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"The power of three shall set us free..."
N.B. By this page's nature, it does contain some spoilers, up to season 4. I've tried to keep them to a minimum, but there is a trade-off between providing enough context for new viewers to catch up, and being sufficiently vague to avoid ruining surprises. So proceed with caution... At the same time, some changes have occurred during the course of the series, so the descriptions below won't apply to every episode you see.
Charmed is a series based around three 20-something sisters, who live in San Francisco, and happen to be witches. There's no bubbling cauldrons here - they are all trendy, glamorous, etc., and they do their best to maintain normal lives. In fact, the Halliwells come from a long line of witches, dating back to the Salem trials. Every female in their line since then has had magic powers. This generation is special though - the three sisters are
"The Charmed Ones" (phrophesised in myth and legend), who possess
"the power of three". This means that as well as their individual powers, they are extremely powerful if they say spells together. There seems to be a general cumulative effect - any two witches who recite a spell together will be more powerful than one witch acting alone. However, these three sisters have a special bond, so their trio is more powerful than a random coven of three witches.
Just as Buffy makes the clarification between slaying and killing, the witches have their own terminology.
"Innocent" means the person they're trying to save, rather like a client, as in
"Our innocent is currently at work".
"Vanquish" means killing a demon. As well as witches (human, with powers), you also have whitelighters. These are basically guardian angels, except that they're more like ghosts - people who died, and returned to earth, as opposed to a separate species of seraphim or whatever. On the evil side, you have demons, who were never human (basically a separate species) - the most powerful demon of all is
"The Source" (as in, the source of all evil), who rules the underworld. You also have darklighters, who aim to corrupt humans - they carry crossbows, which are the only way to kill a whitelighter. I'm not quite clear on what happens when a whitelighter dies - presumably they don't go to heaven, since that's where they live, so I guess that they actually risk oblivion.
In the earlier seasons, the episodes are mostly independent of each other - the basic plot being that
"demon of the week" shows up and gets vanquished. However, you do get character development going on between episodes. In later seasons, it's much more arc-oriented - the whole of season 4 is really one big story, with a chapter each week.
Prue Halliwell. Powers: Telekinesis, and later astral projection. She initially works in an auction house, and later becomes a photographer.
Piper Halliwell. Powers: Freezing (basically stopping time for everyone in the room), and later blowing things up. She manages a restaurant (
"Quake"), and later owns her own night-club (P3, named after Prue, Piper, and Phoebe).
Phoebe Halliwell. Powers: Visions (mainly premonitions), and later levitation. Also knows martial arts (since she didn't start out with an
"active" power). She was a psychology student for a few years, and then started writing an advice column.
Leo Wyatt. A former WW2 medic, now a whitelighter, he acts as a guide/adviser to the sisters (and a few other witches in the area). And he's a plumber/handyman in his day job. Powers: Orbing (teleporting from place to place on Earth, and between Earth and Heaven), and healing wounds by laying on his hands. Piper and Leo are in love, but this relationship is frowned on by the Higher Powers.
Paige Matthews. (Season 4 onwards.) She's the half-sister of the other three - same mother, but her father was their mother's white-lighter. Since this relationship was frowned on, she grew up with foster parents. Powers: Orbing from place to place, and bringing objects to her by remote orbing. She works as a social worker.
Cole Turner. (Season 3 onwards.) Phoebe's boyfriend, who unfortunately turns out to be a demon.
Andy Trudeau and Daryl Morse. Two detectives who find that the Halliwells keep showing up in all their unsolved cases. They do eventually learn why, and help out by doing cover-ups - more heroic than it sounds!
At the time of writing, there are ample opportunities to watch it on TV, assuming you have Sky/cable. However, it can get slightly confusing:
Saturday, Five, 19:20-20:00 - season 5
Sunday, Living, 11:00-12:00 - season 5
Sunday, Living, 20:00-20:55 - season 5
Daily, Living, 16:15-18:05 - season 4 double bill
N.B. The Sunday morning episode on Living (season 5) is repeated on Sunday evening. All programs on Living are repeated 1 hour later on Living+1. The season 5 episodes on Saturday (Five) are earlier than the season 5 episodes on Sunday (Living).
Season 6 begins on Living at 20:00 on Thursday 8th January, 2004.
There are currently no plans to release the series on VHS or DVD. There are several books available that tie in with the series -
"behind the scenes" guides, original novels, and novelisations of episodes.
Charmed - TV Tome
Useful site, particularly the episode guide. Watch out for spoilers though...
Charmed - WB official site
Well, this is the official site, so it's here for completeness, but there's not much there. A few nice wallpaper images though.
Lots of short pages, with minimal content and loads of adverts etc.
Paramount Television - Charmed
Ah, now this is more like it. This is the official site from the production company (as opposed to the TV network), so it has a lot of info on it - basically an expanded version of this guide.
Easy navigation, clear layout.
The Charmed Ones
This is a fan-run site, and it is gloriously tacky! Want to have the same hairstyle as Piper? You need the Hair Glove (TM)! The movies are Flash thingies - a collection of still photos (image grabs from the series) that spin around, with a pop song playing in the background. I think it's fun.
Easy to navigate, although you may not get quite what you expect...
This page was last updated on 2003-12-29 by John C. Kirk