This Sunday, October 14, a brand new Charmed will try to bewitch viewers everywhere with a more inclusive, diverse reboot of the OG supernatural series, which was about three powerful witch sisters in San Francisco. Like the original, the Power Of Three remains, many of the same witchy powers remain; even OG Charmed’s habit of having all of its sisters sport the same first initial remains. But none of those surface-level bells and whistles will be what makes Charmed 2.0 soar.
Rather, after looking back at the WB’s Charmed 2006 finale, “Forever Charmed,” it’s clear what element of the original will help its reboot cast a spell: the unbreakable bonds shared between the Charmed Ones and extended to the ones they love.
When you enter series finale “Forever Charmed,” the lives of the central Halliwell sisters — Piper (Pretty Little Liars mom Holly Marie Combs), Phoebe (#MeToo advocate Alyssa Milano) and Paige (#MeToo advocate Rose McGowan, who joined in season 4) — have been thrown into chaos. It’s the kind of chaos that, if it wasn’t grounded in actual human emotion, could swallow a series whole. In an epic battle — that includes beams flying out of fingers, an ultimate magical source that looks like a bunch of low-rent CGI bugs flying around, and Kaley Cuoco of Big Bang Theory fame — two of the three Charmed Ones are murdered; a trio of ghostlike ne'er do wells are also murdered. All together, it’s a lot of magical, baffling, special-effects heavy murder.
But all of that supernatural drama is grounded in the kinds of feelings every viewer has experienced. Following the seasons-old death of firstborn Prue (Shannen Doherty) middle sister turned de facto eldest Piper is devastated by her unexpected loss. That loss is complicated by two very different matters: the person at fault for Piper’s sisters’ deaths, new addition Billie (Kaley Cuoco), is someone the Halliwell sisters went out of their way to trust, making her fatal betrayal all the more painful. Yet, on the other hand, Piper gets back the the love of her life, late husband Leo (Brian Krause), after a complicated deal with the Angel Of Destiny (Denise Dowse). Piper is both emotionally wrecked and overjoyed.
One of the most meaning parts of the OG finale is watching Piper, now on autopilot, desperately attempt to figure out how to stop her now-dead sisters from ever meeting their bloody fate. Even Leo, who has seen it all over eight seasons of Charmed, is unsettled watching his wife’s robotic machinations to bring her sisters back (eventually she enlists a Cupid).
Yet Piper’s determination makes sense. After all, she is now the last woman standing in her family line after the deaths of older sister Prue, mom Patty (Finola Hughes), and grandmother Penny (Jennifer Rhodes), a.k.a. “Grams.” Despite all the death hanging over the Halliwell clan, there is also an endless amount of love.
Love becomes the literal vehicle for “Charmed Forever.” That previously mentioned Cupid, named Coop (Victor Webster), gives Piper a time-traveling ring that brings voyagers to past loves. While it’s technically intended for finding former romantic partners, Piper uses it to find Phoebe, whom she loves just as much, if not more, than any man. This way, she can warn her sister about the battle that will one day kill her. But, the ring accidentally takes Piper and Leo, who tags along, to the 1970s… when Phoebe was conceived by mom Patty and dad Victor (James Read).
While the moment is awkward, it does bring Piper, Leo, and Patty together. On their journey through time, the group also ends up picking up Grams for their mission, and meeting a blissfully happy, still-in-love elderly Piper and Leo in the future. With all of this time jumping, the Halliwells eventually save Phoebe and Paige, only to have Piper and Leo’s sons Chris (Drew Fuller) and Wyatt (Wes Ramsey) appear from the future to announce their timeline has been ruined by the finale’s “present day” antics. So sets off the final Charmed battle, complete with Halliwells past, present, and future (except for poor, late Prue, since Shannen Doherty’s real-life behind-the-scenes drama nixed any chance of a cameo).
All of this supernatural nonsense works because it’s built on years of unbreakable human bonds. The Charmed Ones love each other more than anything, and will literally move heaven and Earth to find each other. Leo is unquestionably dedicated to his in-laws. Every single Halliwell-adjacent individual feels a certain way about seeing Patty, who has been dead for decades.
The widespread happy endings that cap Charmed feel hard-won after nearly a decade of hell. In fact, the Halliwells deserve a life a love and peace if only for dealing with the messy, heart-wrenching tragedy of Phoebe and Cole (Julian McMahon), which dominated three full seasons of the WB show. Charmed was nothing if not an emotionally trying ride.
So the CW reboot can, and should, have all of its progressive, feminist details, from the rallies to support sexual assault survivors to constant references to the women’s studies department at the Vaughn-Vera sisters’ college. But, if new Charmed wants to stand the test of time, it really needs to invest in the love keeping the Power Of Three together.
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