EXCERPT FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES – Three sisters living in a spooky Victorian house, discovering their supernatural powers, battling to protect the human world from demons: Much about CW’s reboot of “Charmed” will seem familiar to anyone who watched the original.
And much will seem familiar to anyone watching the news now. “This is not a witch hunt,” goes the first line in the premiere episode, as the sisters’ mother, a women’s studies professor, seeks to bring a misogynist colleague to justice. Some of the show’s demons masquerade, by daylight, as sexual predators. And according to “Charmed,” the first sign of the apocalypse is the election of President Trump — or, as the show none too subtly puts it, “When the weakest of men reaches ill-gotten glory.”
The reboot wasn’t always so clearly synchronized with the current charged moment in our culture. “In the development process, we imagined the show as a prequel set during the rise of the women’s movement [in the 1970s],” Jennie Snyder Urman, creator of the new “Charmed,” who also has “Jane the Virgin” on the network said. “Then the election happened. There was the shock of the morning after, and the anger at being shocked. It felt like we should be examining this present moment instead.”
The original “Charmed”, which debuted in 1998 on the WB network and lasted for eight seasons, starred Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and, later, Rose McGowan. It possessed a female-empowerment blueprint, with the heroines banding together to battle villains. But whether that “Charmed” was actually aligned with feminism remains a subject of some fan debate. (Detractors point to the actresses’ wardrobes, which got more revealing as the series progressed.) But when news of the show’s reboot broke, publicity descriptions declaring the update a “feminist” take rankled the original talent.
“Guess we forgot to do that the first go around,” Ms. Combs tweeted. Ms. Doherty and Ms. Milano — who, along with Ms. McGowan, has become a vocal player in the #MeToo movement — expressed displeasure as well.