This reboot of the supernatural-themed favorite is dark and violent.
Mel and Maggie Vera are sisters who couldn’t be more different. Mel is a lesbian graduate student in womyn’s studies, with a seemingly perpetual rage at males and school administration alike, while Maggie is a gentle, sensitive, fun-loving freshman who enjoys dating and is looking forward to pledging a sorority. But soon, both sisters reel under a triple shock: their beloved mother dies in a mysterious accident; a serious, science-minded young woman, Macy, arrives at their house, revealing that she is also their sister, though one their mother never told Mel and Maggie about; and Harry, the new womyn’s studies professor Mel hates, turns out to be a ghostly “spirit mentor” who reveals to all three sisters that they are witches. Each sister is possessed of a specific supernatural power; and together, using their mother’s spellbook, the three possess vast spell-casting abilities. It falls to the three sisters to learn to use their powers, to find their mother’s killer, and protect all of humanity from supernatural menaces.
A reboot of the fondly-remembered series which ran on CW’s predecessor, the WB network, from 1998-2006, Charmed mixes the original show’s themes of magic and sisterhood with a radical feminism appropriate for the era of the #metoo movement. (In the first episode, campus “rape culture” is discussed, a professor states that Mel “makes me feel like my penis has been torn from my body” – a sentiment in which Mel delights – and every male save Harry is revealed to be either a sexual harasser, a creepy stalker, or a literal demon.)
The program offers a mix of sometimes grotesque supernatural action-adventure, feminist rhetoric, and soapy character drama between Macy, Maggie, and Mel. In terms of content, the sisters’ sexual activity is only hinted at, and profanity in the first episode was relatively mild; but there is a fair amount of violence, some of it supernatural and quite scary, which might be of concern to parents. The sisters’ mother is attacked by crows, then hurled to her death by a supernatural force; both a “devil dog” and a demonically-possessed man attack Maggie; and a college professor turns into a monster before the sisters’ eyes, and hurls magical “daggers” at them, impaling a bystander.
Younger adults, older fans of the original, and those who enjoy CW’s slate of supernatural-themed programming may be Charmed by this reboot, but parents of young children should be cautious given its dark, scary violence.
Charmed premieres Sunday, October 14 on the CW.