Charmed

Charmed

[chahrmd]

Charmed is an American television series that ran for eight seasons on the now defunct WB. It was produced by Aaron Spelling and is about three sisters who are the world's most powerful good witches, known throughout the supernatural community as "The Charmed Ones", but known to everyone else as the Halliwells. Each sister possesses unique magical powers that grow and evolve over the course of their lives. The Charmed Ones live together in a house they call the manor and use their supernatural abilities to battle the warlocks, demons and other evil forces that populate San Francisco, California.

The show was the longest lasting of its generation of supernatural-themed shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Roswell. It is also noted for its mixture of multiple genres (from horror and fantasy to comedy and even soap). It also had (at the time) the highest rated debut for the WB Television Network with 7.70 million viewers tuning in for the series premiere "Something Wicca This Way Comes" in 1998 (this was later surpassed with the 2001 debut of Smallville which rated at 8.40 million viewers).

The theme song for Charmed, "How Soon Is Now?" is a cover version performed by Love Spit Love. The same version was previously used in the film The Craft. The original version was written and recorded by The Smiths.

The series ended its run on May 21, 2006 in the US. The Charmed series finale, "Forever Charmed", pulled in a season high of 4.49 million viewers.

Charmed is currently in syndication at TNT.

Plot synopsis

Charmed is the story of the three Halliwell sisters, Prudence, Piper and Phoebe, discovering that they are the world's most powerful good witches, The Charmed Ones; each gifted with innate magical powers they must collectively use to defend the "innocents" of San Francisco from demons, warlocks and other evil beings. During their fight against the forces of evil, eldest sister Prue is killed, breaking the united Power of Three. However, the Charmed triple-destiny is restored with the introduction of a long-lost fourth half-sister, Paige Matthews, who is half-witch and half-whitelighter. During Seasons One to Four, the sisters' combined destiny was to vanquish the Source of All Evil, the ruler of the Underworld, and his demonic minions. Upon fulfilling their primary destiny, the Charmed Ones were fated to destroy the Nexus; engage in the Ultimate Battle; and usher in the next generation of good witches. On top of their supernatural lives, the four sisters must also contend with serious issues in the real world (such as relationships, careers, marriage, childbirth, illness and death), as well as preventing the exposure of magic, the subject of several police investigations throughout the series.

Production

Origins

In 1998, the Warner Brothers Television Network began searching for a new high concept drama series, and looked to Spelling Television, which had already produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven, to create it and follow-up with their success. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural themed dramas, the production company explored different forms of mythology in order to find mythological characters with which they could realise with contemporary storytelling. Their chosen theme was witchcraft, which had become popular during the decade with films such as The Craft.

In order to begin creating the series, Constance M. Burge was hired as the creator as she was under contract with Spelling Television after having conceived the drama Savannah. When pitching to her the theme of witchcraft, she was only aware of the preconceived stereotypes of witches (flying brooms, black cats, and warts), but after heavy research into Wicca discovered that the reality differed immensely from her notions and, instead, she aimed at telling a story of witches who were both good, and looked and acted like ordinary people. With this, her initial concept was a series set in Boston, Massachusetts about three friends and roommates who were all witches. However, executive producer E. Duke Vincent lacked confidence in the idea and asked "why would anybody want to watch a show about three witches?". He proposed that the series focus on family values and developed the series-long mantra of it being about "three sisters who happen to be witches, not three witches who happen to be sisters". Aaron Spelling warmed to Burge's ideas and, after the concept was revised to a series about three sisters (now living in San Francisco) descended from a long line of witches, it was pitched to the WB's Susanne Daniels who liked it immediately, allowing the series to begin development.

The series was titled Charmed, after Spelling's suggestion of House of Sisters was dropped, and the three lead roles were cast to Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Lori Rom. Constance M. Burge wrote the script for the pilot, and they filmed a 28 minute version (the so-called "unaired pilot", which has never been aired on network television) with which the series was picked-up by the WB. The majority of the pilot had to then be refilmed after Lori Rom quit and Alyssa Milano took her role.

A week before the updated pilot, "Something Wicca This Way Comes" was meant to air, the WB developed concerns about the entire series and considered pulling it. Spelling Television forced it to go ahead and upon its debut, Charmed received massive ratings - the largest for a series premier in the network’s history - and massive Internet attention with dozens of websites focusing on the series, and the beginning of the show's cult fan base. The complete first season of 22 episodes was picked up by the WB after only 2 had aired; the first time it had occurred so quickly in all of Aaron Spelling's long and award-winning career.

Executive producers

The two original executive producers from Spelling Television were its creator Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent, both of whom maintained their role until the series ended in 2006. Constance M. Burge also became an executive producer when she was hired to create the series and write the pilot. After the short "unaired pilot" was shown to the WB, and the series was picked-up by the network, Brad Kern was recruited as the fourth executive producer and as the show runner in order to decipher how the series would develop over the course of its run. Whilst Kern remained with the show until its end, between the second and the third season, Constance M. Burge left her position of executive producer. Instead, Burge remained as executive consultant until the end of season four when she left Charmed indefinitely.

Writing

Script writing was done by a large number of writers, with Brad Kern having done the most writing with a total of 26 episodes, as well as the director of one. The writers with the most writing credits, other than Kern, include: Daniel Cerone, Curtis Kheel, Zack Estrin, Chris Levinson, Krista Vernoff, Sheryl J. Anderson, Monica Breen, Alison Schapker, Cameron Litvack and Jeannine Renshaw. The series creator, Constance M. Burge also wrote 7 episodes for the first and second seasons until she left her position as executive producer.

Script writing is carried out after group brainstorms take place discussing the events of the episodes, the emotions of the characters and the mythology involved. Robert Masello, an executive story editor for the series, credits himself as the only demonologist hired for a series, in order to add his experience to storyline.

Charmed is the only show that has a licensed fully bonded demonologist, which is me, on staff and as a result because I've written books about demonology and the occult of witchcraft, I'm there to answer questions about how a demon would behave.

However, as Holly Marie Combs revealed in The Women of Charmed documentary, the series aimed at following a mythology created by fantasy, and not adhering to Wiccan rules too closely in fear of coming under criticism for either not being "technically correct enough", or missing the truth completely.

Logo and symbols

During the show's run, the WB Television Network used two official logos to represent the series. The first was used during the first and second seasons and featured the name Charmed underlined and with a triple-aspect symbol above it (a shape which some fans refer to as a "triquetra"). Online, the font used is known as "A Charming Font" where it can be downloaded from certain websites, including DaFont. The second logo was introduced at the start of the third season and remained until the series ended. It was written in a different font and is still underlined and sometimes featured a triquetra above the name. This logo was designed by Margo Chase who also designed other television logos for the WB. She was inspired in her work by pre-20th century script.

Some designers have discovered the beauty of work of pre-20th century origin. Margo Chase of Chase Design Group bought a book—published in Paris in 1647—from a rare-book dealer and used it as inspiration [for her work].

This new font is sometimes known as "Endor" when downloaded, and it is the same font used for the logo in other countries, such as Italy where the series is called Streghe (Italian for witches). Although the second logo replaced the first in all promotional material by the WB, such as posters and television adverts, the first remained to be used on official merchandise well after the third season, including on the covers of the novel series, the DVDs and the official Charmed magazine.

Series overview

The story of Charmed begins with the three Halliwell sisters — Prudence, Piper and Phoebe — coming together six months after the death of their grandmother, Grams. Moving back into the family Manor in San Francisco, the youngest sister, Phoebe, discovers an old book — the Book of Shadows — in the attic. Reading an incantation from it, she unwittingly sets in motion events that fulfill an ancient prophecy. Strange and harrowing occurrences begin which eventually lead the sisters to realize that they are witches.

They discover that they not only possess supernatural powers, but also come from a long line of powerful witches. The first in the line, Melinda Warren, possessed three powers: the power to move things with her mind, to freeze time, and to see into the future. Melinda was burned at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials.(In reality, no one was burned at the stake in Salem). However, before she died, Melinda prophesied that each coming generation of Warren (later Halliwell) witches would grow stronger and stronger, culminating in the arrival of three sisters -- the strongest good witches the world had ever seen; the three sisters would form The Power of Three, the most powerful magical force ever.

Prudence "Prue" Halliwell, the eldest, most over-protective sister, develops the power of telekinesis and can move things with her mind. Her telekinesis is usually triggered by anger, and is first channeled through her eyes. But she can soon channel her telekinesis through her hands, like her ancestor Brianna and her Grams. She later gains the power of astral projection, where she can make a "copy" of herself appear wherever she desires by projecting her consciousness, while her physical body is left standing there unconscious. Her power of astral projection develops from her power of telekinesis, when she feels an overwhelming need to be in two places at once, in the season two episode "Ms. Hellfire". While in that status, she is unable to use her power of telekinesis. In the season three episode, "Primrose Empath", one of the last times she is shown using her astral projection power, she is able to project her "clone", while her physical body stays conscious.

Piper, at first the middle child and mediator, and later eldest, receives the power to freeze objects therefore essentially "stop time". At first, Piper's control of her powers is weak. Her range is not very far, and she cannot keep people or objects frozen for very long. As her powers grow, she is able to expand her range. She can freeze entire rooms, or direct her freezing powers only at certain objects or people without freezing everyone and everything. By season three, she can also keep demons or people frozen while unfreezing only certain body parts, such as demon heads, which comes in handy when she questions them. Piper can also keep people frozen for very long periods of time without her having to be in the room to "hold the freeze". It is only late in season three when it is revealed that her power to freeze works at a molecular level; they work by slowing molecules down to the point where they appear frozen in time. This power later evolves so that instead of slowing molecules down to freeze them, she is able to speed molecules up, causing objects (and demons) to explode. Her freezing power is triggered by fear, panic, or surprise, while her explosion power (before she gains full control of it) is triggered by anger.

Phoebe, the youngest sister receives the power of premonition, which allows her to see future events. Her power is triggered through touching people or objects (or, if the psychic residue of an area is strong enough, simply being in the room). While her premonitions are initially passive, she eventually gains control to the point that the power is considered an active one. Over time, her power of premonition evolves in several ways. She begins having visions of past events in season one's episode, "The Witch Is Back", making her the first of the sisters whose powers advance. Her powers of premonition later grow stronger, so that she is able to feel the emotions in her premonition; for example, she feels her mother drowning when she receives a vision of the past in season two's episode, "P3 H2O". This ability to feel the emotions within her premonitions may serve as a foretelling of her soon-to-come empathic powers. In season five's episode, "The Eyes Have It", after not having had any premonitions in months due to overwork and overstress, she seeks the help of Gypsies to unblock her powers. She gets a "super premonition", in which she astral projects into the future within her premonition; her ability to feel what happens grows so that when she is hurt in her vision, her present self is also physically harmed. Though this type of premonition occurs very rarely, she is also able to astral project into the future and converse with her future self in season eight. Phoebe also has the power to share premonitions with others who have the gift of foresight. Phoebe eventually obtains the active power to levitate, which is useful in combination with her martial arts skills. Her power of levitation is first seen in season three's premiere episode, "The Honeymoon's Over". Her empathic powers, which develop in season six, allow her to read others' emotions and affect the supernatural powers of other beings (whose powers are tied to their emotions). She can channel the powers and reflect the attacks of demons and other magical beings, such as the Valkyries seen in "Valhalley of the Dolls". In season six she has her powers removed for misuse, but is re-awarded her premonition power in the seventh season of the show.

After the tragic and unexpected death of Prue, Piper and Phoebe learn that they have a half-sister named Paige, born to their mother Patty and Sam, her Whitelighter, a sort of guardian angel for witches and future whitelighters. As this type of relationship was forbidden and unheard of at the time, Patty and Sam gave the baby to Sister Agnes, a nun, and the Matthews family later adopted her. Her birth parents requested only that her first name begin with 'P', to continue the tradition. From her Whitelighter father, Paige inherits the power to "orb". At first, Paige can only orb out momentarily and reappear in the same spot; this is triggered by fear and surprise. She quickly develops the power to orb wherever she wants. According to the prophecy of the three Charmed Ones with three distinct powers, the third sister has the power of telekinesis. Being half witch and half whitelighter affects the powers Paige inherits from Patty: instead of telekinesis like Prue's, Paige is able to move an object by calling for it; the object then orbs to her, or to any location she wishes. This power is called telekinetic orbing. Though this power requires the use of verbal commands, she can sometimes use it silently, such as when in a state of enhanced power. In Season 5, Paige reveals that she also has other Whitelighter powers, such as glamouring. Halfway through Season 8, Paige's Whitelighter side develops more fully when she becomes able to magically heal others and to locate charges by sensing them.

A central theme throughout the show's run is the sisters' struggle to balance their normal lives with their supernatural responsibilities. The burden of keeping their destinies a secret from the outside world repeatedly creates tensions in their friendships, workplaces, and romantic relationships. Only a few know their secret and help them on a regular basis. The most important is Leo Wyatt, a Whitelighter assigned by the Elders to guide and protect the sisters. Leo means a great deal to the sisters both professionally and personally: he heals their wounds, advises them collectively and individually, and mediates between them and the enigmatic Elders. He also becomes the love of Piper's life, her husband and the father of her children. Others who keep the Charmed Ones' secret over the years include police inspectors Andy Trudeau and Darryl Morris, tormented half-demon Cole Turner, the mysterious time-traveler Chris Perry, sisters Christy and Billie Jenkins, Paige's husband Henry Mitchell, and the many other creatures in the magical community.

Characters

Main

Born on August 7, 1973 and is the middle child. Upon Prue's death, she assumes the role as the oldest. Her powers include the ability to freeze and explode objects at will. She is most concerned with having a normal life, and always has reservations about her life as a Charmed One. When she first becomes a Charmed One, she is quiet and reserved, often having to mediate between Prue and Phoebe. As the show progresses, she gains a stronger persona and takes more authority after Prue dies. She eventually becomes the mother of two sons and a daughter, Wyatt, Chris, and Melinda, with her husband Leo Wyatt, and goes to great lengths to protect her children. In the series finale, the final montage shows her with a granddaughter. Her love of food steers her to a career in the culinary, which leads her to open her own club, and as revealed in the last episode, her own restaurant.

Phoebe, born November 2, 1975 is the baby of the family and is a spontaneous, free-spirited young woman. The power she was born with is premonitions, which grow to enable her to see into the past as well as the future. This later allows her to project herself into the future and the past. She later gains the powers of levitation, which she often combines with her martial arts skills, and the power of empathy but later loses the latter two due to misusing them for personal gain. She forces a premonition so she can leave for a date and is caught on tape by Inspector Sheridan. It is possible that she earned back levitation and empathy. She is a romantic, and later becomes a successful columnist and author. Early on, she often had a turbulent relationship with her older sister, Prue; later she mediates between Piper and Paige. Her longest relationships are with Cole Turner for over a year, and with Coop. In 2006, the Angel of Destiny marries Phoebe and Coop, as seen in the series finale, and they eventually have three daughters. She continues to work at the Bay Mirror and writes a book on finding love.

Born on August 2, 1977. After a secret love affair with her Whitelighter Samuel Wilder, the Charmed Ones' mother, Patty Halliwell, gave birth to a fourth daughter. They left Paige at the doors of a church because her parents' love was forbidden. She was adopted when she was still a baby, and grew up as an only child of a couple. While in school, Paige would often get into trouble. Her personality is bold and vibrant, adding a new dynamic to the show from season 4 onwards. Paige's birth power is telekinesis, but because she is part Whitelighter this ability combines with her natural orbing to create telekinetic-orbing. She comes into the craft quickly, aiding in the vanquish of The Source of All Evil. In Season 8, she gains the ability to heal those she loves, starting with Henry. She is driven to become a "full-time witch", and has a hard time finding a career she is content with, eventually settling with her destiny as a Whitelighter, like her father. After the death of Gideon, Paige begs the Elders to keep Magic School open. They agree only if Paige becomes the headmistress and runs the school to guarantee the students' safety. Eventually, she resigns; handing the role onto her brother-in-law Leo Wyatt. Paige marries mortal parole officer Henry Mitchell and they have twin daughters and a son, Henry Jr.

Born October 28, 1970, Prue is the eldest Halliwell sister. Born with the power of telekinesis, she later manifests an astral projection ability. Strong-willed, feisty and intelligent, she would often take charge of situations and has always been overprotective of her two sisters, Piper and Phoebe. Having spent her childhood taking care of her two younger sisters after the death of their mother, she became responsible, with a fierce determination at whatever she did, including fighting demons. This sense of responsibility occasionally leads to clashes with the more free-willed Phoebe, however, the two grow closer as the series progresses. Though at times Prue lets pride dictate her way of handling things, she never lets her personal life interfere with her work life. On May 17, 2001, 3 years new to the craft she is killed by Shax, a demonic assassin sent by the Source of all evil.

Supporting

Leo is the sisters' Whitelighter in the beginning, and soon becomes romantically involved with Piper. Leo's magical promotions provide the show's portrayal of a supernatural ladder of success and struggle between career and family. His relationship with Piper is the first of many conflicts between the Halliwells and the Elders.

Andy is the sisters' childhood friend and Prue's love interest for many years. In the episode "that 70s episode" we see a young Piper use her powers to freeze a young Andy. He serves as the sisters' initial connection to the police force once he learns of the girls' activities, as well as the first conflict between the girls' secret and normal lives. The demon Rodriguez kills Andy while he is trying to protect the girls in the finale of season one. Two years later, in the finale of season 3, Prue is killed by the demon Shax, and is assumingly reunited with Andy.

Darryl, who is Andy's partner, takes over the role as the Halliwells' police connection after Andy's tragic death. He continues to cover up for the sisters once he learns their secret, even after the events which lead to him almost being executed through a lethal injection, if reluctantly, until his wife later forces him to move to the east coast. After almost being executed, he expresses his desired uninvolvement with the sisters angrily and refuses to talk to them, answer calls or help them get police files. However, he finds out the Charmed Ones were willing to give up their powers to save him and realizing how much good the sisters do for the community, Darryl forgives them and he still considers them family.

Dan moves into the house next door with his niece, Jenny, and instantly falls in love with Piper. They temporarily date, but Dan cannot take the place of Piper's first love, Leo. He later moves away, at the end of season two.

Jenny is Dan's niece. She was written off suddenly.

Cole is Phoebe's first husband; he is a half-demon, creating situations over which the sisters clash. He is originally a powerful villain, later taking other forms and roles throughout his character's history. After his final vanquish at the hands of the sisters, he continues to watch over Phoebe, silently and unseen.

Piper and Leo's unborn son, Chris Halliwell, commonly known as Chris Perry for the year and a half of his time with the sisters, came from the future to help defeat the Titans and save young Wyatt from turning evil. His adult form dies at the hands of Gideon just before he is born. He later reappears twice, once in Someone to Witch Over Me and again in the series finale. Phoebe finds out Chris is actually Leo and Piper's youngest son in The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell.

Billie is Paige's charge. While at first over-confident in her abilities, she eventually becomes a student of the sisters, helping them to maintain their normal lives. After being swayed by her sister Christy to betray the Halliwells, Billie eventually sides with them in the series finale and is forced to kill her sister, Christy in self-defense.

  • Coop – (Victor Webster) (Season 8) - Coop is a cupid sent by the Elders to help Phoebe with her love life. Coop marries Phoebe Halliwell in series finale.

Recurring

Notes Only officially credited in one Season 7 episode, "Imaginary Fiends", and from the Season 8 episode "12 Angry Zen" onwards.

Billing order

The initial five episodes list the actors as follows: Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, T.W. King, Dorian Gregory, and Alyssa Milano. Beginning with episode six, the actresses playing the Charmed Ones are always listed first, beginning with the leading role of Shannen Doherty, with Milano still receiving the "and" credit. The leads are then followed by whichever supporting actors are contracted for that particular season. If one of the supporting players does not appear in a particular episode, his/her name also does not appear in the opening credits. The second episode of season two, "Morality Bites", is the only episode in which only the sisters appear in the opening credits.

In seasons one through three, the lead actresses are listed by character age: Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano. After Shannen Doherty's departure, the veteran leading actresses receive the coveted first and last billing with their new co-star in the middle: Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, and Holly Marie Combs as "Piper" where Combs received a special benefit for adding the character to her name in the opening credits. Brian Krause, who became a main cast member halfway through the second season, is listed fourth in the credits from season three to season seven. During season eight, however, Kaley Cuoco took the fourth spot.

Episodes

The series began its first season on October 7, 1998 and aired for eight years until its finale on May 21, 2006. During its eight seasons, 178 episodes were aired, making Charmed the longest running hour-long television series with all female leads. The series ended when its American network, The WB, was shut down in order for it to merge into a new network station. Each season consists of 22 episodes with the exclusion of the fifth and sixth seasons which contain 23 episodes including their double-episode premiers and double-episode finales. In the United Kingdom, the entire series aired on the digital network Living TV and on the terrestrial channel Five from 1998 until 2006, when Channel 4 purchased the rights to air the final season on its T4 scheduling slot. Currently, all eight seasons of the series are available on DVD, including two all-season collections (The Book of Shadows for Region 4, and The Magic Chest for Region 2). Following the series finale, the show continued in its non-canon series of novels revolving around the principal characters.

US Ratings & Response

Charmed proved to be a success early on, the shows' premiere episode "Something Wicca This Way Comes" pulled in more than 7.7 million viewers; and the show was ranked the #2 rated show on The WB network (tied with Dawson's Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) with an average of 5.4 million viewers per episode. The show also was extremely successful during its second season with an average of 4.7 million per episode and again tying with Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the #2 slot; during the shows 3rd season again placed 3rd with an average of 4.8 million per episode.

Season Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Viewer Rank (#) Network Rank (#) Viewers (in millions)
1st October 10, 1998 May 26, 1999 1998-1999 118 1 5.4
2nd September 30, 1999 May 18, 2000 1999-2000 120 2 4.7
3rd October 5, 2000 May 17, 2001 2000-2001 117 2 4.8
4th October 4, 2001 May 16, 2002 2001-2002 129 6 4.2
5th September 22, 2002 May 11, 2003 2002-2003 128 4 4.57
6th September 28, 2003 May 16, 2004 2003-2004 154 5 4.3
7th September 12, 2004 May 22, 2005 2004-2005 132 7 3.5
8th September 25, 2005 May 21, 2006 2005-2006 132 5 3.5

Recurring themes

Character development struggles

The series always focuses on the constant development of its main characters; and each of the main characters has recurring problem points in their lives. As women in their late twenties and early thirties, the sisters constantly have to cope with balancing their magical lives with their everyday, professional lives (Prue's professional career, Phoebe's studies and afterwards her job, Piper's ownership of her club and then her role as a mother, and Paige's accepting magic as a general part of her life). Another returning source of personal conflict is the sisters' love lives, and the problems that arise from hiding a part of their lives from their human relationships; and hiding their forbidden relationships with members of the magical community from the rest of the magical community: Leo and Piper's conflict with the Elders, and Phoebe loving a half-demon Cole.

As the sisters have to struggle with many forces of darkness, death is a common event in their lives. Each of the sisters die at several points in the series, with Piper dying nine times, Phoebe dying eleven times, Paige dying seven times, and Prue dying three times. Except for Prue's death in the third season finale, the protagonists always find a way to return the respective Halliwells back to life through the Cleaners, Leo's Avatar powers, changing time, soul trading etc.

However, not every death on Charmed has been so easily reversed; as several important supporting characters have died without being revived, such as Andy, Cole (2nd vanquish), Kyle Brody, and adult Chris. Although Chris, Kyle, and Cole appear in episodes after their deaths, none are revived: Kyle reveals to Paige that he became a Whitelighter, Cole is in limbo, and Chris' first appearance is as a personification of Leo's guilt, his second is a Chris from a different future.

Exposure of magic

In the world of Charmed, the existence of magic as well as benevolent and malevolent forces remains hidden from human society. A recurring problem for the protagonists during the series is finding a way to fight the forces of evil without exposing themselves as magical beings. Spanning the series run, the show's writers featured episodes that detail the dangerous consequences of magic being exposed to human society. Notably in the second season episode "Morality Bites", which sees Phoebe's execution in an alternate future; the third season finale "All Hell Breaks Loose", which leads to the death of Prue; and the seventh season finale "Something Wicca This Way Goes", in which events lead the three witches and Leo to fake their deaths and assume new identities.

The sixth season episode "Forget Me...Not" introduced the Cleaners, a pair of magical beings capable of warping reality in order to maintain magic's secret. While occasionally tasked with cleaning up after the Charmed Ones, the sisters generally covered their own tracks. It is never explained why these characters did not intervene during the events of "All Hell Breaks Loose." Some fans claim the events (i.e. Prue's death) wasn't destiny having its way and the Cleaners could have done something to stop this but the elders wanted her to die.

Power swapping and stealing

Throughout the show, the powers of the sisters are constantly being either swapped or stolen by demons.

In Season One's "Wicca Envy", Prue is framed by her boss Rex for stealing a tiara. In order to keep from going to jail, the sisters are forced to recite an incantation that will remove all of their powers and put them into a lanturn. When they were about to hand it over to Rex, Leo "healed" the Book of Shadows which gave the sisters their powers back. Later in the episode, the sisters decided to burn the spell and agree to always keep their powers. In Season One's episode "Love Hurts", Piper casts a spell to switch her power to freeze time with Leo's power to heal in order to save him from the arrow of a Darklighter. The spell was meant to switch only their powers, but it also caused Phoebe to obtain the power of Telekinesis whereas Prue developed the power of Premonition. After they work out the kinks in their new powers, they use the same spell to get their powers back, and then agree to destroy the spell.

In Season Two's "How to Make a Quilt Out of Americans", the sisters' grandmother's old friend, Gail Altman, and her two friends chanted to summon the spirit of a demon named Cryto. The reason for this was that they wanted to be young and healthy again (Gail was in fact dying of cancer). Cryto however wanted something in return and the offer of a body was not enough, he wanted the powers of the Charmed ones. So Gail made a potion that would allow the Charmed ones powers to be stolen and then tricked them into drinking it. When Cryto got what he wanted he killed the other two women that had helped Gail gain youth and health, and threatened Gail with death if she did not obey him. When the Charmed ones realized that they had lost their powers they had to make Cryto use the power he did not know he had which was astral projection. When he was forced to astral project upstairs to try and stop Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), the body that was left motionless was force fed the potion and the Charmed ones read out a spell which returned their powers.

In Season Four's "Charmed and Dangerous", the Source used the Hollow to obtain the sisters' powers. He managed to steal Piper's and Paige's, but was not interested in obtaining Phoebe's because her powers were too weak. But Cole used the Hollow against him, and with some help from the Seer, their powers were returned and Cole, unknowing to the charmed ones, obtained the sources powers, and a piece of the Source's essence with them that proceeded to possess Cole over the next several episodes until Cole's first true vanquish.

In Season Five's "Siren's Song", Piper and Leo were having couple-problems. Piper was upset that her husband did not understand the burden of being pregnant while Leo was frustrated that his wife did not understand the importance of being a whitelighter. In order to make them understand each other's burdens, unborn baby Wyatt swapped his parent's powers, making Piper the whitelighter and Leo feel the nausea of Piper's pregnancy symptoms. In the end, Piper and Leo learned to understand each other better and unborn Wyatt switched their powers back.

In Season Six's "The Power of Three Blondes", three evil sisters, Mabel, Mitzy and, Margo Stillman, used a spell to steal the sisters' identities in order to steal their lives. After they obtained their identities, they used a spell in the Book of Shadows to steal their powers. However, since it's a spell to call a witch's powers, Paige's whitelighter powers were kept and she orbed out with Piper and Phoebe. Paige then went received help from two gremlins to help find Chris. By provoking Mabel in front of Chris, he realized that their identities were stolen and made the three sisters use their powers against each other which in turn made the fake sisters lose their powers (as did the real Charmed Ones in an earlier season when Cole recruited a demon to anger the girls). With their identities returned, Piper, Phoebe and Paige used a spell from the Book of Shadows to take back their powers and strip Mabel, Mitzy, and Margo Stillman of their own powers. They were then arrested for the murder of the neighbors who live opposite the Halliwells.

In Season Seven's "Ordinary Witches", Phoebe is convinced that Piper must see this demon-free world the avatars promised, so she casts the same spell to switch her and Piper's powers. During the transaction, Zankou appears and causes their powers to fly out the window, into ordinary people. These two people are freaked out at first, but then decide to keep the powers and use them for personal gain. After showing the man with Phoebe's power what the future without demons holds, and the good they can do, they are convinced that the girls must get their powers back. In Season Seven's "Something Wicca This Way Goes", Zankou throws a potion to steal Piper's powers, a potion for Phoebe's, but luckily Paige is able to keep her powers as Zankou uses his potion on her astral self. They later vanquish Zankou along with the Nexus, and, knowing that everyone thinks they are dead, assume the identity of three normal women to lead a demon-free life, away from magic.

Show changes

In its eight-year course, Charmed under went many changes, including departure of cast and crew members, some of which had a large impact on the series as a whole. While in the case of some of the newer changes executive producer, Brad Kern, openly referred to budget cuts as the reason, most of the changes happened without the reasons being released into public, giving rise to much speculation and debates among fans.

Initial changes

  • Originally, Lori Rom was cast as Phoebe in the unaired pilot episode of Charmed. When the property was green lighted to go to series, Rom was unavailable. Producer Aaron Spelling called upon Alyssa Milano, fresh off her short-term guest appearance on Melrose Place to fill the role. Major portions of the first episode were re-shot, some scenes rewritten and new scenes added to create a full one-hour debut episode titled "Something Wicca This Way Comes".
  • The character of Andy Trudeau was originally played by another actor and Darryl Morris didn't exist in the unaired pilot.
  • Charmed was picked up for a full season after the ratings success of the first two episodes, according to the documentary The Women of Charmed produced in 1999. By then, the first few episodes had completed production. Some of the crew were then replaced, including the series' composer (thus discontinuing the use of the many chime instruments characteristic of the opening episodes).
  • Some basic story elements of the Charmed world laid down in the initial six episodes are later changed. The Book of Shadows is later established as untouchable by evil; Grams' husband and grandfather of the three sisters has his name and time frame changed, the sisters having a relationship with their father even though in the initial episodes they want nothing to do with him. In addition, the time frame of Victor Bennett leaving his wife, the girls' mother, changes occasionally throughout the series.
  • Anthony Denison originally played the girls' father in the first season episode "Thank You for Not Morphing". This episode establishes that the character's name is Victor Halliwell, which was later modified to be Victor Bennet. The family tree in "Pardon My Past" lists him as Victor Jones. Eventually, the series consistently referred to the character as Victor Bennett (two "T"s).

Changes in story structure

Between the second and the third season, creator and executive producer Constance M. Burge left the crew of the show, leaving her former position to executive producer Brad Kern. Burge continued to produce other shows, but remained as creative consultant until season four. Burge's departure resulted in changes in the story structure of the show, from a "demon of the week" system to using third- or half- season-long story arcs. In addition, more importance is given to the protagonists' personal lives.

The serial connection of episodes culminated in the second half of season four. Despite the ratings increasing during season four's final story arc from 4.19 to 4.21, the WB asked Brad Kern to abandon the serial system in the future. This led to the largely episodic structure of season five, and resulted in the two systems being balanced from the sixth season onwards.

Departure of Shannen Doherty

At the end of the third season, Shannen Doherty left the show, resulting in her character's death, and the introduction of Rose McGowan's character Paige. While in the episode, "Death Takes a Halliwell" the Angel of Death foreshadowed Prue's death, "All Hell Breaks Loose" (the season three finale) remained as a cliffhanger. Prue's death is only established in the premiare of the 4th season of Charmed.

Timeslot changes

The show witnessed multiple changes in its timeslot. From its initial Wednesday night, Charmed moved to Thursday nights in Season Two, and starting with Season Five it moved again, this time to Sunday nights, to anchor "The WB's Big Sunday" event. The change in broadcast day played a central role in the show's change of ratings, as from the moment Charmed moved to Sunday, its episodes had to continually compete with other strong-rated shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Simpsons, as well as events such as the Golden Globes.

Changes in the Charmed universe

In the first three seasons, the magical world of Charmed introduces original concepts such as the spiritual nexus and the workings of the show's witchcraft, and involves creatures such as Whitelighters and Darklighters, and also a number of mythological creatures not frequently adapted to television, such as the Woogyman, the Wendigo or the Banshee. This is probably attributable to Constance M. Burge, as well as story editor Robert Masello, introduced as the show's mythology expert (as seen in the 1999 documentary Women of Charmed).

In the third season, it was revealed in order for adults to see fairies, they must cast a spell or believe in fairies and be sprinkled with fairy dust. However, after this point, the Charmed Ones were able to see fairies without the aid of the spell or the dust, including Paige, who never had the spell cast on her (at least, not on-screen).

Gradually from the fourth season, besides keeping the dominance of creatures with attributes explicitly created to conform to the storylines, Charmed started to rely more heavily on using creatures from classical (i.e., Greek and Roman) mythology as well as from miscellaneous folklore items well-known in contemporary culture, such as leprechauns and dwarves.

Budget cuts

Budget cuts in the last few seasons led to many minor, and a few major changes in the show.

  • Budget cuts caused demons to become entirely human-like rather than the monsters with rich costumes and make-up witnessed in the earlier seasons.
  • One of the most notable budget-related changes was the WB's decision not to include Brian Krause and Dorian Gregory in season eight. As Brad Kern said in a number of interviews, he had to restructure the budget to include Krause in 12 episodes, to avoid abruptly ending his character's storyline. Enough money was saved to include Krause in the final two episodes of the series. However, Gregory's character was written out completely, with his final episode being the season seven finale.
  • In an interview in the eighth issue of Charmed Magazine, Brad Kern revealed that in season eight, executive producers Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent and a number of crew members opted to reduce their own salaries in order to maintain the show's quality, as the budget of the season was reduced by twenty percent.

Multimedia

Main articles:

See also

References

External links

Search another word or see charmedon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature