Critics Aren’t Exactly ‘Charmed’ At The New Reboot Of The Beloved Series

Slowly but surely, every TV show you loved in the ’90s and ’00s is getting revived and rebooted, and the latest one of these is a new version of Charmed, which debuts tomorrow on US network The CW.

The reboot has been controversial from the very start, thanks to the fact that it introduces a brand new trio of witches, and completely jettisons the original cast, who are apparently not involved in any way.

Original Charmed star Holly Marie Combs Tweeted her disapproval, and others quickly joined in, putting the new cast members on the defensive in an attempt to respond to the brewing backlash.

The new version of the show, said to be a more ‘woke’ take on the story, stars Melonie DiazSarah Jeffery and Madeline Mantock as the witch sisters MelMaggie and Macy Vera.

So how does this one stack up to the original? The first episode of the rebooted series has aired for critics in the US, and it would be fair to say that they are not exactly, erm, charmed just yet.

Angelica Jade Bastién of Vulture called the show “A Hollow Celebration of Sisterhood and Female Power”, criticising the CGI monsters and the setting of a “generic” fictional college town.

The most glaring issue, she said, is with the casting:

“The actresses at the center of the series lack the chemistry necessary for their bond to have gravitas, and the writing has a clumsy, faux-feminist political bent that undercuts the show’s desire to provide an empowering message about female power.”

Mark Perigard of the Boston Herald was equally unimpressed, calling the reboot “cursed” and criticising it for its low-budget look and a perceived lack of subtlety in some of its key themes.

Kelly Lawler of USA Today was fairly harsh in her assessment, labelling the new show a “bastardisation” of the original, and picking on the many elements lifted from other fantasy sources:

“One of the series’ real weaknesses is the mishmash of new mythology. Sure, the sisters are still the Charmed Ones and share powers with the original’s Halliwell sisters, but it’s easy to see that aspects of the new series have been lifted straight out of other fantasy shows.  A frosted demon looks like he’s right out of Game of Thrones. The sisters’ British mentor and the small-town setting, the fictional Hilltown, are not unlike “watcher” Giles  and the hamlet of Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Not all the reviews have been negative so far. In a positive write-up for Entertainment Weekly,
 Kristen Baldwin said that “the power of three still packs an entertaining jolt.”
Libby Torres of The Daily Beast praised the show for its “decidedly political, pro-women bent” and its ripped-from-the-headlines takes on rape culture and Time’s Up.
“The Charmed reboot is indeed funny and fierce, with a political edge that places the show firmly in 2018,” she wrote, adding “you don’t have to be a witch to identify with the Vera sisters.”
The first episode of the rebooted Charmed is set to air locally on Eleven on Tuesday October 16, so you can check it out there and decide for yourself.