The fashion for reboots is showing no signs of slowing down. The latest to enjoy such a privilege is Charmed. I never watched the original series, which both aids and detracts from my ability to analyse this show. Aids because I am distracted by a nostalgia for the previous version that could cloud my judgement. Detracts in that it means I cannot judge how much it is living up to the initial spirit of the show.

Anyway, Charmed should be right up my alley. Regular readers know I find it hard to resist a bit of supernatural hokum, the wittier and slightly dafter the better. I have slowly come round to The Chilling Adventures if Sabrina, although I still feel they missed a trick not having a talking cat. But once it settled more into the pattern of background long-term villain and short-term crisis points a la Buffy I began to fall for it.

At the moment, Charmed is suffering from a similar problem, in that it is trying to set out its premise, and is therefore currently lacking a natural rhythm. The first episode in particular seemed to be doing too much and had three scenes that could have all worked as a suitable ending that instead just got left hanging as the next situation came up that needed to be resolved. In other words, it was rushed.

The second episode was better. There was a tighter structure and slightly fewer distractions from the main thrust, although I still felt there was a battle for airtime between the plots at points. I once read a companion book to Buffy that suggested all you need is a plot and a subplot in each episode and all character development should span from that, and this is advice this show needs to follow.

My other big problem is that the show seems to be at pains to be as woke as possible. It’s fine to beat the drum by making strong female characters, LGBT themes and the current political background a key part. But it needs to be subtle. Again, I call upon Buffy as an example of it done well. It was only when people started discussing it as feminist and pro-LGBT you realised that it was. Charmed rather smashes you with it. And if I feel like that as someone who is pro #metoo and LGBT rights, I can only imagine what those who are more ambivalent or opposed feel.

What this show needs, and what I am going to give it, is time. It needs to find its rhythm and a means of telling its stories that works. The plots are good, the characters a little cheesy but capable of growing over time and there is a strong mystery hook. It has all the ingredients it needs. It just needs to blend them a little better.

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