The CW launches reboot of long-running series
Shannen Doherty, Rose McGowan, Kaley Cuoco and others led “Charmed” lives. Now, three more actresses are under the show’s spell.
Helping The CW launch an additional night of programming Sunday, Oct. 14, the new reboot of the series casts Sarah Jeffery (“Shades of Blue”), Melonie Diaz and Madeleine Mantock as sister witches – one of whom has been unknown to the others – who unite their special abilities to form the Power of Three following their mother’s death. A presumed university professor (Rupert Evans) is their “Whitelighter,” advising them on protecting mankind from evil.
Several “Jane the Virgin” veterans, including Jennie Snyder Urman, are among the executive producers of the new “Charmed.” In giving the central characters an ethnic diversity, Urman says, “Most of the people I’ve talked to are happy that they’re not white, because we’ve had a chance to see three white witches. Obviously, coming off of ‘Jane,’ I know so much more about what it means to see yourself on screen, see yourself represented, and see yourself be the hero of a story – and that was really important to us. I haven’t felt the ‘not white’ backlash. I’ve felt the ‘This is not the same story that was once told’ backlash.”
Among those fostering the latter has been original “Charmed” co-star Holly Marie Combs, who tweeted, after the new version’s pickup, her hope that the show’s “true legacy does remain.” (Combs and Alyssa Milano spanned the first series’ entire run.) Actress Diaz notes, “I think that there’s also a lot of positive stuff coming out, and we’ve collectively made a decision to focus on that, because this is such a great place to be and to create this show with people who I love.”
Coming off three seasons of playing Jennifer Lopez’s daughter, Jeffery adds, “We understand that (‘Charmed’ is) such a sacred thing to so many people, not only to the cast, but to the fans …so we’re very grateful, and we get it. We do get it.”
The new “Charmed” stars are familiar with the original show, which ran from 1998 to 2006, though the experience was a bit different for Mantock. “I grew up in the UK,” she explains, ”and it used to rerun on Channel 5 (there), so I was definitely aware of it. Before we started shooting, I made sure to watch the pilot, because I wanted to see the little Easter eggs that we had laid in our script to pay homage. I hadn’t seen the whole eight seasons, but I knew who the characters were, because it was such a pop-culture moment. I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t know who those girls are and what ‘Charmed’ is.”