Something Wiccan this way comes... again? Just in time for Halloween, rumours have spread across the internet of American channel CBS rebooting the hit 90’s series Charmed. Cue mass hysteria.
As a huge fan of the original series – I’m finishing off Season Two as I write this – I have watched and re-watched every single episode several times. Whilst I was slightly too young to catch the first few series when they first aired, I collected each series at Christmas and birthdays until I had the complete set. I lent the DVD’s to friends, read all of the accompanying books and even had a subscription to the Charmed magazine. The series about three sisters who happened to be witches completely captured my imagination and still does today.
Charmed not only entranced the generation who grew up watching it, but was a family show that all could enjoy. Therefore it would seem fairly safe to assume that a reboot of the original series would be an intensely popular idea, wouldn’t it? This, however, is not exactly the case. Fans and the cast of the original show have taken to social media sites to voice their opinions on the CBS project. Alyssa Milano – Phoebe, to the uninitiated – tweeted, ‘the thing about them doing a Charmed reboot is…it just...it feels like yesterday. It feels too close’, voicing the opinion of many fans that it is far too soon to reboot the show. Rose McGowan, who played Paige, tweeted, ‘they are really running out of ideas in Hollywood’, implying that you shouldn’t mess with a good thing – and I’m not so sure that she is wrong when I think of the number of sequels and remakes that haven’t come close to matching the originals.
However, this is not to say everyone is against a Charmed reboot. Fans have suggested everything from a spin off series following an adult Wyatt and Chris, to a series featuring the original cast. Milano herself has suggested a Charmed movie, with Shannen Doherty agreeing that she would be on board with a film project too, as ‘enough was left undone to address and make a good movie’. Personally, I think a film rather than a series is the best way to go, as after eight seasons of the original show, there isn’t anywhere for the show to go that would give enough material for a whole series. Making a one-off film however, would draw in all of the original fans and give them an opportunity to see all four sisters together finally. Although I felt the final episode brought the show to a close perfectly, I always wondered why Prue was not brought back with the rest of the characters, either as a Whitelighter or as a spirit. Perhaps the writers decided that bringing Prue back would demand more screen time than simply cramming it into the final episode – in which case, using this as a basis for a film would easily do justice to the material and allow fans to see how the relationship between Prue and Paige would have worked.
In all of this speculation, one thing becomes clear: none of the fans think the reboot would work if it did not in some way involve the original cast. The chemistry between Alyssa, Shannen and Holly is so tangible that when Prue died at the end of Season Three, the action on screen was that much more believable – to this day I cannot watch those episodes without finding myself in floods of tears. At first it was difficult to feel as attached to Paige as a character as I had been to Prue, but McGowan soon won me over. It is difficult to imagine a new cast having the same impact in the same roles.
When Holly Marie Combs broke her silence on the idea of the reboot, it was to make an excellent point. ‘Here’s the thing’, Combs said, ‘everything is a reboot. If you think otherwise you haven’t read enough Shakespeare yet. At least they had the decency to call it what it is, instead of ripping it off and then pretending not to be ripping it off. Reserve judgement. Watch it. Or don’t. Then if you don’t have anything nice to say...come sit by me’. Reminding fans to reserve judgement before slamming a reboot of the show with a new cast was a wise move, as loyal fans of any show are always quick to condemn any project that might change or alter the original. Although as Combs says, how do we know we won’t enjoy a show until we have seen it?
Whilst I and the majority of the fans would like to see either a film or a spin off series, I think it is most likely that CBS will create a total remake of Charmed, with a new cast, for a new generation, possibly including cameos from the original cast. Whatever the project ends up involving, however, I will certainly watch it, remake or not, as whilst nothing will ever take the place of the original series, there might be room in the hearts of the fans for a new show about sisterhood and witchcraft.