What happened with CHARMED? How did a show that used to be one of my top ten favorite ended up as something for me to be derisive about? Well, below is a list of some of the show’s traits that I believe contributed to the show’s decline:
This is a major problem with the show. We are led to believe that the Halliwells are the epitome of goodness, yet the writers have allowed them to get away with some very despicable acts. In the four years since Prue's death, the sisters have:
Cole’s First Death and the Source - Episodes like "The Three Faces of Phoebe" and "The Fifth Halliwell" had made it very clear that Cole was possessed. Instead of having the sisters discover this, the writers allowed the sisters to give into their worst fears and prejudices regarding his past and kill him. To make matters worst, they never found out in the following season that he had been an innocent victim of the Source. Instead, the writers dump the "Cole turns insane" storyline on us. In doing this, the writers failed to give the sisters a chance to discover their own potential for evil and thus, kill any chance of them developing as characters. Only Prue was given this chance in episodes like "Just Harried" and "Death Takes a Halliwell".
It seemed that the show’s "black-vs-white" morality became a prime example of how people judge others on a purely superficial basis. Which the Halliwells were guilty of. Look at Cole for example. The only reason why Phoebe had originally believed he possessed the potential for good was due to him being half-human. In her thinking, his human half equated to good, and his demon half equated to evil. When Cole had lost his powers for the second time in "Sympathy For the Demon", Leo automatically judged him good, because he no longer had his "demonic" powers. Even worse, the show tends to label certain powers as good ("witches, fairies, whitelighters, etc.") or evil ("demons, darklighters, warlocks").
I never could understand why the show thought it was necessary to change this, regarding the use of powers. The show made a big deal about witches not using their powers for personal gain. Yet, from what I have read about the Wiccan Rede (please correct me if I'm wrong), personal gain is not even considered. Wiccans seemed to be more concerned with using one's powers to deliberately hurt another, forcing someone to do something against his or her will, or using magic on others without their consent (which the Halliwells are really guilty of in S7's "Extreme Makeover: World Edition".
Phoebe, her sisters and Leo seemed incapable of accepting the possibility that ALL BEINGS, no matter who or what they are - have both light and darkness within them. The show has refused to accept the possibility that demons have the potential for good, just as humans have the potential for great evil. To the show's writers (and characters), a character's morality is mainly based upon WHAT he or she is, and not on the individual's emotional state . . . OR CHOICES.
Darryl’s Soul - In "Valhalley of the Dolls", Phoebe and Paige had committed a despicable act by raping Darryl's soul without his consent, in order to free Leo from Valhalla and remove a spell from Piper. This act should have had major consequences for the two sisters. Instead, the writers treated this act of psychic rape as a joke and dismissed the whole matter with Darryl lamely forgiving them. I was disgusted by this episode.
Rick's Murder - Phoebe and Paige committed another despicable act by setting up Phoebe's ex-classmate, Rick, to be murdered by demons. When he held them at gunpoint and demanded that they change his face, Paige obliged by doing just that by giving him Chris' face . . . instead of orbing the gun from his hand. The demons saw Rick with Chris' face and promptly killed them and both Phoebe and Paige - to my disgust - declared that their action was necessary.
Alliance with the Avatars - Another major crime that the Halliwells had committed was helping the Avatars to change the world by removing any dark thoughts from the human race and committing genocide against demons . . . all so that they can selfishly lead happy lives and not hunt demons. This little act resulted in the psychic rape of the world's population and the deaths of those few who were not affected by the spell. And what happened after "Charmeggedon"? Leo paid the price for his part in the spell, yet the sisters - especially Piper - not only did not pay the price for their actions. Instead, they blamed the Avatars for not telling them everything and the Elders for driving Leo into becoming an Avatar.
The reason I brought these up is that the writers allowed the sisters to get away with major crimes. The sisters had paid the price for using their powers for minor acts - like Prue using her telekinesis to force an annoying neighbor to step in dog poop; and Phoebe using her premonition power to find the future father of her future child - but never for major acts that I had listed above.Also, I really wish that the show would be more ambiguous and complex in its portrayal of morality. Everything is so simple-minded and childish. Demons/warlocks are all evil; humans are all good (unless there are no demons around). What is wrong in portraying demons and other supernatural beings that are ambiguous or even good? What's wrong in the sisters learning that morality is not as simple and easy to label, as they have assumed for so many years?
Speaking of Men:
Another problem I have with the show is its portrayal of men. I understand that it wants to portray women in a positive light as strong and intelligent. Okay. There is nothing wrong with that. By why does its portrayal of men have to be basically negative? CHARMED is supposed to be about feminism. However, my idea of feminism is not male bashing. And this is exactly what the show tends to be guilty of. During most of Seasons 1 and 2, the sisters had a tendency to make many quips at the expense of the male gender. And there was the "She's a Man, Baby! She's a Man!" episode that I would dearly love to forget.
And what happened to the male witches? I've only seen one so-called male witch on the show - Max from "Secrets and Guys" - and at age thirteen, he was too young to be practicing witchcraft.
Regular Male Characters - Another problem is that most of the strong male personalities on the show are either stripped of their power or dies. this happened to characters like Cole Turner, Andy Trudeau, Leo Wyatt, Chris Halliwell and Kyle Brody.The powerful half-demon Belthazor aka Cole Turner, ended up having his powers stripped in "Black As Cole" and was "deemed safe" to marry Phoebe. And when he became more powerful than ever in Season 5, he was judged "evil and insane" and targeted for vanquish in "Centennial Charmed".Andy Trudeau, Prue's strong-willed true love, ended up dead after he found out about the sisters at the end of Season 1. Although Piper and Leo's older son, Wyatt, is now very powerful, he is too young for the writers to do anything about it. Leo became an Elder at the end of Season 5, and later an Avatar in early Season 7. Thus the writers felt that they had to break him away from Piper. And they didn't reunite the couple, until Leo became a mortal (aka "safe") again. Both Chris - Piper and Leo's younger son, and Kyle Brody (both who happened to be strong personalities) ended up dead - along with ex-demon, Drake. And who are left? A powerless Leo; and Darryl Morris - who has been treated as a joke, lap dog or an annoyance throughout the show's seven years.
Darryl Morris - The writers' treatment of Darryl really annoyed me over the years. After Season 2, I got tired of him freaking out, whenever faced with the sisters' magic. Also, the sisters had mistreated him in a big way, twice, during Season 6 (soul raped in "Valhalley of the Dolls" and framed for murder in "Crimes and Witch Demeanors", thanks to Phoebe’s carelessness regarding one of her abilities). When he finally decided that he wanted nothing to do with them (and I didn't blame him), the writers treated as the bad guy for failing to forgive them. And when he finally reunited with them in Season 7, he returned to being one of the sisters' lap dogs. Leo became the other one.After years of watching the show, I am beginning to suspect that both Constance Burge and Brad Kern became leery of the idea of the Halliwells being associated on a permanent basis with strong male characters. And I find that sad.