Charmed: A Look Back


Spelling Television / Northshore Productions / Paramount Pictures / Viacom Productions

Melodie Slaughter, Staff Writer

As we approach the Halloween season, I encourage you to take a look at the remake of one of my personal favorite television shows growing up, Charmed. 20 years ago, the American fantasy drama television show Charmed aired. In a world where witches and angels come together to defeat a great evil by kicking some demonic hiney, three sisters, Prudence, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell become the “charmed ones,”.

In the first episode of the original series, the youngest sister, Phoebe, comes home from New York one night in the midst of a storm, months after the death of Grams, their grandmother who raised them after the death of their mom. Upon her arrival, she plays with the sisters’ Spirit Board while sitting and chatting with the middle child, Piper. When the piece begins to move on it’s own, Phoebe warns both sisters. They however don’t believe her, remarking that Phoebe, “always pushed the piece when they were little.” Disbelieving and oldest sister, Prue, who is still upset with Phoebe for wanting to sell the house that’s been lived in by the Halliwell family for generations, and who believes that Phoebe was involved in an affair with her ex-boyfriend, Roger, walks away, refusing to acknowledge that Phoebe is right. Piper, however, catches the piece moving on its own when Phoebe warns her just in time. Complete in communicating the desired message to the sisters, the spirit board has now spelled out the word “ATTIC”. Piper, now shocked, wants to leave the Halliwell house, especially because of the fact that during the past months, neither she nor the oldest sister were able to open the attic door. While Prudence desires to call a mechanic, ever-courageous Phoebe goes to get to the bottom of this matter that very instant. On her first try, the attic-door’s knob doesn’t turn. But, as Phoebe turns to go back downstairs, the door opens anyway. As Phoebe goes inside, the moonlight shines on a trunk which Phoebe opens, only to find the very, very important Book of Shadows. This book will become one of the sisters’ most important weapons in their battle against evil. Phoebe quickly reads (aloud) the incantation found on the first page of the book, which (***spoiler alert) unbinds the powers Grams tried to suppress when the sisters were children.

The power of three will set you free.”

— Penny Halliwell

The next day, Phoebe informs Piper that the girls are supposedly part of a long line of witches, dating all the way back to their ancestor, Melinda Warren, who was burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials. Before dying, however, Melinda warned that each generation of her descendants would receive her powers (of telekinesis, premonitions, and the power to freeze time) and become more powerful, until eventually and ultimately culminating into a generation of three sisters, which Phoebe correctly assumes to be them. Later at work, Piper stumbles upon her powers when she freezes time to add more of an ingredient before her culinary boss tastes and judges her work. Prue, unknowingly, causes the pen of her boss(and ex-boyfriend), Roger, to splatter and causes his tie to tighten to the point of choking him, using her telekinesis powers. Whenever she does this, nonetheless, she remains unaware to what she is doing. Phoebe discovers her talent for premonitions as she rides her bike through the neighborhood. Meanwhile, a witch-killing demon is on the loose, looking to kill witches to steal their powers.

When Phoebe and Prue meet up to discuss their powers, Prue finally becomes aware of her ability to move things with her mind. Phoebe warns that now that the sisters are aware of their powers, demons will now be able to come after them; their ignorance used to be their blanket of protection. Now worried and stressed, Prue takes a trip to the drug store (with Phoebe in-tow) to cure her oncoming headache. She unleashes part of her anger at Phoebe when she destroys and aisle’s worth of products.

While this occurs, Piper realizes that her longtime boyfriend is the witch-hunting warlock. She freezes time to get away, and safely makes it back to the house to warn her sisters. The sister-witches write and perform a spell to vanquish this demon. However, it doesn’t work, and the sisters are forced to use the spell written as an inscription on the back of their spirit board, “The power of three will set us free.” The sisters repetitively chant this until the warlock is vanquished.

A childhood favorite of mine, the Halliwells have been made to be women I looked up to. Strong and independent, they put their sister-bond before anything else, especially because their powers were reliant on this familial foundation. Reminded of how great this original was, I strongly implore you to watch the reboot. Will this remake be just as good as the original? Will we stay “charmed” by it? I guess we’ll just have to find out in the new version of Charmed.