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A Review of the CW’s “Charmed”

I have a lot of thoughts on TV show reboots. Over the past few years, tons of TV shows from the 90s and early 2000s have been revived or adapted to the small screen. This has been done with as much success as Netflix’s Queer Eye, and as little success as Roseanne. Normally, I think that TV show reboots are just a way to make money and possibly appeal to an audience now in their 30s and 40s. If a reboot is done well, though, it has the ability to bring original insight to the show and to find a new, contemporary audience.

When the CW announced they were making a reboot of the Charmed series from the 90s, I was understandably wary. Most CW shows I’ve watched have poor writing and entirely unrealistic narratives that their viewer base of 14-17-year-olds couldn’t possibly relate to. I loved the original Charmed series, and I didn’t want to see it undermined by a shallow teen drama simply made for the purposes of money-making. After watching the first episode of the reboot, though, I found myself with renewed faith in the CW and in TV show reboots in general.​

Starting with the cast, the reboot is already so much more diverse than the original series. While the original actors and their characters were white, the main characters of the reboot are all Latina, and the actors playing them are women of color. The pilot introduces us to Mel and Maggie, who are sisters, as well as their half-sister Marcy, who they didn’t know they were related to. The episode follows the sisters struggling to connect to one another and navigate their lives after discovering that they are witches and they have magic powers.

Within the first few minutes of the pilot, the viewers are introduced to Mel’s girlfriend Niko. Mel and Niko’s relationship is shaken by the events of the pilot, but by the end of the episode, they are shown to be happy and together again. This kind of casual representation of a healthy relationship between two women, especially two women of color, is so important to show on a platform that is mainly geared towards teenagers. The number of same-sex or otherwise queer relationships shown in media is staggeringly small, and including a relationship between two queer women of color in the pilot of this series shows how committed the showrunners are to diversity and representation. It is so important for teenagers to be able to see aspects of themselves in the media they consume, and hopefully, Mel and Niko can be that representation for some people.

So, after watching the first episode–and without giving away any spoilers–here are some of my thoughts. Yes, it’s cheesy. Yes, the acting isn’t great and the special effects could use some work. But the original show wasn’t a masterpiece, either. I loved it because it was about magic and family and it was centered around female narratives, which was something that was kind of difficult to find growing up. The CW reboot may not be peak television, but it definitely stays true to the original series in form and content, and goes above and beyond in terms of diversity, both with race and sexuality. Narratives about sisters, about women, living and relating to each other, are so important, and it’s imperative to support these stories when we see them in media. I can only hope that the reboot doesn’t let me down in terms of that.

Image Credit: Feature,1,2

 

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