Idol Chatter

The end of the eight-year run of the WB’s “Charmed” also marked the passing of a programming trend that began in the mid-late 90s, Wicca and witches. The proliferation of this particular primetime paganism–or rather, this artistic approximation of paganism–began with ABC’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” in 1996. Based on the Archie comic book series, Sabrina (played by Melissa Joan Hart) her two bachelorette, witch aunts, and ex-wizard cat, Salem, found themselves in many a zany situation thanks to miscast spells and improper potions.

A year later, “Felicity” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” jumped on board, featuring more realistic Wiccan characters. Sure, Felicity’s roommate Meghan was a bit odd and “Buffy’s” Willow would later turn evil and try to destroy the world, but both these characters were portrayed practicing Wicca as a craft and not casting crazy spells to save the prom.

These girls with power mirrored the larger “Girl Power” zeitgeist of the mid-late ’90s. Uberproducer Aaron Spelling took the broomstick and flew with it, so to speak. In 1998, “Charmed” debuted to huge numbers and would remain popular. The Sisters Halliwell–originally Pru, Piper, and Phoebe,later Piper, Phoebe, and Paige–were known as the “Charmed” ones, witches who have special abilities dubbed “the power of three.”

And while the show took artistic, action-driven license, it also provided a decent representation of a belief system not often portrayed on television. Reviewer Wren Walker noted that while warlocks don’t actually try to steal witches’ powers, “The pronunciations were good, the tools were explained well, and some ethical considerations were mentioned. The altars looked messy enough to be real–I guess not even Hollywood magick do anything about wax drippings–and the sisters wore-gasp!-regular clothing even when casting spells!”

More importantly however, the gals of “Charmed” cast a spell over the audiences making their eight-year run the longest running show with all female leads. Now that’s Girl Power!

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