Friction as new crew recreates a CW hit
The “Charmed” reboot began not with a bang, but with backlash.
From almost the day the series was announced — or before that, depending on when you want to start your timeline — the cast of the original series, which ran from 1998 until 2006, pushed back on a potential reimagining of their work.
“Here’s the thing…until you ask us to rewrite it like (exec producer) Brad Kern did weekly don’t even think of capitalizing on our hard work,” Holly Marie Combs, who played Piper, tweeted in January.
Shannen Doherty, who played Prue, took offense at the significance of the new “feminist” reboot, as if her show did not similarly stress female empowerment and strength.
“Everything is a remake or a reboot,” Doherty wrote. “Every show, every movie in some way. Charmed was a wonderful empowering show for women.”
For the young stars, their predecessors have put them in a precarious situation: How do you y honor the legg end while creating your own show?
“I completely understand it,” Melonie Diaz, who plays middle sister Mel Vera, told the Daily News. “It’s a big part of who they are and their work. We don’t take that lightly.”
Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman said her staff made sure to keep the original show’s legacy in mind as they launched the second generation.
“We didn’t want to change what they’d already done,” she told The News. “We didn’t want to undo careful plotting they’d done for eight years.”
The new “Charmed” wants to make one thing very clear: This is 2018, not 1998. The 42-minute-long pilot — the only episode CW released to critics ahead of the show’s premiere — takes on race, sexuality, sexual misconduct and family issues. Plus, you know, the magic. It’s cluttered and chaotic, but that’s what Urman, who also has “Jane the Virgin” on the network, does best.
“Every choice is a conscious choice,” she told The News. “We try to have heroes that feel specific.”
Three actresses of color (Diaz, Madeleine Mantock and Sarah Jeffery) have been cast as The Charmed Ones; they’re the Veras, this time, rather than the Halliwells.
“I’m really proud of the moment we’re in right now and how far it seems to have come,” Jeffery — who has had roles on “Wayward Pines,” Disney Channel’s “Descendants” and “Shades of Blue as Jennifer Lopez’s character’s daughter — told The News.
“You see yourself and feel like that can be you. I’m pretty ethnically ambiguous and I never saw someone like me in a leading position; I was always going out for the sidekick or the best friend. Now you’re seeing three women of color leading a show.”
Then there’s Whitelighter Harry Greenwood, played by Rupert Evans, the girls’ sidekick and guardian angel. While the character risks becoming an overbearing male figure — the name “whitelighter” is a little too on the nose — in this female-centric story, for now, at least, he seems like he truly just wants to help.
Evans, too, insisted the show isn’t a remake.
“It’s a reimagining,” he told The News. “Charmed” premieres at 8 p.m. on Oct. 14 on The CW.
Sarah Jeffery, Madeleine Mantock and Melonie Diaz (left to right) star in new version of “Charmed.” Below, they try to cast a spell on audiences.