The Second Season
Charmed is a television series about the three Halliwell sisters, who in their mid-twenties discovered 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. And in no case should they use it for personal gain (which they try to on a few occasions in this season and there are always important lessons and repercussions to be learned). 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. The sisters are made up of Prue (Shannen Doherty), the older sister with the ability to move physical matter with her mind, Piper (Holly Marie Combs), the middle child with the ability to freeze time within a confined space, and finally the youngest sister Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), who has the power of second sight--she can see past, present, future by coming into contact with an object or a person. For more details about this series and its characters, please refer to my first season review.
Perhaps I was not made for Charmed, but like the first season, this second season didn't really come off as particularly strong to me. But in the overall scheme of things, I did enjoy this season a smidgen more than season one (although not enough to give this season set a higher recommendation). The problem I had with this season was due to it being pretty much the same as the first season. If anything is different, there seems to be more cleavage than ever. And I'm not joking. Well, maybe I am. But there were several joked mixed into this season about the boobage and some of them were cleverly and funny. Seriously, when you get to the meat and bones this season is very much the same as the first season.
The major differences are with the cast. Obviously Andy isn't around since he disappeared at the end of season one. The cast roles from the main characters are a lot more concrete and there is less time spent with the Halliwell sisters getting accustomed to life together. New love interests appear for them as well. Leo's role as a white lighter is more precedent. However, beyond those details the underlying essence of the show is pretty much the same. We get episodes that feel somewhat repetitive. Sometimes it's okay and sometimes it's not. I personally think the generic format hurts the show. It could really do well if it had more story arcs incorporated in it.
On the plus side, this season did stray away from the generic format in a manner of speaking. In season one the way that the bad guys are 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. The endings get a little more variation than in the introductory season and in some cases they need to call on someone else to finish the job. Still, it wasn't a great improvement. Why? Because like the first a lot of the episodes have big climatic battle with the evil warlock/demon that are over before you know it.
Two prime examples come from the last two episodes "Apocalypse Not" and "Be Careful What You Witch For". I mention both of these episodes because their stories have some great setups and could have turned into some amazing story arcs that spanned into the next season or even across a couple of episodes. But of course, the episodes build a fairly decent story and end far too quickly. In "Apocalypse Not", the sisters go up against the four horsemen who are destined to bring the apocalypse, the end of the world. There are also some interesting insights into the divine battle between Heaven and Hall. This simple story could have been played out more and really added some much needed substance. The other episode (and season finale) "Be Careful What You Witch For" turned out pretty terrible. French Stewart (Harry Solomon from 3rd Rock From the Sun) guest starred. Stewart plays a genie in a bottle and he makes a pack with a very unholy order to win his freedom from his little bottle. The story ends up with Prue dead and Piper and Phoebe powerless without the power of three. Of course, the story seems to wrap itself up before it should have.
Overall I thought this season was better than the first season, but it was still not a particularly strong one. I think this season makes a great watch for a single viewing, but not to watch over and over again. Although I should note the episode "She's A Man, Baby, A Man!". It is a pretty funny episode where Prue gets turned into man to catch a nymphomaniac demon. What's great about this episode is how the three sisters react to the change. It's just funny.
1. Watch Trial
2. Mortality Bites
3. The Painted World
4. The Devil's Music
5. She's A Man, Baby, A Man!
6. That Old Black Magic
7. They're Everywhere
8. P3 H2O
9. Ms. Hellfire
10. Heartbreak City
11. Reckless Abandon
13. Animal Pragmatism
14. Pardon My Past
15. Give Me A Sign
16. Murphy's Luck
17. How To Make A Quilt Out Of Americans
18. Chick Flick
19. Ex Libris
20. Astral Monkey
21. Apocalypse Not
22. Be Care What You Witch For
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 box set is another Paramount DVD release that comes with no extras.
I was hoping I would enjoy season two a lot more than I did season one, but that wasn't the case. In fact this season left me frustrated that the episodes did not take advantage of the situations they setup, as there was some great potential for intriguing story arcs, and the episodes always seemed to end abruptly. In the end there just isn't a lot different between the first and second season. If you enjoy the fairly generic format Charmed has to offer, than season two should really blow you away. But with no extras and what I consider limited replay value, I think this box set is best for rental.