Wonder Woman Wednesday: ‘Charmed’

Mel (Melonie Diaz), Macy (Madeleine Mantock) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery) star in "Charmed" on The CW.

In 1997, the then-WB Network got viewers to sink their teeth into Buffy, The Vampire Slayer with Sarah Michelle Gellar as the one who was chosen to lead the generation to stop the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness.  A year later, viewers became Charmed, which premiered on October 7, 1998.  Watched by 7.7 million viewers, its became the highest-rated debut in the history of the WB until the Superman prequel series Smallville in the fall of 2001.  By its second week, Charmed was picked up for a full season.

Dubbed as a supernatural Charlie’s Angels, the series followed the Halliwell sisters as the Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches in the world.  The first three seasons focused on Prue (Shannon Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano).  Having the power of telekinesis (Prue), the power to freeze time (Piper) and the power of premonitions (Phoebe), their sisterhood is bonded and strengthened as the Power of Three.  Their mission: to protect the innocent and vanquish evil.

By the end of the third season, Doherty left the show and her character Prue was killed off.  However, viewers were Charmed again the next season with the introduction of Rose McGowan as Paige Matthews, the long-lost Halliwell half-sister who is also half-witch, half-Whitelighter.  

Later seasons centered on the relationship between Piper and Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause), a guardian angel assigned to watch over the Halliwells but ends up falling in love with Piper.  After many ups and downs, the two got married and became the parents of sons Wyatt and Chris.  Another relationship that became a fan favorite was Phoebe and half-demon, half-human Cole Turner (Julian McMahon), who was originally sent to kill the Charmed Ones but fell in love with Phoebe.  Like Buffy/Angel, though, their relationship was doomed when Cole became (the Source of All) evil once more and Phoebe had no choice but to vanquish him in the centennial 100th episode.  However, Cole returned for the show’s 150th episode to help restore Phoebe’s faith in love.  In its final season, the sisters had an ally in the form of Billie Jenkins (Kaley Cuoco), a college student that the Charmed Ones take their under wing.

Throuhghout its eight seasons, Charmed has moved from Wednesdays to Thursdays to Sundays, but loyal viewers remained under their spell.  When the show ended in 2006, it became the longest-running show with female leads on American television until ABC’s Desperate Housewives in 2012.  Still, Charmed continues to make an impact: becoming an inspiration for shows such as The Secret Circle, Lifetime’s Witches of East EndThe Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.  The show remains popular thanks to reruns in syndication, Netflix, comic books and so forth.

In the fall of 2018, in honor of the original’s 20th anniversary, Charmed was rebooted on the CW with Mel (Melonie Diaz), Macy (Madeleine Mantock) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery).  Under the guidance of their Whitelighter Harry (Rupert Evans), this trio of sisters are destined to save the world from evil as the Charmed Ones.  The show returns to Sundays for its third season in 2021, but you can catch up on the first two seasons on Netflix.

Charmed remains forever a show about girl power: the ultimate power that is known as the Power of Three.

Video by CBS Entertainment / Paramount

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