From Green Man Review, back in 2006. As always, clicky the headline for the full piece!
Penned for Green Man Review.
When Charmed first aired, it was dismissed by many as a poor-Wiccan’s Buffy knock-off. Which, considering Buffy the Vampire Slayer was only in its first season, wasn’t intended to be kind. But viewers took to the three Halliwell sisters, and even embraced such story-altering changes as the death of a sister and the discovery of a new one. In the eight seasons Charmed was on the air, love came and went, children entered the picture, and powers were lost and regained too many times to count. But in the end, good always triumphed over evil.
And now, with the final season wrapped up tightly (or rather loosely; there’s still a push from the fans to have a spin-off series created for the next generation of Halliwells), it’s as good a time as any to take a look back at when this series was brand new. Or, in a different vein, When Prue Walked The Earth. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the original three sisters were: Alyssa Milano as the youngest daughter, Phoebe, Holly Marie Combs as middle child Piper, and Shannen Doherty, sometimes considered the enfant terrible of Aaron Spelling’s stable of actors, as eldest daughter Prudence (or Prue, for short). Shannen left the show at the end of season three amid rumors of clashes with the other actors, which her prior departure from the soapy teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 only seemed to corroborate. Rose McGowan stepped in as heretofore unknown half-sister Paige, a role the actress continued until the series finale at the end of season eight. Fans of the series can be found at either end of the spectrum; there are rabid Prue fans, and there are those who bid her good riddance and welcomed Paige with open arms.
So after all the drama on stage and off, how does the first season hold up? Constance M. Burge, the creator of the show, had her hands firmly in the making of this first season, and it shows with the episodes strong themes of sisterhood and family. Things would start to get soapy a few seasons later, when Ms. Burge left the show, but the first season episodes can be enjoyed in without worrying too much about losing where you last left off. There are a few recurring stories (the men in the sister’s lives is the most obvious one), but each episode has enough exposition to answer any questions a casual viewer may have.