Photo: (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for New York Comic Con)
At New York Comic Con 2018, Vulture moderated the panel for the Charmed reboot and we can confidently say, this show will make you want to call your mom. The first episode of the new series will run on the CW Sunday, Oct. 14, just in time for witchy Halloween vibes and a solid boost of female empowerment to take us into November. Below, six things to know before tuning in.
It’s proud of its political stance.
Although the writers and executive producers originally considered turning the new series into a prequel of the original Halliwell sisters story, the events of 2016 pushed the executive producers to turn it into a fully independent reboot so that it could take on issues of the current day. In the pilot episode, the new Charmed ones take on a demon of both supernatural and all-too-human proportions (he’s an actual demon, but he’s also a serial harasser), and more broadly, it is a series unashamed to have a political point-of-view. The show’s three lead actors, Melonie Diaz, Sarah Jeffery, and Madeleine Mantock, described this element of the series as “a responsibility.” The new Charmed will not be backpedaling on its politics. Diaz talked about how important it is to her that the series have a “point of view,” and Mantock, her co-star, described the show’s “consciousness” as being one of the chief things that drew her to the series. And the show’s logline is “stronger together,” a slogan they chose intentionally and that may be familiar to you.
It’s still a series for everyone.
In spite of its clear political perspective, the actresses who play the new Charmed sisters hope that it will also be a series with cross-generational appeal. The ideal audience, according to Diaz, is everyone, but most specifically high school girls watching with their mothers, and men who “want to be on the right side of history.” The hope is that it’s a show moms and daughters can enjoy together, something that will spark important conversations and reflect supportive female bonds, something to get you all up in those good sisterhood feelings.
This is not a dark, gritty, self-serious kind of reboot.
The new Charmed is full of monsters, and its pilot episode makes clear that it will be dealing with intense emotional territory. It’s a show about sisters, about emotions and friendship and rivalry and grief. But this will not be one of those reboots that tries to make itself important by being overwhelmingly dark. The pilot is funny, often thanks to the new Whitelighter character Harry, played by Rupert Evans. That’s part of the cross-generational appeal — the goal is for the show to be one you want to watch with your mom, not one that’s going to make you feel uncomfortable because there are too many super-violent torture scenes.
There are lots of monsters.
And they’re tough to act with! Diaz, Mantock and Jeffery described this as one of the most challenging aspects of the production, because so many of the big, tense scenes involve magic and special effects that are added afterward. They described the action sequences as “a choreography,” something that also requires trust. It’s also something they’re still working out the kinks on. Jeffery, whose character Maggie has telepathy, mentioned that they’ve tried playing those scenes with her using an earpiece as well as with someone reading the lines out loud to her, and they’re still trying to figure out the best system.
It has an all-female producing team, who you may know from another CW hit.
Charmed is a co-production by Jennie Snyder Urman, Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin, who have all worked together in the past on Urman’s current CW series Jane the Virgin. Although Charmed will have a different vibe than Jane, much of its driving ethos will feel familiar to Jane viewers. It’s a mix of comedy and more emotionally intense stories, it’s a show about Latina characters, it emphasizes the complexity and intensity of familial relationships between women, and it wears its political viewpoints on its sleeve. Plus, one of its upcoming episodes will be directed by Jane star Gina Rodriguez, who’s also directed episodes of Jane the Virgin.
It will be a balance of demons of the week and ongoing mysteries.
According to its three lead actresses, the new series will replicate the original series’s tension between solving an ongoing mystery and introducing demon-of-the-week characters that need dispatching in each episode. Hopefully, that will put the new series in a sweet spot of serial storytelling that’s becoming all-too-rare for TV, shows that play with both episodic structure and season-length mysteries. It’s more fun when there are demons to slay on a regular basis! But there are also demons that “will be around for longer,” Diaz explained, because the new Charmed ones will need to solve the mystery that kicks off the pilot episode. The actors couldn’t say whether that mystery will get solved by the end of season one, though; they don’t get to know what’s coming up on the series, and the show is still in the middle of shooting episode six.