Charmed is a cult classic, starting in the nineties over twenty years ago. With the new reboot of Charmed out in its first season, many are revisiting the original show. With fans flocking the instant it aired the show became a fun adventure about family and sisterhood, also dealing with serious issues, such as people passing away, grief, toxic relationships, and persecution.
Despite reviews saying the show was a pleasurable show for pre-teens, but not going to make anyone forget its competitors when it originally aired in 1998, the show was a huge surprise and goes down as a silver screen legend. Charmed had great success, winning multiple awards during its original run, such as ‘The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,’ ‘ASCAP Film and Television Music Award,’ ‘Cable Guide Award (UK), ‘EDGE Award,’ and a ‘Family Television Award.’
Whilst the show stands out for its feminist message, upbeat dialogue, and tragic plot, it isn’t without its pitfalls. From power choices, to storylines, to the romances of the show, there are many things that the series could have done differently. Certain characters fans wanted to go stuck around, love stories dragged needlessly and occasionally the characters took an unexpected and uncharacteristic turn. Charmed inspired people everywhere, breaking out of the television conventions of the time, and shaping many new shows that are airing today. But like all shows, it isn’t without its faults.
Let’s take a look at 25 Things Wrong With Charmed Fans Choose To Ignore.
Victor Bennett is the mortal ex-husband of Patty Halliwell and father to the original power of three (Prue, Piper, and Phoebe). He made his first appearance in the third episode of season one, played by Anthony Denison, where it is revealed he left because he didn’t want his daughters to grow up as witches. After reconciling their differences, he leaves without a proper goodbye and is not heard of until season three.
He re-appears as a new actor, James Read, and a more pro-active attitude in redeeming himself to his daughters. It’s a bit of a turn-around, sparking more involvement in their lives for the seasons to come.
The career choices for the girls were all different but still decidedly ‘feminine-typical.’ Piper wanted to be a chef, Prue worked at auction house before pursuing photography, Paige was a social worker turned magical teacher turned full-time whitelighter/witch, and Phoebe became a writer for the newspaper.
Although Phoebe did obtain a Psychology degree, she became a columnist through her witch life and returned to schooling. Phoebe is perhaps the exception to the rule. But, unlike the new incarnation of Charmed, none of them are in hard science, math or trade.
It seems the case in every show centered around a group of women they always have to be in a romantic relationship. If not in something serious they are always dating and are rarely single. During said single times, they often don’t revel in the independence and are often disappointed by the status.
Unlike similar shows with male leads, such as Supernatural, where the relationships of romantic nature are few and far between without diminishing from the show or characters, there’s a constant need in Charmed to have the girls in love.
It wasn’t until the last season that they moved away from each other for the final time. Attempts have been made with little success, so why now. Several times across the series the girls have each attempted to move out.
Paige lived separately at the beginning of season four and Phoebe went to China, with multiple episodes of one of the sisters at least considering it across seven seasons. It’s not until right before the show ends that there’s actually any success in moving. Separating the Charmed Ones right before the end of the series.
Phoebe took ages to realize Cole was a demon even though they’d been witches for years. The longest standing relationship outside Piper and Leo is that between Phoebe and demon Cole/Balthazar. And it’s a tragic one. Unfortunately, it ends with Cole being possessed by the Source of all Evil, being eliminated by the sisters, going insane, creating another reality and being eliminated by Phoebe again. He then spends the rest of eternity trapped in limbo watching over Phoebe.
His beginnings were meant to force his way into Phoebe’s life, and the signs were all there. First Prue, then Paige, and each time Phoebe and Piper didn’t listen. They’ve been demon hunting for how long…?
Repeatedly falling prey to the same trick; “attack them as women”, became a constant bad-guy go-to in this series. From Cole worming his way into their lives as Phoebe’s love interest to infiltrating the girl’s workplaces to the occasional curse, such as the witch doctor in season five or the rage demon Vicus in season three.
The reason why fans were not super fond of this take on the show was because it allowed them to look weak in the face of men, when, on their own, they were extraordinarily powerful.
The show may have been an instant hit but there was definite uncertainty in the main plotline of the show. As time went on they slowly developed the identity of the Source, which became the main villain (in various forms) for the first half of the series.
Afterward, the plotline centered more heavily on the sister’s lives as Cole, now no longer the Source, became a villain, then losing Leo again, until the show ended with another witch as the villain. Whilst it was a slow descent into an actual plotline it did work out so that the audience got deeper into magic as the Halliwells did, discovering at the same time instead of playing catch-up.
Often, series find themselves attempting to re-invent their series. Often, that season is the last one. In their final season, Charmed changed their opening theme song, brought in new main characters and had one of their longest-standing characters, Darryl (and his family) move to the East Coast off-screen.
This was an unsatisfactory departure and the sudden changes leave the final season as an almost separate entity to the rest of the show.
Piper and Leo are the longest standing love story of the show. Whilst other honorable mentions go to Phoebe and Cole, and Prue and Andy, there is just a string of others in and out of their lives. However, in the final season love was in the air. Paige met and married her mortal beau Henry within eleven episodes. Phoebe then met her second husband Coop in the sixteenth episode of season eight.
The love stories are exceptionally rushed and it makes it hard to connect with the two new members of the Halliwell clan and envision their relationships in the future. Whilst we get a glimpse in the comic book continuation, for those who only watch the show, it’s disappointing being unable to see the relationships mature like Piper and Leo, leaving a rushed and unsatisfactory ending for Paige’s and Phoebe’s love stories.
Piper and Leo have weathered storms since season one, so when Death and the Angel of Destiny say it’s time for Leo to pass away so Piper can fulfill her destiny it doesn’t make any sense. Even as a mortal Leo is a doctor, a font of magical knowledge and will always defend his family.
So when they remove Leo from season eight it seems like the writers only did it because Leo was powerless and they needed room for the new love interests on the show.
Piper and Leo are painted as the love epic, forbidden and tragic and, actually a somewhat toxic relationship. Constantly in arguments, Piper often takes advantage of her powers and freezes him in for her own personal pleasure. While Leo was still a whitelighter she would often explode him when they were having an argument.
Whilst it makes for a comical moment and she knows it won’t do any permanent damage, it is still a very violent response and not a healthy way for the couple to deal with conflict.
Being a supernatural villain of the week show, sometimes things can get a bit stale. Other shows that follow similar set-ups are Buffy, Lost Girl, and Supernatural. However, Charmed has a tendency to recycle storylines constantly. The witches have lost their powers about two dozen times over the course of eight seasons.
They have been turned into all manner of creatures, such as a vampire, wendigo, banshee, and goddess. Prue even became a dog for an episode (and let’s not forget her time as Manny Hanks, her very male ‘cousin’). Whilst this can be fun, sometimes it’s time to look at something new.
If, one day, you woke up with magical abilities and were in the world of witches, fairies, and demons, would you want to go back to normal? This is often the case with our four witches. Piper, in particular, constantly wishes she had normalcy despite meeting her magical husband because she is a witch. Phoebe, despite being initially happy about the changes she comes to resent her witch destiny after Cole.
Prue eventually accepted and embraced her gifts, understanding the importance of her role in the scheme of things. And Paige, whilst having a momentary freak-out came to accept her destiny and embrace her role as a magical teacher and whitelighter. But the desire for a normal life was a constant theme and one that often got in the way of their duties.
Plot inconsistencies are a part of every show. Keeping track of little details can often get tricky and Charmed is no exception. One of the biggest issues was The Cleaners. In season six baby Wyatt brings a dragon to life that wreaks havoc on the mortal world. In comes The Cleaners to deal with the problem and erase everyone’s memories.
They even intervene when detective Sheridan catches the Charmed Ones using their powers on video. However, in season three Prue and Piper are recorded and the magical cat is out of the bag. Everything goes insane for the witches and The Cleaners would come to help, except they haven’t been invented by the writers yet.
Despite them being the most powerful good witches of all time they often found other witches far more powerful than themselves. They also have struggled with demons consistently and seem to make no real headway. In season five, when the witches lay siege to the demon market, it definitely indicates the differences and growth in powers.
Yet, there are still inconsistencies. Wyatt, especially. He is the half witch, half whitelighter son of Piper and Leo, born under a sign. So perhaps this duality could indicate why he was so powerful. However, Paige is also a hybrid and is an actual Charmed One, so it stands to reason she would be stronger. Even having powers in the womb isn’t unusual for Charmed blood as Phoebe gave her mother her visions much the same way (perhaps an indication of how powerful she would become in season six). Furthermore, Chris, his younger brother, is not as powerful as Wyatt. Each of the Charmed Ones also has multiple children so it will be interesting to see if they surpass their so-called ‘most powerful’ predecessors.
Billie Jenkins, an honorary Charmed One of sorts in season five, is far more powerful than the sisters in her individual powers despite being younger, inexperienced and not a Charmed One. Her powers are a lot like Prue, having traditional telekinesis and astral and thought projection.
She is also the other half of another ultimate power of witches. Her sister’s powers are also very powerful and she seems to have more abilities than the others. Given that the Charmed Ones are supposed to be the strongest good witches of all time, calling another set of witches called the Ultimate Power doesn’t make sense.
The original power of three received their powers after Phoebe unbound them in the pilot episode. By releasing their powers and bringing the wrath of demondom to their door Phoebe took the choice of being a witch away from her sisters. Unlike in the reboot where they all had to choose to accept their destiny together, it was all decided for them by a single sister.
Furthermore, their childhood was spent not knowing their magical destiny, which was chosen for them by their mother and grandmother. A decision they all have mixed feelings about.
The Charmed Ones are also called The Power of Three. Three is a mystical number in many cultures and the number of sisters to validate the prophecy of the Charmed Ones. So how were they the Charmed Ones if there was a fourth sister?
There are theories to explain it away, like Paige being a half-sister on the mother’s side. But when Prue was written off the show the only way to keep things running was the fourth sister, so it is what it is at this point.
We meet the passed Halliwells multiple times. The ancestors and their mother, even their recently passed Grandmother. When Prue passed away it was said to feel the grief properly she couldn’t be summoned as a ghost.
However, never seeing Prue again as a ghost or time travel or even a photo didn’t really make sense with the rules of the show. Of course this was a production issue rather than plot, but still caused problems in the show’s storytelling.
In season two and three we are introduced to the Triad, a governing power of evil under the Source. Supposedly they are extremely powerful and old. However, Cole/Balthazar was able to take them out single-handedly.
In season eight the show brought back the supposedly gone Triad four seasons later, only to be eliminated again by a single witch. So, as it turns out this villain was not as powerful as the legends and stories made them out to be.
Many things changed in the futures we’ve seen, but one thing that is particularly disappointing is that powers we’ve seen don’t come to pass. In the second episode of season two, the girls are brought to the future and experience their future powers.
Piper has increased her abilities but her power level has seemingly remained the same. Phoebe’s powers change the most, whilst not gaining her electrifying power she does get levitation and becomes an Empath. Prue passes before this future happens but Paige never develops similar concussive powers. Powers she has in her first episodes (eg. Shattering the mirror) or in Limbo, her abilities were amplified. Her whitelighter powers finally grew in season eight, but her solely witch powers never developed.
Phoebe used her powers for personal gain repeatedly and, in trade for Darryl’s life, she temporarily relinquished her individual powers in season six. This made her extremely vulnerable and it wasn’t until season seven that she received her first power of premonition.
She never got her powers all the way back within the duration of the show, let alone earning more powers. While the self-sacrificing act was certainly beautiful, it kind of took away from the power we expected of her.
In the first couple seasons using magic for yourself when you just became a witch could be understood. They definitely learned their lesson at the beginning of season two where Phoebe’s future self (and past self inside her) burnt at the stake for doing just that.
It results in magic backfiring, people passing away, and Phoebe even loses her powers over it. Repeatedly using their powers for personal gain despite full knowledge of the consequences in later seasons doesn’t make sense.
Despite the fact that the Charmed Ones are witches and also real people with real problems, other witches (both magical and not) are often given inaccurate personalities and are skewed in representation.
Often magical witches speak in soft mellow tones and wear a lot of crystals. Wiccans (witch practitioners) are often more along the lines of hippies, such as Marcy Steadwell, a very annoying, peppy character. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the magic school students in season six that witches were portrayed as genuine modern people.
With the possibility that season seven would be the last, an ending had to be written. Instead of the ultra-cheesy happy ending of season eight, seven had our Charmed Ones fake their passings and adopt new identities to begin normal, magic-free lives.
Quite possibly the worst way to end such a powerful series and not a valid solution to their problem as seen at the beginning of season eight when they pick up the pieces of their mistake.
What do you dislike about Charmed? Let us know in the comments!