NOT ‘CHARMED’

Fric­tion as new crew recre­ates a CW hit

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY KATE FELD­MAN

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.

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.

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