Buffy has a lot to answer for. When Ms. Summers hit our screens back in 1997 after the movie failure, she brought with her witty, well written scripts, a cast of likeable side kicks and characters, both good and evil and a supernatural villain of the week (well, mostly). So it was inevitable that some TV Exec would think that they could and should make a rival, similar kind of show and what better than a trio of 3, non-ugly witches?
So, Prue (Doherty), Piper (Combs) and Phoebe (Milano) are the gifted, oops I mean Charmed, ones whom have special powers which are, telekinesis, the ability to freeze time and precognition respectively. Each week, they take on a different villain whom is hell bent on either destroying them, someone close or they want their evil hands (or claws) on the Book Of Shadows. This book is their spell book, which has been handed down to them and is, in all reality, a major plot device for various stories. All the time they are battling evil (Hey, just like Buffy), they have their everyday lives to contend with, from jobs to dating and PMS (Hey, just like Buffy). Having obvious comparisons to Buffy, most of the monsters are demons and warlocks, as opposed to demons and vampires, although I wouldn't be shocked if a vampire cropped up in a future episode.OK, so this show was created on the cusp of Buffy-mania, but without Joss Whedon on board, the scripts aren't really as sharp as they could be, but that's not saying it is bad, because it is indeed very watchable. The writers have learnt their lesson from season 1 and it isn't a vehicle for Doherty any longer, the emphasis has shifted on to far more equal ground. The strength of this program, other than eye candy reasons, is that it's technically far more accessible than Buffy, as there is no season long story arc here to deal with. Buffy you could still watch as a single episode, but if you watch it out of sequence or just the occasional episode, certain plot devices would be lost and potentially confusing. Here, it really isn't a problem - each story is self contained and the only arguable arc is a B-plot involving relationships, which ultimately isn't important over all. Performances, well Doherty isn't annoying ala Brenda which is a positive thing, Coombs is nicely subdued and sensible giving a nice grounded performance, mostly during the emotional/romantic scenes, but Milano is more fun to watch, ignoring the fact she's the most pretty, she's the more kooky of the threesome and certainly the most entertaining. There really isn't anything one can say that is terrible about the show, other than the fact it has no true story arc and inevitably, comparisons to similar shows are inevitable. But for the modest price, especially compared to the UK market, this is solid fun and, while some scenes aren't necessarily suitable for family viewing (unless you don't mind 6 year olds asking “What's a tampon?”), there's much enjoyment to be had here.Episodes
Disk 1 - Witch Trial - Morality Bites - The Painted World - The Devil's Music
Disk 2 - She's A Man, Baby, A Man! - That Old Black Magic - They're Everywhere - P3 H20
Disk 3 - Ms. Hellfire - Heartbreak City - Reckless Abandon - Awakened
Disk 4 - Animal Pragmatism - Pardon My Past - Give Me A Sign - Murphy's Luck
Disk 5 - How To Make A Quilt Out Of Americans - Chick Flick - Ex Libris - Astral Monkey
Disk 6 - Apocalypse Not - Be Careful What You Witch For