CW’s CHARMED REBOOT CASTS AN INTRIGUING SPELL
In this day and age, modern reboots of 90’s classics are nothing new, as evidenced by projects like 2017’s Power Rangers, Fuller House and Dynasty. 90’s nostalgia has swept Hollywood and now, even the 1998 series, Charmed, has received a reboot of its own. The series comes at the hands of Jane the Virgin creator, Jennie Snyder Urman and the CW network. While the reboot has injected some modern themes into its storytelling, the core themes of the show are still present. At its heart, the original Charmed was a story about sisterhood and the ability to overcome unspeakable odds. The new show stays true to this formula so far, prioritizing the story of the sisters and the incredible powers that they possess while also infusing the narrative with a more serious overtone. Perhaps most interesting though, is how the series opens itself to new ventures by transforming the Halliwel sisters into the Vera sisters, a Latina family from the fictional Hilltown, Michigan.
Over the years, the original series has racked up an impressive following and earned the reputation of being a feminist production due to its showcasing of powerful women. Given the fact that several actresses from the original Charmed series were all big players during the #MeToo movement, it would be hard to ignore feminism’s presence within the show’s universe. While it was once somewhat of an afterthought in the original show, 2018’s Charmed puts feminism front and center. The girls’ late mother, Marisol, was a Women’s Studies professor at the local university and the first episode revolves around another professor who was reinstated after sexual misconduct allegations.
The phrase “this is not a witch hunt. It’s a reckoning” becomes increasingly powerful when spoken in the show, layering the idea of the girls’ literal status as witches with their femininity. The show not so subtly combines fantasy with an all too relevant reality. When the stars of the show are Latina women, it provides another face to the wave of “girl power” productions currently sweeping the nation. The Charmed sisters aren’t just incredibly powerful women, they’re incredibly powerful Latina women and they will save the world from supernatural evil.
Culture isn’t ignored in this new Charmed either. In episode 4 the spell that saves the day is based off the practices of Santeria. Several of the spells are spoken purely in Spanish, including some of the most powerful and in Mel’s room, a Puerto Rican flag hangs proudly for audiences to see. All these details are important and will no doubt make little Latina girls everywhere feel good about themselves.
With only 8 episodes currently out, the series is still in its early phase and trying to find its footing. Perhaps the most glaring issue is that Melonie Diaz is the only one of the three sisters to actually be played by a Latina actress. While they are incredibly talented, Sarah Jeffrey and Madeline Mantock are not Latina and that becomes a problem when the show explicitly states that the characters are otherwise. The show also suffers tonally, trying to balance its message with a fun, at times campy plot. But despite its issues, Charmed is in many ways, a breath of fresh air and tells a story that couldn’t be told at a better time. The plot so far is a lot of fun and there’s plenty of potential for the show to be great if it hopefully gets a chance to prove itself.
What do you think? Is Charmed a good show? Or is it time for 90s nostalgia to end?