has meant so much to so many in the fandom, with many taking to Twitter since the reboot was announced, and over the weekend especially, to share their stories about how Charmed impacted their life. From being an empowering show for young girls and women, to helping those feel less alone in the world when everything around them turned dark, it’s clear to see how special the show is to many people, and it’s because of this that the reboot has received so much backlash.
Rose McGowan and Alyssa Milano, Paige and Phoebe respectively, have been less vocal on the matter of the reboot. However, over the weekend since the trailer's release, Alyssa made her feelings known that a revival with the original cast was something she'd be happy to be a part of. Brad Silberling, one of the executive producers and directors for the reboot, was asked by a fan "if the rebooted show fails I'm not saying it will but if it does could it kill any further efforts original cast or not?" He responded with "Sadly a re-staging of the original with original cast had many years to fight its way to fruition, and no buyers or financers chose to pursue. Regardless of this new journey. That's the hard truth of this business." Of course, Holly was quick to respond with "That's both inaccurate and untrue. But you do you boo."
Brad then went further and asked why a reprisal with the original cast had not yet happened and that and "explanation would be the greatest gift you could give your faithful, who clearly crave it." This Tweet soon earned Brad a flood of response from fans questioning why he himself and those involved with the reboot had never reached out to the original cast to be involved, to possibly make this new version of the show something that long-time fans would want to watch. Many also said Brad should show a little more respect to Holly, and the rest of the OG cast, considering it is their hard work, dedication, and legacy the reboot is recreating and riding on. Here, Alyssa stepped in, giving fans hope that maybe, one day, a reunion would be possible: "I know what is both accurate and true - nothing would make me happier than reuniting with these strong, talented, powerful women." She further tagged her fellow Charmed Ones, adding "=Sister fors life." Holly even added a reply that Brain Krause, aka Leo, "just said don't forget about #Pleo #the4thsister."
The New Cast
I’ve not got an issue with the new cast, per se. Many people have commented on the poor acting featured in the trailer, but I don’t really feel like I can comment on that just yet – even though the almost 4-minute long trailer revealed a lot about the show, I don’t yet have an opinion formed on whether the acting is good or bad. That’s going to be something we really see in the pilot episode. One thing that I’m hoping the reboot will do and explore in order for it to be a different show is looking at witchcraft within the Latin American culture. With the show led by a Latino cast, it’d be silly for The CW to not explore that given the original is very Euro-centric when it comes to witchcraft mythology. The reboot hasn’t hidden the fact that it will be using the original’s mythology, but if it wants a chance to become its own thing and find some success, then it’ll need to evolve and move away from the original mythology and explore a new one. I’m sure there are many people who would be genuinely interested in seeing witchcraft within another culture. Since this reboot is all about representation, they need to make sure these cultures and ethnicities are woven into the story as well.
However, there have been moments since the cast were announced that haven’t been positive, with a couple of the cast members seemingly forgetting the reason they are part of this reboot – because the original existed, was a massive success and was lead by some amazing actors and actresses. On several occasions, comments have been made about the age of the original leads, especially in regards to ‘no one wanting to see middle-aged women running around fighting demons’. Ageism within Hollywood is already such a big issue, especially with women in the industry struggling to get roles during their 40s, and many saying that once they reach 50, it’s nearly impossible to get cast anymore. It’s even sadder to see women saying and spreading these remarks. In 1998, the original trio ranged from 24 to 27 years old, Rose was 27 when she joined the cast three years later, and by the time the show ended, the trio was 32 and 33. Today, they are in the mid-40s, and still very capable of kicking some demon butt, had they been given the chance. And yet, one of the new cast members was fine with agreeing that the original cast was too old, even though she herself is older than the cast were when they finished the show. Again, it’s sad to see women tearing down other women, especially when this show is meant to be all about women sticking together, and the strength of the sisterhood, especially since the reboot is meant to be more feminist than the original.
Then we have one very vocal new cast member who, instead of being understanding as to why fans were voicing their opinions about not wanting this reboot, decided to gloat about how this version of the show would be so much better than the original. Some of the tweets have been very egotistical, again showing that some members of the new cast had forgotten that without the original, this reboot wouldn’t even exist. From comparing how many episodes Dorian Gregory, who played Daryl Morris, had compared to Holly, who appeared in every single episode, to saying “it’s fun reading the retarded stuff that comes out their mouths” when referring to fan’s opinion, Ser’Darius Blain has become the poster-boy for why fans don’t want this reboot. In regards to Dorian Gregory’s episode count, it was ridiculous for him to compare his count to Holly’s. Dorian was a supporting character for the first seven seasons, appearing in the opening credits for every episode, even those he didn’t appear in. During his time on the show, Dorian was hosting Soul Train as well as appearing in other TV shows and movies. While it is great that there is more representation in this reboot, trying to make out like this reboot will be better than the original because of it is ridiculous, especially when Ser’Darius himself is going to be a supporting character.
It’s the use of the word ‘retarded’ that has really got fans up in arms. The original tweet has since been deleted, but that doesn’t mean that screenshots don’t exist. The term ‘retarded’ is one that health professionals and those with mental health conditions frown upon all over the world. It’s not longer a term that we just throw around as if it means nothing. Those who called-out Ser’Darius about his use of the word ended up blocked, Ser'Darius even mocking their attempts at getting him to apologise. This was on 31 March, and he’s yet to come out and apologise or at least acknowledge the concerns of fans. Fans even reached out to The CW in order for them to see what one of their new stars was doing, and they’re also yet to do anything. Petitions have been made, the #FireDarius movement has kicked off, all in an attempt to get acknowledgment, apologies and even a replacement. For a show that is meant to be about inclusion and that has provided a lot of support to fans going through tough times in regards to mental health, it’s appalling to see an actor use such terms on a public platform and that nothing has been done to amend the situation. Even if an apology or acknowledgment ever comes, it’s much too late now to mean anything.
Being a reboot and having the rights to the story and name, it’s no surprise that the reboot is called ‘Charmed’. And this has pissed a lot of people off. ‘Charmed’ would, of course, had to have been featured in the title somewhere, but fans have called out The CW for just straight up using the name when the reboot isn’t going to do the original justice. For one, it’s going to be confusing. The office reboot Twitter is using #Charmed to talk about the show, a hashtag that has been used by fans since joining Twitter to talk about the original. Now everything is super confusing – are people using the hashtag talking about the original or the reboot? #CharmedReboot and #Charmed2018 have been thrown around by fans, saying that we should be using these if we’re talking about the reboot to help differentiate from the original.
Having the same name is already causing issues for TV guides. One TV guide, for their page on the original Charmed, had used the trailer and cast picture of the reboot, despite clearing being for Charmed (1998). And if you search Charmed on Google and Facebook, it’s the original that pops up. When searching for the official reboot page on Facebook, typing in ‘Charmed’ just revealed the official original page and many fanpages dedicated to the original. Of course, this will probably change once the show actually starts, but it’ll be the original that still dominates searches and hashtags, which will not be ideal for The CW. Considering the writers and cast have said that this show is going to be a its own thing, it’s a poor decision by The CW for not coming up with another name, even if it did still contain the name ‘Charmed’.
Now That The Trailer Is Out
After the reboot trailer was released on Friday, Charmed was soon trending worldwide, but not for the reasons The CW would have hoped. Yes, media sites were writing about the trailer, but their headlines and articles talked about how fans were not happy with the trailer and the reboot, and although there were positive fan comments shared, it was the negatives that were gaining traction. The trailer was The CW’s chance to get fans onside and show them that this reboot would be worth it and that it was honouring the original. But they totally failed. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been filled with fans pointing out how bad the trailer is, the poor acting and writing, and everything wrong with the mythology and how everything is being portrayed. At the time of writing this the trailer is sitting just over 505,000 views, over 4000 dislikes and just 2400 likes - that ratio screams that The CW have a problem.
The OG powers were telekinesis, which water later influenced by Whitelighter powers, molecular immobilization, or freezing, and premonitions. As the series progressed, astral projection, molecular combustion, levitation, and empathy, as well more Whitlighter powers, were added to the mix as the sister’s became stronger and more adept. The new sisters have the power of freezing, telekinesis and telepathy, with more powers presumably being added down the track. Fans were quick to point out how strong Mel’s freezing power is from the get-go. Piper could barely freeze an entire room in the beginning, with a flash-forward episode to 2010 showing she eventually had the ability to freeze large areas outdoors, including aircraft in the sky. In the trailer, Mel not only freezes an entire coffee shop, filled with people, but also those outside, for who knows how far. The slow growth and understanding of their powers was such an important element of the original show, and yet it seems the new trio have their fully-fledged powers from day one, and the ability to use them well.
It’s interesting to see that the writers didn’t go with premonition as well. This could simply be a way to move further away from the original, but mythology within the original would dictate that a Charmed One wouldn’t initially have the power. As a supportive power, it was considered to be rare and possessed only by a few magical beings, and none of the original Charmed Ones possessed the power at all. Many fans pointed out that telepathy would be a more advanced power and one gained once a witch was more powerful and had control over their initial power. Macy with telekinesis seems, from the trailer, to be the only thing close to how the original portrayed it. It’ll be interesting to see how the powers appear in the full pilot, and if they more closely resemble the original, or if the writers have decided to go in a completely new direction.
Probably one of the most commented on aspects from the trailer, apart from the powers, is the girl’s Whitelighter, or adviser as he appears to be called. In the trailer, after the girls have used their powers for the first time, they are captured and tied to chairs in their attic by Harry, the Whitelighter, before he releases them and reveals they are Charmed. Apart from the obvious diversion from how the original sister’s find out they are Charmed, Harry’s actions go against everything we’ve ever seen about Whitelighters. In most of the series, a Whitelighter would watch over and protect their charge without them even knowing they were magical. For almost the entire first season, Leo kept his status as a Whitelighter a secret from the sister’s, only having to reveal himself when Phoebe found him using his powers and then when he was shot by a Darklighter. When Paige begins her journey as a Whitelighter, she mainly keeps her true identity a secret. At no point did a Whitelighter capture and tie up their charges in order to reveal themselves and guide their charge.
Those who know the original will know the importance of symbols in relation to different covens. The Charmed Ones used the triquetra, with the symbol appearing on the Book of Shadows, Kit’s collar, and used for travel to different astral planes. Early on, fans were wondering if the triquetra would again be used for these new sisters, many stating that a new symbol should be used out of principle and respect for the original. During the trailer, you can clearly see the sister’s mother wearing a crescent moon necklace, and one would assume that this could be part of the new symbol for the new show. But alas, the Book of Shadows featured the triquetra, as did the title screen. It’s by no means the biggest issue with the reboot, but it’s a tiny detail that many fans would have appreciated being different. It would have also given this new era a fresh symbol of their power, and another way to help make this reboot something to stand on its own.
From The Upfronts
The new cast, of course, made an appearance at The CW Upfronts to promote the show to the advertisers and the rest of the network. They were interviewed by several media outlets, and many quotes have been picked up by fans. Madeleine said the reboot was “positive, fun, feminist”, which again seems as though the original was never any of these things. When asked about the possibility of any of the original cast making a guest or cameo appearance, Melonie said that “the team is open to possibility,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. Given everything that the original cast have come out and said about the reboot and network, it’s highly doubtful they would ever consider being part of it. And it’s also odd that Melonie was the one to say this, given the things she’s said or implied about the original cast.
One of the most interesting quotes to come from the upfront comes from Madeleine who said that they were “really welcomed by the fans.” One look at any online platform and you can see that fans have been anything but welcoming. Yes, there are a good number of fans genuinely excited for the reboot and many willing to give it a chance, but a lot of comments have been wanting nothing more than for this reboot to be dropped. Of course, the new cast aren’t going to come straight out and say they have been hated on from the moment they were cast, but it would have been nice for them to acknowledge that many fans were unhappy with the reboot. This would be the perfect time to reassure fans that, while it’s not the reboot they wanted, it was still going to be a good show. It seems that everyone involved in this reboot don’t want to reference all the backlash in the hopes that it will just go away - think again.
It also appears as though none of the new trio have watched the original show. While it’s not necessarily required to be a super fan, it would be nice to know that those trying to reboot that show had some knowledge of the original. Madeleine revealed during the upfronts, when asked to make a comparison between the original and the reboot, that she’d only watched the original pilot and had no knowledge for comparison. She also said, “There’s not too much focus on the original. Of course we respect it, and I’m confident that it will remain intact and can still be enjoyed by everyone who really cherishes it. They’re very different entities. We want to honor what the original Charmed has and did but we’ve very much got our own thing going on.” And yet, Jennie Urman, the creator of the reboot, Tweeted; “So much love for the original in there...” when the trailer had been released. Here, many pointed out that if there was ‘much love’ for the original, then people involved in the original would have been part of the reboot and not shitted on by the new cast and the network.
What The CW Should Have Done
If The CW was so set on creating a witch show, it would have been much better off creating something original and that could stand on its own. Having the rights reboot the show is honestly just a grab at using the fandom to create a baseline of views in the hopes that it can be half as successful as the original. It’s using the strong legacy of the original to try and make a more money for the network. The CW had the potential to create an original show that would be able to tell its own story, have its own powers and build its own mythology. Even if it borrowed inspiration from Charmed, and other witch adaptations, it still would have stood a better chance of being accepted by fans as a show of similarity rather than a copy-cat attempt.
As I stated earlier, the original premise released for the reboot was about three women who discover they have powers, not sisters, and it was set during the 70s. I admit, I wasn’t a fan of this premise, I was more a fan of the second premise before it became the third premise that was a carbon-copy of Charmed. But looking back, I can see so much potential in this original premise. Firstly, it could have been more easily tied into the original as a semi-prequel. Set in San Francisco during the 70s, we have Penny and Patty kicking demon butt as the Charmed Ones are born between 1970 and 1977. It could have been very easy to set a story during this era and reference the existence of Penny and Patty without having the need to see them, or only seem them occasionally. A whole new story could have been created, within the Charmed world, that could be something fun and new but still with strong connections to the original show. Fans would have been a lot more receptive.
A Wanted Show Dismissed For An Unwanted One
Way, way, way back at the beginning of this post, I mentioned how The CW picked up this reboot over picking up the female-lead Supernatural spin-off, Wayward Sisters. Many Supernatural fans have hit-back at The CW for not picking up a show that had so much fan support and that would be launching through a still running and very successful show. The CW came out saying that Wayward Sisters was not what the network was looking for, which is strange given it was going to be a kick-ass female-lead show, coming from a strongly supported show with a fanbase ready to support it. Given the option between the Charmed reboot and Wayward Sisters, it seems the smart choice would be picking the latter and running with the success. Instead, The CW went with the more idiotic choice and failed to pick up a show that would have had so much support and praise from fans, and would have provided them with a female-lead show.
With so much negativity already surrounding the reboot during pilot season, and all the excitement surrounding Wayward Sisters, you’ve got to wonder what was going on in the executive room and why anyone thought it was a good idea to pick up the one with the least amount of support. Adding salt to Supernatural fan’s wounds, The CW also picked up Legacies a spin-off of The Originals, which is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. Again, fans weren’t that receptive of another spin-off, with many saying that TVD had gone on for longer than necessary and that TO was ending due to low ratings. Another spin-off within this world just seemed a bit ridiculous to many people. Again, you’ve got to wonder why the network went for less receptive shows over one that would have been very successful.
As The Premiere Approaches
There’s going to be no stopping the backlash that this reboot receives, especially as more promotional material is released over the coming months in the lead up to the premiere in the Fall. Fans, like myself, have already become quiet disinterested in the reboot, with those initially saying they would give the show a chance not at all looking forward the premiere. The trailer, which should have persuaded fans to tune in, did the exact opposite and turned many off the giving the show a chance.
I’ve always said that I’ll watch the first episode, simply so I can see what they’ve done with the reboot while riding on the original’s legacy. Since watching the trailer, I’ve definitely become drastically less interested in the reboot, and if I wasn’t a curious kitty, I probably wouldn’t even be bothered watching the first episode. People have been saying we need to be more open-minded, but it’s hard to do when the original is close to the hearts of many people all over the world, and this reboot isn’t at all what any of the fans have been asking for for the past twelve years.
At the end of the day, nothing is going to stop a first season of this reboot going ahead. Just going off what we’ve seen so far from the network, the show will get at least one, at most two, seasons, with The CW going to be pushing this as hard as possible to try and make it work. Even with poor ratings and mixed reviews, it’s not going to surprise me if The CW renews it for a second season. They’re going to want to make this work to get all they can from it. I also see the first couple of episode of the reboot getting a large number of views before it drops off completely – many curious fans will be tuning in before inevitably switching off after, at most, the first three episodes.
Over 5,000 words later and here we are. Who knew I had so much to write about the show – and let me tell you, I wish I could write this easily when it came to essays, because I was able to get this all down in about three hours, not including the time it took to add the graphics and tweets. How easily all these words flowed just show how much love I have for Charmed and how disappointed I am that this is the reboot we are getting. It’s not one that fans have asked for and it doesn’t look like it’s one that is going to honour the show properly. I’m happy that there are fans out their genuinely excited for more Charmed, but it’s not like that for a majority of fans. We wanted a prequel, a reunion or a next generation spin-off, not this copy-cat knockoff from a network and cast that have failed to listen to what the fans want. At the end of the day, it is the fans that made the original the success it was, and it’s the fans that this reboot should have been made for. Not for the money-hungry executives that see us fans as a view count and dollars in their pockets.
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