Charmed was an American fantasy sci-fi television drama series created by Constance M. Burge to be aired on the WB television network. Aaron Spelling and his production company, Spelling Television (responsible for such iconic shows as Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven and Melrose Place) produced the series with Brad Kern serving as the showrunner for the entire duration of the series. Charmed ran from October 1998 until Maybe 2006, having featured 8 seasons with a total of 178 episodes, each running at about 45 minutes long.
The series received critical acclaim, specifically upon its premiere date which received an estimated total of 7.7 million viewers tuning in for the series premiere, making it the largest audience-viewed series premiere of the WB’s television history. Additionally, Charmed was the first primetime television series that focused around the lives of a witch coven, bringing to light an entire culture of pagan-based religions, and being partially responsible for the wiccan spiritual belief system becoming more mainstream. Moreover, the series has received praise for creating an all-female cast that is both realistic and charming on an individual level, with each of the actresses taking their character and bringing to life her individual quirks. The series holds a 7.0/10 on IMDb based on over 50,000 site users and audience members, while holding a similarly high rating of 8.8/10 on TV.com.
A Normal Life
Although the series follows the sisters on their constant battle against the forces of evil, the most common themes of the show aren’t nearly as supernaturally inclined. They are daring vigilantes hoping to snuff out the last of an evil, magical organization. The most common theme the sisters struggle with through the course of the series is the sisters wanting to have a normal life, and how that fundamental need clashes inconsolably against their duties as protectors of world of innocents.
Throughout the series, the writers maintain that theme as a central and primary source of tension between the Halliwell sisters and their position as the “Charmed Ones.” They were given a monumental task without any concern for their own personal wants and desires. Romance, friendship and personal development are typical themes of television series, while in Charmed, the complete and utter lack of such normal human desires is central to the development of the series and the characters as a whole. The Halliwell sisters must fight harder for such basic foundations of a “normal” life, and can rarely if even venture outside of themselves to find companionship or romance.
The Struggle of Good and Evil
Over the course of its many seasons and episodes, Charmed demonstrated the near-constant struggle that exists between good and evil, a theme that is readily thrown into many stories for the need to create tension. Charmed was different in its use of the age-old theme, however, and truly created a vile, wicked force behind which all things evil rallied, and pitting the Halliwell sisters against such a force as a testament of the ever-persevering nature of humanity. The evil within the universe of Charmed is known as the Source—as in, the source of all things evil, wicked and vile. Living up to its name, the Source acts as a constant challenge for the Halliwell sisters and pushes them well beyond the limits of their abilities. In this nearly poetic fashion, the writers of the show offer their audience members a gentle reminder that, while evil may never truly be defeated, as is the case within the universe of Charmed, there is much to be gained from pushing back against it.
More interestingly, the same wickedness that affects and utterly devastates one of the sisters might not be so crippling a blow for either of the other two sisters. As the series progresses, the audiences and the evil that continuously seeks to destroy them gains a deeper understanding of what makes each of the Halliwell sisters tick. This knowledge allows the writers to create new, dynamic stories that are both unique to the Charmed sisters, and organic components of the story that don’t seem forced of trite for the sake of television drama. These aspects of the story and the sisters themselves allowed for a deeper respect for their constant struggle, not only against the evils outside of them that plague the very innocents they are meant to protect, but their own inner demons, as well.
Day after day for the Halliwell sisters, and episode after episode for the audience members, the struggle between good and evil remained an ever-present theme. Unlike in many other shows, however, the evil was both cunning and manipulative and served as a tantamount challenge for the Charmed ones throughout the course of the series. Their struggle was intense and time consuming, and oftentimes left the sisters with emotional scars and doubts regarding their futures and their ability to continue fighting against so catastrophic and wicked a force. Of course, that does not mean that the sisters weren’t ever victorious in their battle against the ultimate force of evil.
Rarely, though it did occur, when the sisters were able to beat back the forces of evil and temporarily cull their forces, momentarily vanquishing their foe, a serene calm would come to the Charmed sisters. They were given a moment to reflect on what was lost, and time to consider what was gained. They were given just the barest of instances in which they were allowed to live, breathe and simply be. Similarly, for the audience members so wrapped up in the tension of the series, these moments allowed a chance to reflect on their own lives and their own struggles with evils, perhaps not a figure as malicious as the Source, but equally as clever and destructive. These reflective moments forged a deeper connection between audience members and the fictional Charmed sisters. In these moments of calm, when the sisters could just be young women living their lives in San Francisco, the audience members could truly come to appreciate the constant struggle that the sisters mustered against the forces of evil, and loved them even more.