Since it was announced last January, The CW's Charmed reboot has been one of the more controversial shows coming to fall TV. The new series — based on the supernatural drama of the same name that aired on The WB between 1998 and 2006 — will thrust the Charmed Ones back in the limelight to battle demons and such with powers and witchcraft... It will just do so with an entirely new cast. With the highly-anticipated series premiere on the horizon (Oct. 14 to be exact), we thought we'd offer up this mini guide to get you up to speed on the reboot, the cast, the premise, and, of course, all the controversies surrounding the series. Let's dive in!
Why is the Charmed reboot so controversial in the first place?
I'll keep it simple: No original cast members are involved.
When was the Charmed reboot announced?
A Charmed reboot was originally in the works at CBS in 2013. It was described by the Hollywood Reporter as "a reimagining of the original series that centered around four sisters who discover their destiny — to battle against the forces of evil using their witchcraft." Ultimately, CBS decided not to go ahead with it.
In January 2017 another Charmed reboot was announced by The CW, but back then the show had a whole different vibe to it, a "major twist" if you will. This reboot was originally conceptualized as a prequel series set in New England in the 1970s. The witches weren't even sisters (?!), which made the reboot feel like it wasn't even inspired by the original show. Power of Three sisters, or bust, am I right?
Is that still what the Charmed reboot is about?
Nope. Thankfully, The CW has decided to roll with a vastly different approach to the premise. Charmed will no longer be set in the 1970s. Instead, it will be a "fierce, funny, feminist reboot" set in modern college town, and focus on three Latina sisters who discover they're the powerful Charmed Ones after their mother dies. "Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done," reads the network's official description.
Who will play the Charmed Ones?
Move over Halliwell sisters... The Vera sisters are Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery), and their older half-sister Macy (Madeleine Mantock). Mel's power is time-freezing, Maggie's is telepathy, and Macy's is telekinesis.
When will the reboot premiere?
Mark your calendars for Oct. 14, 2018 at 9/8c.
Is the original cast in it?
No! As I said, that's why this reboot has enraged and made skeptics out of so many fans of the original series. Rose McGowan, who joined the series in Season 4 as the youngest half-sister, won't even appear in the reboot. Talk about a major blow.
So, how does the original cast feel about the reboot?
All sorts of ways, but not positive. In general, they see it more as an insult to the original series. Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, and Shannen Doherty all expressed a bit of sadness when the reboot was announced last year:
However, Holly Marie Combs, who played Piper Halliwell, has been the most critical of the reboot and helped to fuel fan backlash against the new series on social media.
Since news of the reboot was announced last January, she's also gotten into Twitter spats with Brad Silberling, an executive producer and director of the reboot, after he said financial reasons are what prevented them from bringing back the original cast. In May, Yahoo published a story that Combs believed misrepresented a quote she made to the Huffington Post after the first trailer for the series dropped.
Yeah, so don't hold your breath for an original cast cameo.
In August, Alyssa Milano discussed the reboot again in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, but this time expressed disappointment that the original cast wasn't even given an opportunity to be part of it:
"I wish that they would have come to us and we would have been involved since the beginning," she said. "But having said that, I do hope that it reaches the newer generation and impacts that generation the way ours was able to do for its generation."
What does the cast of the reboot think of all this backlash? That's gotta suck for them?
All three lead actresses have remained rather mum on the matter, which is probably in the best interest of the reboot. However, actress Sarah Jeffery did "go here" in a tweet shortly after news of her involvement in the project broke, and promised the show would have a "positive effect on women":
In July, the cast and crew also kept things pretty positive at their Charmed panel at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego, and focused on how the reboot does pay tribute to the original series:
"The original was so much about female empowerment and sisterhood and strong women taking over the world," said executive producer and show creator Jennie Snyder Urman, "and I feel like that’s what we need right now. It felt like a good time to get back to that and show women kicking ass."
A few months later, at the Television Critics Association press tour, the Charmed cast and crew were asked straight-up how they felt about all of Holly Marie Combs' objections to the series. (Brace yourselves). From EW:
"Of course, you can’t help but feel disappointed because I think the script is fantastic," said Madeleine Mantock. "I really hope maybe she’ll see it and like it."
"I think that there’s also a lot of positive stuff coming out, too, and I think that we've collectively made the decision to focus on that," said Melonie Diaz.
Okay, enough of this drama. Can I see a preview of the Charmed reboot?
Yup, The CW released the official first-look trailer back in May, which naturally did not go over well with fans. Check it out below.
The CW has also slowly been releasing promos leading up to the Oct. 14 premiere. Here's one called "Bond," which gives us more of a peek at the sisters' witch powers. It's short, but also helps convey the tone the show is going for.
Have any Zimbio editors screened the pilot?
Yup! The pilot debuted at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego. Let's just say, we weren't too impressed, but we're judging one episode and one episode alone... The series still has plenty of opportunities to change our minds.
Should I give the Charmed reboot a chance?
Absolutely. You know the phrase, don't judge a book by its cover? Yeah. Reboots are soooo annoying these days (get new ideas, Hollywood!), but let's not go overboard with our haterade just yet. As a huge fan of the original series, I'm still interested in seeing what this reboot has to offer — and that certainly means going in with an open mind. And just remember, it's The CW. I thought Riverdale looked cheesy AF and now I'm a #1 fan. But I get it, no original cast, no original fans... Time will tell if it remains that way.
'Charmed' premieres Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9/8c. Will you be watching?