The First Season
Charmed is a series about the three Halliwell sisters, who in their mid-twenties discover that they are witches with magical powers. As an added bonus, they find out that they are good witches and they are supposed to use their powers only for noble altruistic acts. In the first season, we learn that they are a staple against evil, and highly covenanted by dark forces. Their powers hold great potential for evil warlocks and demons.
Prue (Shannen Doherty) is the oldest sister, with a domineering and bossy personality (which Doherty seems a natural at, remember Beverly Hills 90210?). She has the ability to move physical objects without physical touch like telekinesis. (But it's magic!) The sister in the middle is Piper (Holly Marie Combs), who can freeze time within a confined space. She is the shy and timid one of the bunch. Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) is the youngest sister with power of second sight. She can see into the future, past, and present by coming into contact with an object or a person. There are also two inspectors from the San Francisco Police Department that are on the first season cast. The first is Andy Trudeau (Ted King), who is a childhood friend of the Halliwell sisters and Prue's high school sweetheart. Darryl Morris (Dorian Gregory) is Trudeau's partner and he plays a very small role in the series. Overall, the first season is entertaining, but at times it feels a bit monotonous.
The basic premise of each episode follows a fairly generic format. One of two things happens (and sometimes both), either a warlock/demon attempts to kill an innocent person and the charmed sisters stop him or a warlock/demon tries to kill the charmed sisters to get their power. Of course, they always miraculously prevail against evil. This format becomes a problem with the season, as it becomes slightly repetitive. However, that is not the only aspect of this season that is repetitive. The way that the bad guys get handled always seems to be the same. Piper freezes them and then Prue throws them into something, which knocks them out, and the girls use the power of three to banish them. Of course there are a few variations, but they're quite similar.
One aspect of this season that is done pretty well is the focus on character development. The season spends a lot of time developing the characters and their relationships. This includes the Halliwell sisters becoming accustomed with one another, finding themselves, accepting their powers and new role in life, and a little focus on their love lives. There is also another focus in each episode that connects the charmed sisters with the San Francisco Police Department. Since Inspector Trudeau has such a close relationship with Prue and the girls are always seem to be chasing murderers, he's repeatedly finding them connected to various crime scenes. This becomes an important aspect to the series, because the girls are always trying to dodge Trudeau's suspicion.
Overall, I did not find that the first season was as exciting as I remember it. The entire season seemed to bring very little in terms of excitement. At first the series held its entertainment value, but slowly it began to degrade, which was again, mostly because each episode felt similar to the last. However, there were a couple of notable story arcs in the season. In the first half of the season a great story was introduced. It follows the basic format, but is extended across multiple episodes and includes plenty of deception. It's a fun story because we get to see a relatively nice person turn into a sinister villain. Another pretty exciting story arc happens at the very end of the season. It's another good set of episodes that puts the Halliwell sisters in the verge of being exposed. Of course, there's a lot more surrounding it, like Inspector Trudeau being investigated by Internal Affairs.
Despite the slightly repetitiveness of the season, there were still enough interesting episodes and stories to keep you entertained. However, none of it is anything I could ever imagine wanting to watch again. For that reason, the first season of Charmed is bested suited for a rental. However, fans should be quite pleased to have the chance to see the first season on DVD.
1. Something Wicca This Way Comes
2. I've Got You Under My Skin
3. Thank You For Not Morphing
4. Dead Man Dating
5. Dream Sorcerer
6. The Wedding From Hell
7. The Fourth Sister
8. The Truth Is Out There And It Hurts
9. The Witch Is Back
10. Wicca Envy
11. Feats Of Clay
12. The Wendigo
13. From Fear To Eternity
14. Secrets And Guys
15. Is There A Woogy In The House?
16. Which Prue Is It Anyway?
17. That '70s Episode
18. When Bad Warlocks Turn Good
19. Out Of Sight
20. The Power Of Two
21. Love Hurts
22. Deja Vu All Over Again
This DVD release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is viewable. Most viewers will not be troubled with the quality, but some may notice that it has its faults. The image has a noticeable grain that is really noticeable during dark scenes. There are also a few occurrences of compression artifacts in the picture. Overall, the video is viewable, but not really great.
The audio track in this release is in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo. The audio in this release comes off fairly flat. However as with most TV on DVD releases it's not necessarily bad, as the majority of the audio is spoken dialogue. The sound quality is good, providing an audible and clean audio track. Music comes off fairly rich and sound effects tend to take advantage of the right and left channels. This release comes equipped with closed captioning.
This release is another Paramount DVD release that comes with no extras.
I remember that I used to enjoy watching Charmed. Unfortunately, I have found that the series is not as exciting as I remember. The first season does a decent job providing enough stories to keep you entertained, but none seem to be truly gripping or compelling to make you want more. Also considering the repetitiveness of this season, it should make for a good rental. I look forward to seeing the later seasons, as the series definitely has potential.