The Charmed revival is upon us, and it is worth noting the new show's differences from the original before jumping in head first.
Charmed was one of the most popular TV series of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It capitalized on the supernatural trend of the time, telling the story of three sisters battling it out against evil beings while trying to lead normal lives as well. Now, a re-imagined version of the show is coming to the The CW, and it takes some liberties in revisiting the series.
The new version of Charmed is hard to classify. It is not exactly a reboot, as it seems to have nothing to do with Prue, Piper and Phoebe Haliwell and Paige Matthews. It follows a whole new cast in a whole new setting, though it keeps most of the central premises and themes intact.
The Charmed reboot stars Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz and Sara Jeffrey as Macy, Melanie and Maggie Vera, respectively. The three sisters also hold the mysterious "Power of Three" and are also dubbed "The Charmed Ones."
However, their journey through witchcraft is a whole lot different from that of their predecessors. Some fans of the classic series are upset about the changes, while others are excited to explore a new take on a tried and true TV mythos. Either way, there are some changes you will want to be prepared for before you dive in.
The Charmed revival premieres on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Here are some of the biggest differences you should know about before you watch.
The new series is taking some liberties with the Charmed origin story. In the original, the sisters had latent magical powers which were "unbound" by their grandmother. They then gained their magic when they read the Dominus Tritus spell together. In the revival, they will instead simply gain their powers when their mother, Marisol Vera (Valerie Cruz) unbinds them.
A major difference in the beginning is also the way in which the sisters inherit their powers. In the first series, the Haliwell sisters had magic — and all the responsibility that came with it — thrust upon them, whether they liked it or not. This time around, the Vera sisters will apparently be offered a chance to refuse this call to adventure. According to the Fandom Wikia site about the show, they will get to choose whether to accept their powers, creating a moment of doubt and personal crisis for the burgeoning heroines.
One of the most controversial changes in the new series is the role of Whitelighters in the show. In the original, these magical guardians were supposed to keep their intentions secret from the witches they worked with. The Haliwell sisters did not find out that Leo was their Whitelighter until the end of season 1. By contrast, the trailers for the new Charmed show that Harry is very upfront about his Whitelighter status, wasting no time in revealing it to the Vera sisters. Harry also appears to have a few powers that Whitelighters didn't have before, such as telekinesis and teleportation without orbs.
The family dynamics will likely prove to be some of the most important updates to Charmed. In the new series, Mel and Maggie have grown up together, never knowing that they have a third, older half-sister named Macy. They find her only after their mother passes away, and their shared magical abilities begin to manifest almost at once.
One of the biggest changes to the show is the setting. The original Charmed took place in San Francisco. By contrast, the revival is set in the fictional college town of Hlltowne, Michigan. The sleepy little getaway is inherently more spooky than the big city, and also makes the living situation for three young women more believable.
Two of the Vera sisters have the same or comparable powers to those of the Haliwell sisters, with one major difference. Where Phoebe had premonitions, Maggie will now apparently have the power of telepathy. This will likely be a fundamental change to how plots are constructed and how the sisters adjust to their new-found abilities.
The writing staff behind the Charmed revival decided that one signature aspect had to go: the rhyming incantations. According to a report by Pop Sugar, producers addressed this change at the TCA press tour this summer, saying that it felt too indicative of the original show. On top of that, Snyder Urman pointed out that the rhyming couplets would be hard to manage as they "get into different languages and different cultures," which they intend to do.
Finally, the Charmed revival puts a heavy emphasis on representation. The series centers around a Latino family, with Macy, the half-sister, being Afro-Latina. In addition, the middle sister, Mel, is a lesbian, in an on-again off-again relationship with a character named Niko, played by Ellen Tamaki.
The cast also has an even wider range of representation. In real life, Mantock is of Afro-Caribbean descent; Diaz is of Latino descent; and Jeffrey is part African American and Indigenous Canadian.