In 1998, “Charmed” premiered on the WB network featuring three gorgeous, talented actresses that knew how to bring the perfect blend of badass and femininity to their roles as adult sisters who discover they are witches. It was the right show for the right time. Wicca and earth religions were enjoying a renaissance, and every bookstore was filled with new age books targeted to teens and young adults.
Now a remake of Charmed is in the works, and the internet is abuzz with rumors of how the show will play out and if any of the original cast will have a hand in production. So far the enthusiasm from the former stars seems lukewarm at best. Perhaps they know what the hopeful producers don’t–that oftentimes a remake is a chancy proposition and sometimes it’s just a terrible idea.
Here are seven reasons why a Charmed remake will never live up to the original series.
1. San Francisco Has Changed (a lot):
In the nineties, it was conceivable that three sisters who inherited a large, historic manor in the City by the Bay could keep the house running. Pru and Piper had decent jobs although Phoebe was a part-time student and all around flaky young twenty-something with a penchant for trouble. Fair enough they didn’t have a mortgage so perhaps it was plausible that they could pool their salaries and afford to meet the tax bill. The sisters were not allowed to use their powers for personal gain, so they couldn’t charm the power company, so bills needed to be paid and somehow the sisters managed.
In present day San Francisco 2.0, three sisters who had a tenuous at best relationship would have probably put Grannie’s house on the market so they could cash in and go their separate ways. Conceivably, The Book Of Shadows would go for a few bucks at the yard sale. No one would buy that the sisters could dress like supermodels and keep that house heated on their own in that exclusive neighborhood post-recession.
2. Shannen Doherty
Let’s face it, Shannen Doherty made that show, which was made evident when the show jumped the shark with her departure. Rose McGowen tried her best, but it just wasn’t the same. Although there were rumors of disharmony among the original cast, on screen Shannen, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano were magic. It was lightening in a bottle and fans were hanging in there but Charmed got less charming toward the end. Right now, Ms. Doherty is engaged in the fight of her life against cancer–it’s best not to even try to fill her designer shoes when the original actress is so amazing!
3. The Wicca Train Has Left the Station
Although still embraced by serious practitioners, the Wicca fad is over. Authors like Silver Ravenwolf and others who marketed their “be a witch” how-to manuals have gone the way of the pump up sneaker.
4. The Formula Worked (Once)
Viewers knew that the show would start out with The Smith’s iconic “How Soon is Now” theme song and cut to a panorama of San Francisco. The story would usually begin with the ladies sitting around in the kitchen in their strappy tank pajamas. Something bizarre would happen, and then there would be lots of chasing around ending with the “showdown” at the manor. Even Piper’s character remarked that that’s how it’s “supposed to go” one time when they were surprised by a supernatural villain. Perhaps the outstanding performances of the lead characters let us leave our cynicism at the door, but now tweens would be tweeting, “What, again!”
5. It’s Post 9-11
When the show premiered, the “big bad” could be paranormal evildoers who could be stopped by three hot girls reciting a spell. Now, we know better. Evil took our country by surprise and continues to do so, proving that the “boogeyman” is all too real.
6. Not Enough Blatant Sex
Yes, the sisters got up to stuff with guys, but on “Charmed” it was never graphic. The girls did not ‘sleep around” for the most part and their assignations were heavy on the romance and light on the “hook up”. Even Phoebe’s sexual relationship with her demon lover was rather vanilla by today’s standards. Unless they added more graphic elements to the show, the 21st-century audience would be bored with all of the petulant soda stirring and looks across the room. The original script doesn’t have the booty calls to keep young viewers interested.
7. The Reruns Are Still Great
Dedicated fans of the show are still binge watching the original! As much as we loved to snark back in the day about Shannen Doherty’s reputation as a prima donna, now we have all fallen in love with her and the rest of the cast all over again. Why spoil it with a remake?