Let’s face it: we’ve already long dawned to the age of nostalgia. From the movies to our television sets, reboots are everywhere, and The CW might be one of the networks which is taking a lot of risks (and a fair share of bad publicities) on reviving previously beloved television shows, especially now.
Just a few months ago, the network released the shows they will be airing for this 2018-2019 season. The lineup includes a lot of its original roster from the previous season, the others new, and the reimagining of Charmed is one of them.
Now, some of you might be asking: why is The CW taking its shot on reboots instead of continuing the storyline? Is it a risk worth taking, or is it something they should avoid in the future? That’s a general question, but we will be tackling on that later on as well.
Initially, Charmed is a story of three sisters who happened to be witches, known as The Charmed Ones, and who are destined to protect the innocents from supernatural malevolence.
If you are one of the many people who’ve seen each season of the original series on a 4:3 aspect ratio TV set, still know the opening theme by heart, and bought all DVDs to re-watch in the comfort of your own home, you probably raised an eyebrow as I did when it was announced Charmed would be remade.
The reboot itself drew some flack due to its advertising. Calling the new reincarnation of the show a “fierce, funny and feminist reboot” displeased a lot of people. Holly Marie Combs, who played Piper Halliwell from the original series, is one of them.
I mean, really, though? Being a follower of the original series, that tagline was so wrong on so many levels.
Quoting Holly Marie Combs’ snarky remark, “Guess we forgot to do that the first go around. Hmph.”
Guess we forgot to do that the first go around. Hmph. https://t.co/kDXLBefuSG— Holly Marie Combs (@H_Combs) January 26, 2018
Never overlook the factors to the success that the original was able to achieve; I believe that’s the first mistake the network's pulled off for this one.
The original stars are just as passionate about the projects as their fans are, and you can truly see the respect they have for the show. The marketing department of the network did a bad job on that one, honestly, and I’m pretty sure EP Jennie Snyder Urman addressed that during one of the interviews at SDCC 2018.
Being one-third (or one-fourth, actually) of the original Charmed Ones, Comb’s words immediately held a lot of weight that a lot of the fans of the original show backed up. One would think that it was a bad beginning, but no it wasn’t. I’ll get to that later on.
Passionate supporters of the show still were clinging to the possibility of a reunion, and a continuation and The CW smacked them in the face when they announced that it would instead reimagine the series.
And, rather than using the characters that we all loved and grew to know, they chose to change the identities of the new possessors of the Power of Three by turning the Halliwells into Veras.
No, it wasn’t just the last name. The identity as a whole of The Charmed Ones has been altered.
Ethnicity and cultural representations; let’s go on to that one.
The Halliwells are all Caucasian in ethnicity, and the Veras are women of color. Now, some of you might think it’s a stunt to put relevance to the new sisters, and it is. I don’t mean that negatively, but it is a stunt. A significant stunt, to be precise.
Being a person of color, being represented on-screen is important. To this day, I’m still thankful for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for including Filipino representation in their show because we do not get that a lot. But I won’t be diving into that water not to get swayed off-topic. I’m just getting that out to put how ethnic depiction matters.
Giving the show a different cultural representation opens it up to bigger and newer possibilities that the original show wasn’t able to take on. Writing about a lesbian is also a welcome change about which the original didn’t get the chance to write.
Am I sad that there’s no forbidden witch/whitelighter romance on the horizon? Of course. Can I live with that? Yes. Why? Because it's a storyline that's already been done and doing it again would only show the lack of creativity in the reboot team.
Again, this is a stunt, and no one denies that. I, a person of color myself, am agreeing on that one, but it’s a necessary trick to pull.
That’s most especially the case in this day and age wherein everyone's looking to get represented.
From ethnicity to sexuality, we have arrived on that day where labels are not to be looked over and where representation matters. If Charmed continued, it would still be about three white sisters and their white children.
That one change gave immediate range to the show. I’m not calling the original Charmed series shallow, for crying out loud, and please do not put words in my mouth. To say that the reboot got its depth from the cultural representation is just a fact, and that’s not me saying otherwise on the original show.
Being a reboot, it needs to be more character-driven than plot-driven. Who, what, and how they are as characters should run the show and not how the show was back in the '90s.
The original show is a cult classic, and that significant term is still an understatement. The Halliwells are icons. Having said that, if the OG Charmed went on and had a continuation, how are they supposed to tackle these issues by having three straight, Caucasian women as the center of the story? The representation will be slim.
I said earlier that I raised an eyebrow when I heard that Charmed was really coming back to life, but that’s the fan of the show reacting.
As a fan of mythology and the concept of world-building, I can’t help myself but feel excited about the new lore that might be created within the new iteration of the show, especially now that a new canon can be included out of diversifying the ethnicity of the cast.
Why is that important? Well, no one can ever look down on myth fans because there’s a whole bunch of them out there and they’ll also be able to create a cult following for the Charmed reboot if they do the myth game right.
While Holly Marie Combs is correct when she said that “reboots fair better when they honor the original as opposed to taking shots at the original,” it is imperative for The CW and CBS Studios to do its own take while taking advantage of the brand.
Honoring a show is different than doing a continuation of the original series.
As I’d been telling since earlier, there’s a reason why I think The CW opted on making a revival instead of a continuation of the original Charmed series. That reason? Growing along. Vague? Let me explain further.
The original Charmed sisters have already grown as characters. And, no, I’m not just speaking about the three sisters. I’m talking about the four of them, but I won’t be spoiling too much about that, especially to those who are yet to see the comics.
We’ve watched how they gained their powers, learned how to control them, and coped when they lost them. We’ve seen them overcome the pain of loss and embrace the unknown. We were witnesses to their lives as new adults until they were already parents of their own.
You know the feeling of seeing a blank canvass and holding a paintbrush wherein you’ll be able to dabble in different colors and create art? That was the spark of the show, the life of the original series. That spark is hard to get back if they decided to continue on the OG storyline because the canvass itself is no longer blank.
Writing over the original storyline is like painting over a Van Gogh. Why would you do that?
That was why the powers that be on The CW chose to reimagine Charmed as a new series rather than creating a continuation. Because; it would be hard to grow along a set of characters that have already grown.
The new cast holds that chance of getting to grow along its fans. Now, this may be a reboot, but the show itself is targeting on getting new fans by making a spark out of an old, renowned brand through word of mouth — probably the oldest and the best form of advertising there is.
Of course, I’m not belittling the influences of the fans of the original series. The way I said that was how I imagined what the big bosses of the production team thought it would be beneficial for them and the future of the new show.
You know what they say: there’s no such thing as bad publicity. “Fierce, funny and feminist reboot” as their initial advertising said — although it irked a lot of the original fans and the original stars, it got people talking. Heck, it got me to write an article.
So, is the Charmed reboot charmed or jinxed? I think it’s safe to say that it’s both, and they know it. One wrong or right move, their standing can either be elevated or shoved under the ground.
To have a brand of a beloved show, which still has a vast following to this day, can be of a great advantage. It lures old fans into a world that is fresh and unfamiliar, and it makes them talk. That same talk can lure new people in, especially the curious ones.
In a way, it is jinxed because it’s hard and almost impossible to get the fans of the original show to get on board and make them like the new reincarnation of the show.
There will always be bad talks about the reboot because of that. It’s like two nations in one country, finally adding a border between them to separate their lands.
While it opens up opportunities of getting to be heard and recognized as a name, some people will not, in any way, recognize this as a Charmed series and would always prefer the first incarnation. It’s become a battle between the original Charmed v. Charmed reboot, even though it’s unnecessary.
The only way I can see to make this work for both ends is if they make it both a revamp and a continuation; if they can come up with a multiverse where two sets of Charmed sisters exist.
That said, it was nothing more but a ludicrous fantasy. Let’s be honest: if Charmed reboot decided they wanted the OG cast to show up and the Halliwells had agreed on it, it would be a disaster as the OG sisters would overshadow the Vera sisters.
In conclusion, I think it's safe to say that there's a chance that the reboot can be a success but that chance is just at par with it being a failure. That's not a bad thing, though. It can show the reboot team that they can prove themselves worthy of a spot on our TV Screens.
What about you? Do you think the reboot should get a chance? Do you still believe that the original Charmed Ones should be a part of the reboot? Or, do you still see the OG series getting a continuation? Share your thoughts about it and let’s talk about it together.
Charmed, the reboot, premieres Sunday, October 14 on The CW.