The CW’s reboot Charmed, which is airing this autumn, has come under heavy criticism from fans and even the stars of the original, but why?
Penned by Jenny Snyder Urman (best known for her work on Jane the Virgin) and Jessica O’Toole, the rebooted series focuses on sisters Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie Vera (Sarah Jeffery), who after the mysterious and tragic death of their mother, learn they have a long-lost sister, Macy Vaughn (Madeline Mantock). Together, they discover their destiny as powerful witches; the Charmed Ones.
Initially described as a “Fierce, funny and feminist” reboot of the 1998 series created by Constance M. Burge and executively produced by Brad Kern, Holly Marie Combs (who played middle sister Piper Halliwell in classic Charmed) as well countless other fans slammed this remark, believing it undermined the feminism of the original.
Combs, in a series of tweets, wrote, “Until you ask us to rewrite it as Brad Kern did weekly don’t even think of capitalizing on our hard work”. “Charmed belongs to the 4 of us, our vast amount of writers, crews and predominantly the fans. FYI you will not fool them by owning a title/stamp. So bye.”
However, this Latinx-led Charmed – which is a sharp contrast to the predominately white cast of the original – focuses on more social issues, introducing LGBT characters and weaving in the #MeToo movement within the show’s storyline (for example, middle sister Mel Vera is a lesbian, feminist activist).
“We want always to reflect real-world themes that play into these women’s lives,” O’Toole said of the #MeToo storyline in a Buzzfeed article. Considering how #MeToo quickly became a massive movement, especially among women regaining and finding their strength within each other, it feels fitting that a show, which at its core is about sisterhood, will focus on this important topic.
Critical reception towards the Charmed reboot has been mostly positive when the pilot was premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July, with many critics believing it retained the camp, fun and humour of the original while balancing it with darker elements and themes.
There are also plenty of fans who are excited for the reboot, appreciating that the new take on Charmed is more representative with the sisters now being Latina and one of them being queer.
Additionally, the three main leads, Mantock, Diaz and Jeffery’s performances blend well together with some great chemistry, and there are supposedly plenty of Easter eggs and references to the original series for fans of classic Charmed to find and enjoy.
But while there are still nods to the original, the reboot is also focused on building its own world, making slight changes to the usual formula classic Charmed fans know of.
The youngest sister Maggie (Jeffery) is able to hear people’s thoughts, a surprising but welcome change to her original Charmedcharacters counterpart, Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano) who could see into the future. Macy (Mantock), on the other hand, is a scientist and is focused on discovering the science behind her magic.
After the premiere at the San Diego Comic Con, criticism from fans has died down a little, but there is still heavy speculation about how the Charmed reboot will compare to the original. Rose McGowan, who played Paige Matthews, the long-lost Halliwell sister from the original, has however expressed her support of the new show, citing in a tweet that she wishes everyone the best.
Charmed is set to premiere October 14th, 2018 on the American network the CW, and will be released in the UK on E4, though it’s unclear when the release date will be.