Monday, October 15, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 1 "Pilot"

Last night the new Charmed appeared on our screens here in America (not sure when you are getting it overseas) and I thought it might be nice to talk about it.  So let's get to it!

Fair Warning 1:  This review/overview will contain some spoilers.  If you don't want to be spoiled, avoid this post.
Fair Warning 2:  If you thought Supergirl wore their politics on their sleeve...buckle up buttercup because Charmed wears their politics like a battle armor.
Fair Warning 3: I loved Charmed (1998). It is one of my favorite all-time shows and I will fight anyone in my claim it was better than Buffy.  So that is the point of view I come from.  So any show named Charmed has to fight that uphill battle for me.

The new Charmed takes place in Hilltowne (aka "Helltown") a college town in Michigan.  Ok, I like the move to the Mid-west already.  Also setting it in a college town gives them access to a wide variety of plots.  Already all the women of the new Charmed are associated with the College.

The show begins with sisters Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie Vera (Sarah Jeffery) living with their mother Marisol (Valerie Cruz).  Now Mel and Maggie look and act every bit like sisters, so kudos on the casting there.  Marisol is a professor of Women's Studies at Hilltowne College and currently leading the charge in a sexual harassment case against another professor.

With the girls out, Marisol begins to feel a strange presence and goes to her attic.  Here she begins casting a spell, but is attacked by crows/ravens.   Both girls get texts to come home right away.  When they get there they discover their mother has fallen from their attic to them patio beneath and is dead.

Three months later the girls are still no-where closer to learning about their mother's death.  Mel is angry all the time and Maggie just wants to be a college freshman and join the local sorority.

We are introduced next to Macy Vaughan, Ph.D. She is new to Hilltowne having received a grant and a job offer to work in Hilltowne College's lab.  She walks by the Vera Manor and gets a weird feeling.  Back in her lab she looks up the house and reads about Marisol's recent death.  She visits the sisters that night and shows them an old photograph of Marisol in front of the manor hold a baby. The baby is Macy.   Once the girls are in the same house their powers begin to awaken.

What we get next is almost a Cliffe Notes version of the Charmed universe.  We meet Harry their Whitelighter who is more Giles than Leo.  We encounter a demon dog (like it) and a possessed human with a Supernatural like demon (also a nice touch).  The big demon, who I supposed should be obvious, but I'll still keep quiet on, was very cool looking in a White-Walker sort of way.
Loved the Power of Three spell in the end to defeat him (need to go back a try to translate more of their pseudo-Latin later).

The episode ends with the girls all living under the same roof and getting along (I do hope there is a little more tension in the future) and a warning on their Ouija board not to trust Harry.

OK a lot to go over here.

The Vera Book of Shadows looks similar to the Halliwell book for the few seconds we see it.  What we do see is a picture of Melinda Warren in the first few pages.


The picture is of the same Melinda Warren of the Original Series.


So are the Vera witches of the same Warren bloodline as the Halliwell witches?  Could be.  I think it is likely.  There are anywhere from 11 to 15 generations of witches since Melinda (oh please let it be 13!).

There are a couple of other lines talking about why these witches are now the Charmed Ones.
The first had me dying, basically, Trump being president is a sign of the Apocalypse! Another sign though has me both concerned and intrigued.

The other sign is the death of many powerful witches.  Could the Halliwells all be dead?  I would hate to think so and the fans will revolt. BUT...think of the storytelling opportunities here. Think about it. What can be killing the most powerful witches in the world? (The Winchesters?) I have been considering something similar in my War of the Witch Queens.

The prophecy ends with the return of The Source of All Evil.  Now Charmed fans know, the Source isn't just a Big Bad. He is the Biggest Big Bad there is or has ever been. He killed Prue! He was only stopped by the Charmed ones, one of his chief lieutenants and his own demonic oracle.  Yeah, he is bad news.

So what if this is what is going on here?  The Halliwells, or at least most of the most powerful good witches are all dead and now the Vera line must take up the battle?  Maybe the Warren line of witches split into what would become the Halliwell lines and the Vera lines of witches?  They are cousins in a matter of speaking but have forgotten about each other.  Maybe twin witches born to Prudence Warren.  One set up the Halliwell line and the other the Vera line.  I can see this.

I also would like to point out that the fictional witches of the new Charmed would feel like good allies to the real actors of the old Charmed.  I think Mel has quoted Allysa Milano verbatim!  Well maybe not, but the feeling is there.

The Verdict?

How do I feel about the new Charmed?

Well for starters I like it.  I want to know more about what is going on in this world. Is this the same as the Halliwell's world? If so are they still in it?  What is the new Source going to be like? What other NEW things will we see?

For the sisters.  Right now Macy is my favorite.  I am not just saying that because she has a Ph.D. but because I think she a lot of potential.  I could see an episode (and maybe this is because I am a geek) of Macy working on something in her lab and "accidentally" using her powers to move an experiment along and suddenly she is in the spotlight and can't replicate the effects.  Now this one would have to be done with a humorous side to it.

All three lead actors are very good.  I need to see more of them to form a better opinion, but so far I like all three and think they will grow into their roles nicely.

Harry is interesting, but I am not 100% sold on him yet.  Leo I liked right away. Maybe that is the point. Harry is not Leo.  Also.  He is a Whitelighter, but where are his Orbs?  Ah well.  Minor thing really.

I am also not blind to the problems.  Look I LOVE the politics they have shown so far and if the snark like this keeps up then I am here every week!  But I see that it can also be a turn-off for some.

Also, this show hits on all the strengths that made the first Charmed so great.  All that is except for one.  The Original Charmed knew when to take themselves serious and more important they new when not too.   This show needs to make sure it does the same.

Looking back over the "Pilot" and comparing it to "Something Wicca This Way Comes" I see good and bad in both.  SWTWC was so raw and the actors were still grabbing on to their parts.  But all three were also very seasoned actors (hell, even in her early 20s Allyssa Milano has seen more work than most of her peers combined) so they had an edge.  The script to SWTWC was weaker but had elements that pulled you right in.  The Pilot for Charmed (2018)  knows more about their world, in large part due to the groundwork laid by SWTWC and the next 177 episodes, but also has the advantage of a more stable future than Charmed (1998) did its first season.

The bottom line for me is this: Encounter at Far Point.  You can't judge a show by its first episode.  Encounter at Far Point for Star Trek the Next Generation was not a good episode.  In fact, much of the first season was not good.  BUT the groundwork for later, much much better episodes was established here.  You can't get a "Best of Both Worlds", "Darmok" unless you wade through "Encounter at Far Point".

I want to see the girls struggle as sisters, as witches, and as college people. But I also want to see them come together.  Just like Marisol says "You're better together. Your differences are your strengths and nothing is stronger than your sisterhood."  Well said mom.

Also. For the love of broomsticks and pointy hats can we please get more Valerie Cruz on the show? Even as a ghost?

Next week does look fun.


Did you watch? What do you think?

3 comments:

Clarissa Bown said...

IO hve watched the first episode. I live in the UK but watched it shhh, no telling. I am still unsure of the show it has a very strong cornorstone but they are pushing the feminimity and feminine politics too much. I am studying Sel identity for English in university and it is just being pushed that little bit over the edge, hopefully that will quietened down a little but itws not making it believeable for me atm.

Timothy Brannan said...

I thought that many fans might feel that way. For me? I love it! But I know it is not for everyone. Still though, only first episode lots can happen in a season.

Fabio Milito Pagliara said...

Thanks for the reviews looking forward to seeing it...

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