Glinda Vs. Evanora (Oz, the Great and Powerful)
Willow Vs. Glory (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
The Charmed Ones Vs. The Ultimate Power (Charmed)
Snape Vs. McGonagall (Harry Potter)
Glinda Vs. Evanora (Oz, the Great and Powerful)
Willow Vs. Glory (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
The Charmed Ones Vs. The Ultimate Power (Charmed)
Snape Vs. McGonagall (Harry Potter)
10) Morgana Pendragon (Merlin)
A big part of why I wanted Morgana on this list is because of how Merlin did such a great job at showing her development over the course of the series. Starting off as a good-hearted ward of the king, Morgana’s powers and views of Camelot grow and change with each season. She develops her powers, discovering her witchcraft, and grows increasingly bitter and twisted, eventually turning against Camelot completely. Morgana was actually a character I could feel quite a lot of sympathy for… even if she did become completely unstable/homicidal. It was a great “how she went bad” story and Katie McGrath portrayed both Morgana’s goodly years and dark years very well. Unfortunately I thought the series finale was poor and Morgana’s defeat an anti-climax, but nevertheless I liked the character. Best wicked moment – Turning Gwen into a deer and letting her loose in the middle of her husband’s hunting party. Evil.
9) Winifred Sanderson (Hocus Pocus)
Bette Midler did this character so well. Winnie is brought back to life along with her sisters when a virgin lights the black flame candle. She enjoys sucking the lives out of children in order to preserve her youth. She’s so over the top and goofy, but pretty sinister at the same time. Hocus Pocus is a hilarious film whether your a child or an adult if you ask me and if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. Winnie’s powers include casting any magic that comes from her creepy skin bound book, along with the power to shoot bolts of electricity from her hands. Sadly, unless Winnie can drain a child before sunrise, her resurrection is only temporary… her plan foiled, she turns into a statue and explodes in the light of day.
8) Sabrina Spellman (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)
Based on an Archie Comic as well as a movie that didn’t do particularly well… Sabrina the Teenage Witch became a cult hit. So it’s lead, Sabrina Spellman, played by Melissa Joan Hart, deserves a place on this list. Balancing her social, educational and magical lives was no easy task for Sabrina and she would get into many a wacky magic scenario throughout the show’s seven seasons and two TV movies. Sabrina’s talking cat, Salem Saberhagen, also made the show what it was, so I feel like he should get some credit too, even if he wasn’t technically a witch during the series run. Sabrina could do almost anything with a point of her finger, the question was whether it would go the way she wanted it to, the answer to which was no about 98% of the time. A running story through the years was Sabrina’s relationship with Harvey and the story is wrapped up nicely with the two of them driving off together into the horizon.
7) Regina Mills/ The Evil Queen (Once Upon a Time)
I may get in trouble for putting her above Sabrina, but what can I say? I just love Regina. The woman has layers. She can be manipulative, horrid and boundlessly destructive…but she also has a loving side and a hurting side that actually makes you feel for her, even after all the evil she does! Also, let’s be honest, she’s sexy as hell and she knows it. Regina cursed an entire land into our dreary world so that she could have power and she hates Snow White with a passion. Her spells can achieve all kinds of incredible things, but sometimes she’d rather just send someone flying with a swish of her hand or throw fireballs at her victims. We see a softer side to Regina due to her adoptive son, Henry. But let’s not forget that she is responsible for a massacre or two.
6) Hilda Spellman (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)
Hilda Spellman was one of Sabrina’s cooky witch aunts and Hilda has to be my favourite. Hilda is wacky, fun loving and a little clumsy with her magic and that’s why we love her. She also has a hilarious love-hate relationship with talking cat Salem and the two of them make a great double act. Hilda is a bit of a big kid and her magic, much like herself, is loud and not very subtle. Every time she points her finger, Hilda’s magic causes a huge, smoky explosion, making it pretty difficult for her to use magic discreetly. Although she was usually good, she could be bad: imprisoning a man in her ring for 100 years for not loving her is just one example. After six years of adventures, Hilda gets married to a witch names Will and moves back to the Other Realm, however she makes a special appearance for Sabrina’s wedding.
5) Endora (Bewitched)
My mother-in-law’s a witch! That’s basically what the Bewitched writers were going for and they did it really well. Endora is a hilarious character. So vindictive and mean, but in a playful way that only she can get away with. Endora is a major diva and never approved of her daughter Samantha marrying a mortal and trying to lead a non-magical life. She makes this clear by casting many, many, many spells on Samantha’s mortal husband Darren. She regularly transforms him into various things and in one episode even makes him pregnant. Endora herself admits that she aint that much of a good witch and we just have to love her for it!
4) Nancy Downes (The Craft)
Crazy really isn’t a strong enough word for Nancy. Nancy is a witch at a school where she is an outcast who lives in a trailer with her drunk mother and abusive father. When Nancy gets her hands on the power she needs to fix her life, it goes to her head faster than any broom can fly! Nancy uses her powers to kill and ex-boyfriend and rapidly loses her sanity. However, when she tries to kill fellow witch Sarah, it turns out she’s biting off more than she can chew. Sarah takes in the same power Nancy did, but with good intent and uses it to stop Nancy so that she can locked away in an insane asylum. Nancy was left powerless in the end, but when she had it, she could do many things like fly, change her appearance and cast horribly realistic illusions.
3) Piper Halliwell (Charmed)
Charmed is about three sister witches aka The Charmed Ones, who fight evil, but out of all four witches to star (one was killed off), Piper is by far my favourite. Piper’s development from awkward middle sister, to tough as nails oldest sister was well written and very believable. Holly Marie Combs became well loved for her portrayal of the character and made an impression on many fans. Along with being an expert at potion brewing, Piper had three powers that she developed over the years: freezing time, causing explosions and making things heat up. The Charmed Ones were a group of good witches, but Piper wasn’t to be messed with. She had quite the temper and wasn’t above turning mortals into rodents if they pissed her off. Demons tended to avoid including Piper in their schemes because they were scared of her power and truth be told, even Piper’s own sisters had the sense to be a little afraid of her. Piper’s biggest destructive moment was undoubtedly when she discovered her husband Leo was going to leave her; Piper breaks down, declares herself a god and almost destroys the city with her rage! Yeah, stay on her good side.
2) Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Sidekick to the slayer, Willow starts off as a lovable computer geek, but after orchestrating a ritual to put a soul back into a particularly ruthless vampire named Angelus, Willow starts studying the craft and becomes a wonder witch supreme. Willow had moments at both extreme ends of the good-evil scale. Developing an addiction to magic causes Willow to go off the deep end when girlfriend Tara dies. She absorbs a truck load of magic, goes all black haired and black eyes, flays her girlfriend’s killer alive and she tries to destroy the world. However, Willow is stopped and rehabilitated and becomes capable enough to play a part in the final battle. Willow changes the slayer prophecy and allows all potential slayers to access their power now, creating a whole army of vampire slayers all over the world. Pretty impressive don’t you think?
1) Samantha Stephens (Bewitched)
Samantha Stephens set the tone. With a wiggle of her nose, Samantha could do pretty much anything she put her mind to. Her husband Darren wanted her to stop with the witchcraft, but it sure as hell didn’t stop her from casting the spells that kept the audience tuning in each episode. Taking on the witches council for the right to marry who she chose, Samantha had power and integrity the likes of which had a huge impact at the time. She may have been a housewife, but it was her damn choice and nobody else’s. She was the star and she had the power. Samantha will always be remembered from this classic sitcom. Eight years of magic had to be an inspiration for a lot of what came afterwards.
Well here we are. I tried, I really did. I had high hopes for season 9. I had been mortified by many of the ridiculous happenings in season 8, but fortunately there were enough positives to keep me reading. Whether or not I read it genuinely believing it to be a credible continuation of the series I loved for years is another story… but I enjoyed the story overall (Even if they made what I believe was an enormous mistake by killing off one of my favourite characters in the finale). Season 9 Volume 1 was a great issue in my opinion and for the first time in a long time, I could actually fully accept it as a canon continuation. Buffy and the gang have moved to San Francisco and although new settings like this take some getting used to, one of the greatest things about this one is that it gives Buffy plenty of dark alleys to be slaying vamps in; so the title of the series actually corresponds with what she does again! Due to this, I thought that season 9 had started in a way that might actually rekindle my Buffy-love in its entirety. I was naive.
This volume; volume 2, started with promise; Buffy thinking she’s pregnant; having to deal with a very normal issue while putting it through her anything but normal perspective as the slayer. Stories like that have heaps of potential, so I was hooked and genuinely interested in how Buffy would deal with this. We also see more of Robin Wood in this story-line and learn more about his mother; known for being the only slayer to have a child. However, it didn’t take long before Joss turned what could have been a truly powerful story into something that’s stupidity and silliness went far beyond that of season 8! It turns out Buffy is actually the Buffy-bot and Andrew has transferred her brain into the machine in order to protect her. The pregnancy symptoms were just technical faults. Yes, I’m serious, this is what ACTUALLY happens! As if that wasn’t painful enough, we have more of Spike’s space ship than I can possibly tolerate (those of you new to the Buffy comics: yes you heard right, Spike has a friggin’ space ship!!!)
I honestly just can’t be bothered anymore. Season 8 had its truly awful and ridiculous moments, but at least it had the mystery of Twilight’s identity and a promising start to keep me buying… but this is just too much. I would have stopped reading at the end of season 8 if it hadn’t been for people telling me how much promise s9 vol 1 showed; one volume in which Buffy actually resembles a vampire slayer before we’re right back to the robot/alien/mind swap sci-fi comedy crap that Joss seems determined to cram down our throats.
I can hardly even convince myself that I’m reading Buffy anymore, let alone a canon continuation. Therefore, I will not be buying Volume 3. Instead I will put on a DVD, because I’m in dire need of reminding myself why I loved this series after reading this.
Many attempts have been made at making some kind of adaptation on the book and movie Witches of Eastwick about three women who’s combined wish brings the devil Darryl Van Horne to their town and gives them the gift of witchcraft. This adaptation, starring Rebecca Romijn is the only one that actually got commissioned. The show was a fun blend of drama and comedy similar to that of shows like Desperate Housewives. It had a strong cast including the now Glee star Darren Criss and the three leads had great chemistry. Alas, the show was cancelled after 13 episodes. Response to the show had been positive; leading many fans to blame the network for how the show was treated.
4) Tru Calling
Let me start this by saying; Eliza Dushku can hold her own series, no problem! Unfortunately, judging by this and Dollhouse, US networks seem determined for her not to. Tru Calling was a show I found fascinating and addictive. It followed the life of Tru Davies, who works at a city morgue. Whenever Tru is near a dead body, the body’s eyes will often jolt open and they will ask her for help. Tru then found herself reliving the victim’s last day of life and is given the task of trying to keep them from dying. This series was cut off when it was getting particularly good; when Tru is forced to contend with Jack Harper, someone who shares Tru’s gift, but believes that fate/death should get its victims and seeks to stop Tru at all costs. Tru Calling was cancelled because the network believed other shows would do better (all those shows ended up cancelled by the way… I know right, shock!) and as a result, the series ended with too many loose ends to count.
Steven Spielberg wanted to do a show about the makings of a Broadway musical and the lives of the people involved. Smash was created, about a writing team Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom who set out to make a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. This series had a lot going for it: a great cast that included the likes of Debra Messing, Angelica Huston, Jennifer Hudson, Megan Hilty and Uma Thurman. It had outstanding singers and very memorable original music. Smash ran for two full seasons, giving it the best run of the shows on this list; but NBC clearly didn’t know what they had with this show! Unfortunately, I imagine Smash’s downfall was due to its price: with well known actors, great song writers and fantastic sets… why would NBC pay for all that when they can get their ratings with the latest cheap reality show?
Ringer was, in my opinion, a truly great example of how to do a great mystery and keep it moving forward without revealing too much. There are many shows that have attempted to do this since, but none of them have been as addictive as Ringer was and none of them have had the fascinatingly insane premise that Ringer had! Sarah Michelle Gellar plays identical twins in this series: one a recovering drug addict about to testify against her employer for murder named Bridget, the other a rich and successful socialite named Siobhan. Upon the supposed accidental death of Siobhan, Bridget essentially takes Siobhan’s life and lives it for herself. However there is much more to Siobhan than Bridget realised and things become more and more clear as she lives her sister’s life. Ringer ran for one season and left fans never knowing what would become of its stellar cast of characters.
Firefly was set to be THE sci-fi series of this generation. Created by Joss Whedon and starring a great cast led by the charismatic Nathan Fillion, Firefly was a great series concept with a huge amount of potential. The cancellation of Firefly has become somewhat of a punchline in science fiction circles and it has never really been forgotten even slightly, but even so, Firefly was never brought back. Despite acquiring cult status and winning a decent list of awards, Firefly was cancelled after a painfully short run of 14 episodes. The series was however followed up by the movie “Serenity” and has since been adapted into both comic books and games. Most fans blame the networks treatment of Firefly for its cancellation. Fox showed the episodes out of order and many fans consider Fox to have sabotaged the series in favour of lower budget productions.
I will get back to reviews soon, I promise. Right now I felt the urge to do a list of my top 3 worst series endings. These aren’t shows that I dislike, in face to the contrary, a lot of these are shows I loved… but sometimes a show can be great for years and then completely stink wrapping it up. Here’s my list:
3) Medium: Me Without You
Medium ran for seven seasons and for the most part successfully delivered a well written blend of supernatural and crime drama that had many people, including myself, making sure they tuned in to see Alison Dubois’ latest psychically charged mysteries. Unfortunately, when the show was given it’s final season, the network cut them down from 22 to 13 episodes at the last minute. That’s mainly why it’s not higher up the list, it was clear that this was a big part of what caused the finales main problem. That problem is: it was rushed, crazy rushed! Medium’s finale centers around Alison’s husband Joe dying in a plane crash; we skip several years into the future where Alison is a miserable old woman where she dies and meets him in the after life. Yep, that’s right… they both died in the space of one episode. Sure I get what they were trying to do, but my God it went by so fast it just left a bad taste in the mouth…and what about Alison’s daughters? Anyone care about their loss? Because the episode doesn’t even touch on it!
All in all, it was a disappointing. Medium could deliver the drama, the emotion, the tension… they more than proved that over the years. But sadly, the circumstances of this finale led to a very bitter ending.
2) Ghost Whisperer: The Children’s Parade
Ghost Whisperer season 5 was not meant to be its last, but I’m not surprised that it was. If it had been me, I would have killed it during the stupidity of season 4… but that’s just me. Many viewers were split when it came to the final two seasons, but one thing that is pretty much unanimously agreed upon is that the final episode was a big anti-climax. Okay so it wasn’t meant to be the series finale, but even by season finale standards it missed the mark by a long way. Season 5 spends its time setting up a war between dark spirits “The Shadows” and light spirits “The Shinies” and it all has something to do with Melinda’s son Aiden, who basically spends the whole season out-shining her with his psychic gifts. Sounds like a pretty decent set up right? Well unfortunately when the “war” (note the quotation marks) finally comes, it’s not so much a “war” as it is a lesson in positive thinking and believing in yourself. Yes I’m serious. It turns out The Shadows, despite being snarly and spooky, were actually complete weaklings and were driven away by The Shinies when they believed in themselves and started to glow. If you need a puke break before we get to number 1, feel free.
1) Merlin: The Diamond of the Day (part 2)
This is the first show in the list that has absolutely no excuse. The above two were somewhat victims of the networks, but Merlin, from the very beginning, had its story set out over five seasons… or that’s what they said anyway, it wouldn’t surprise me if they got cancelled and were bull-sh*tting to save face. Merlin’s finale centered around a war for Camelot that was occurring for like the third time in the series run. The main bad guy of the series, Morgana, got her troops together and waged war against Merlin, Arthur and Camelot. Now the fight scenes between the knights on either side are pretty good… this is number 1 because of Merlin’s last battle (oh and the flashforward, we’ll get to that). Morgana’s son Mordred is killed and she swears revenge. So this is it. 5 years and here it is. Merlin VS. Morgana. An epic battle between witch and warlock. Oh wait… why would we want that when 5 years of build up can be ended in 2 minutes? Morgana taunts Merlin for a bit and he stabs her. Yep. He stabs her. They don’t fight. He just stabs her… and she basically let him. When I first saw this, I was expecting one of those moments where the audience is tricked into thinking that is it, then two seconds later she jumps up angrier than ever… but no, that really was it and I, as well as many other fans, was astounded by how humongous a let down it was. To add insult to injury, we are “treated” to a flash-forward in modern day England of an old Merlin looking seriously stupid, awaiting Arthur’s return. This was without a doubt one of the most assy finales I’ve ever seen. Good riddance Merlin.
Taking a short break from reviews to do a rambling.
Recently I discovered that in the final episode of Buffy, Joss Whedon used Charmed as inspiration for one of lead witch Willow Rosenberg’s lines upon casting a powerful spell. Willow is overwhelmed by great power and gasps: “Oh. My. Goddess!”. Now, I never even thought of this connection, but “Oh My Goddess” is the name of a feature length Charmed episode that ended the show’s fifth season and Joss apparently liked the title so much he threw it in there. I personally think it was one of the dumbest titles they came up with, but hey ho, that’s not the issue of this post.
This discovery led me to do a few searches that had me on various message boards in which fans of both series were STILL, after all this time, arguing over which series is best, who ripped off who, this imaginary world aint big enough for the both of us kind of crap… and it got me thinking about the feud between the fans and why it was ever even an issue.
There is no doubt that Charmed was made in order to capitalise on the good days of supernatural drama that were upon us in the 90′s, but being inspired by something and ripping off something are two very different things, so let’s take a look at this in detail.
We have women fighting evil. Yep, both series have female leads, both of whom kick ass. I honestly think this is the main source of the tension. At first I thought it was the fact that both shows involved fighting demons and supernatural creatures in general, but then I realised it had to be more than that. I’ve never heard Supernatural called a Buffy rip off, despite having demons far closer to Buffy and fighting them with weapons very similar to what the Scoobies used. I’ve never heard people furiously up in arms about The Vampire Diaries, despite the fact that not only do they fight vampires and other forces, the story revolves around a lead girl torn between two vamps; one sanctimonious and prone to losing his marbles, the other a bad ass who tries to do good but makes no bones about his true nature…. gee, sound familiar? So surely it must be the girl power element that has fans feuding. I’m sure there are some people who’ve accused The Vamp Diaries and Supernatural of the same things, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as heated as the feud in question is.
Then we have witches. Charmed is a show about witches, so perhaps that’s where a similarity lies. Nope. Not even remotely. Honestly, out of all the supernatural shows that come to mind (barring Sabrina and Bewitched), Buffy and Charmed probably have the least similar witches of all the leading genre shows. I hate to bring it up again, but if you want a Buffy rip off of witchcraft, check out the Vampire Diaries; their lead witch gets more and more Dark Willow-ish with every appearance; complete with sticky out veins and blackening eyes whenever she does dark magic! Charmed’s magic is much more light-hearted generally and comes closer to the stuff of fairy tales than it does to “the dark arts”. Sure the sisters have touched the dark side of the force from time to time, namely Phoebe, but she was a horrible person by then anyway, dark magic or no dark magic. The similarities there are extremely few and far between.
Now the subject of luuuurve. <3 There is one season in particular where Charmed gives the impression of “We want to be Buffy” and that’s season 3. In season 3, Phoebe falls for a half demon named Cole and his love for her overpowers his desire to stab her while she sleeps, young love, yada yada yada. Now the whole good guy falling for a bad guy thing and the bad guy having to seek redemption is clearly Buffy/Angel inspired, so if that was the cause of the arguing, it’d make sense. Is it Kristian? Is it? I hear you ask. Nope. The fan arguing was at its most toxic pretty much as soon as the show started, so it certainly didn’t develop has a result of events that didn’t occur till season three. On top of this, as with all the other examples above, other shows have done blatant rehashes and haven’t caused the same stir. Once again I bring up the Vampire Diaries, I also bring up Twilight for that matter. Phoebe may have fallen for a demon, but she was never torn between him and another bad ass. There was no Buffy/Angel/Spike triangle recreated in Charmed, that never happened. There is however Elena/Damon/Stefan in the Vamp Diaries, there is Belle/Edward/Jacob in Twilight and there are the three main characters in Teen Wolf who’s names escape me entirely!
So what’s left? Vampires? Well neither were particularly similar. Vampires are hardly relevant really because they were never a big part of Charmed; I think there were two episodes in the whole series where vamps appeared and they were much closer to campy, Dracula style vamps than the bumpy headed nasties we had in Buffy.
So honestly, the girl power element is all I can think of that could really be the cause. Isn’t that sad? As I said, there are shows that involve fighting evil without only female leads and they don’t cause this level of arguing. There are also many shows that have the leads fighting evil using hand to hand combat and weapons like cross-bows and the like, much like how Buffy would often fight. Charmed had some physical fighting, but generally stuck to using magical powers. So what else could it be? Other than that if we’re really honest, even today, we still can’t have too many strong women kicking ass in hit TV shows and movies. Think of all the superhero movies we have with male leads. Now think of all the superhero movies we have with female leads. It’s not a shortage of female heroes, it’s a fear that using them often will ensure a flop. Why is that? We should ask ourselves this.
The truth is, there was never any reason that people couldn’t watch Charmed and Buffy as I did. They were very different shows, which I watched for different reasons. One used monsters as metaphors for life and dealt with real issues concerning growing up in the big bad world. While the other was an escape into a world where anything was possible, characters could transform in spectacular magical creatures and jump into different worlds; it also focused on family and the power that connections with loved ones can have.
Why isn’t TV big enough for the both of them?
Aaron Spelling, producer of Charlies Angels and Beverly Hills 90210, wanted to capitalise on the golden age of genre shows that we had in the 90′s with shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thus Charmed was born and kept on truckin’ for an impressive eight season run.
The series starts by introducing us to Prue Halliwell and Piper Halliwell, two sisters who live in a flashy Manor passed down through their family and willed to them by their Grams. Piper informs her older sister Prue that their youngest sis Phoebe is coming back from New York to live with them. Prue and Phoebe have had issues since Prue’s sleeze ball ex-fiance accused Phoebe of making a move on him. So we have our sister dynamic set out: Prue is the uptight oldest sister with a major stick up her ass, Piper is the neurotic middle sister who constantly finds herself mediating her siblings’ fights and Phoebe is the free spirited younger sister who has some issues with taking responsibility for… well, anything really.
Phoebe finds a Book of Shadows in the attic and upon reading the first spell, unlocks their destiny. The sisters are witches, descendants of a powerful with named Melinda Warren who vowed before she was executed that her family would go stronger and stronger until the strongest witches the world has ever known were born, The Charmed Ones. Prue, Piper and Phoebe are those witches.
Let me just give you a little summary of how the witchcraft works. Each sister has her own special power: Prue is telekinetic, a power which is triggered when she’s angry (take cover everyone). Piper can temporarily stop time whenever she panics. Phoebe has visions of the future and past when she touches relevant objects/people. On top of this, each sister can cast spells and make potions. Their biggest power however, lies in The Power of Three, a force which can only be summoned when all three witches are together and is used to destroy the most powerful evils.
That brings me to the evils. The main villains on Charmed are demons and warlocks; there are other magical creatures introduced, but those are the main two. Demons are monsters risen from the Underworld. While warlocks are evil witches who tend to steal the powers of good witches (by killing them obviously). Which reminds me, just a little note: witch and warlock are differentiated by morality, not gender in Charmed- Witches = good, warlocks = evil. Men and women can be either. Got it? Good. Oh and magic can’t be used for personal gain without consequences…except for when it is later on, but shush Kristian, this is season one.
Season One is pretty episodic, however there are some arcs that run through it. The first big bads we have are Rex and Hannah. Rex is Prue’s boss at the auction house she works at and Hannah is his lover/assistant. They’re both warlocks and manage to blackmail the sisters into giving up their powers… more on how they get out that later. The main purpose of Rex and Hannah is to imply that their is a greater evil behind the evil… although I’m not convinced the writers knew exactly what that evil was yet; but there are some blatant Satanic implications.
Character arcs this season are kind of thin generally. This is mainly because as with many series that take an episodic structure for their first season, issues are often raised and resolved in the same episode, then usually forgotten about right after. Prue’s main story this season is that of her romance with Andy, an old friend and homicide detective who slowly but surely starts to become suspicious about the sisters until he eventually catches them and they are forced to explain. Andy has little development or highlights really other than being Prue’s boyfriend, unless you count his death (ooops spoiler). Really though, that is about it. Prue’s other development points this season are repairing her relationship with Phoebe and generally becoming less of an uptight cow and a bit more approachable… although she’s still a scary bitch. Fans tend to fall into one of two categories when thinking about Prue: 1) Aww, Prue’s such a bitch, God lover her! 2) Aww, Prue’s such a bitch, God please kill her! (all in good time my friends). But seriously, Shannen Doherty does a good job as Prue and she does develop considerably from the first episode
Piper is terribly underused this season. With a couple of exceptions, her stories are usually side plots involving the restaurant she works at; stories that usually go nowhere. It seems clear that Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano were pushed forward as the stars of the show and that Holly Marie Combs was only focused on so much later on due to fan response. The one real arc she has this season is her love interest, Leo. Leo is introduced as a handy man who never seems to leave. This is because he is in fact a Whitelighter (basically a guardian angel for witches). He can orb (teleport) and heal people…he also has a ton of useless powers we only see once. It’s a while before they find this out, but when they do it is revealed that a Whitelighter isn’t allowed to be with a charge, so Leo departs from Piper and that’s how it is left until next season.
Finally we have Phoebe. Phoebe is a character you really route for in the early seasons (believe me, that’ll change, just wait till I get to season 4 onward). Phoebe is definitely the most into the witchcraft and is bitter that she didn’t get a flashy power she could show off like her sisters. Phoebe will often throw herself into the path of danger to protect an innocent or to do something good; her job will also often be to convince her sisters that she is doing the right thing and getting them on board. Prue gives Phoebe a very hard time, because like I said: Prue. Stick. Ass. I don’t always take Phoebe’s side though, as there are moments when the self centred hag we have later on comes out a little even in the early episodes… for example one episode “The Power of Two” where Phoebe freaks out at Prue for thinking she should do chores around the house, just because she lives there unemployed while her sisters work to keep the very expensive Manor… and that is unreasonable HOW?
There are some great stand alone episodes. “That 70′s Episode” where the sisters travel to the past and see their mum and Grams is one of the strongest. “Is There a Woogy in the House” is also a good one and is one of the few season one episodes that actually has significance throughout most of the series.
The finale centres around a time loop created by a demon played by David Carradine and a demon he has doing his dirty work. Other than having a death in it, there’s not really anything about this episode that screams “finale”. The events lead to Andy being killed trying to protect Prue. Naturally, Prue is devastated by this and it ties into the events next season. The season ends with Piper quitting her job at the restaurant, Prue mourning her loss and the prospect of Phoebe still being likable for like 2 and a half more seasons.
Charmed is often given the label “a guilty pleasure”. It’s not incredibly deep or anything, it’s cheesy, generally light hearted fun. I think probably one of the main reasons that season one isn’t quite as popular as some of the others is because a lot of the time they seemed like they were trying to take themselves too seriously; whereas in later seasons they embrace the campy, fun stuff more and find a decent balance between that and the darker tones. That’s not to say that there weren’t really good darker, more serious stories and it’s also not to say that Charmed didn’t take it too far down the fluffy, light route at times… but more times than not, they’d get a decent balance.
Stay tuned for season 2… but not before Buffy season 3.