Thursday, January 05, 2006

More of that Show about Chocolate and Girls

Pity me. Charmed is on its way back and Julie's bound to want to watch it.

The series was recommended by my mother to J and punted to me as being 'a bit like Buffy', but it's not - except in the way that Half Man Half Biscuit are a bit like Chas and Dave, because they both did songs which were meant to be funny.

On the surface it's hard to see why one show is so poor and the other hit such highs. I imagine both shows attract top notch writers, directors, producers and the like, and the acting is much of a functional muchness (neither show ever showcased Olivier or De Niro).

Granted, the sets in Charmed are awful, regardless of whether the sisters are in a cave, back alley or mystic realm. Everything looks as though it's made of plastic and nothing is actually dirty. It's hard to suspend disbelief when Purgatory and the fiery pit of Hell is clearly made of the same brown plastic as crappy Thunderbirds' toy Tracy Island.

More importantly though, there is a noticeable vacuum at the heart of Charmed. Buffy (and its sequel Angel) had a central theme which the writers ran through the series. Reactions to loss and death and the way in which the main characters deal with grief motivate and inform the actions of everyone in the show. There was actual subtext. The hunt for demons served both as a means of causing the required death and grief and as a method by which to magnify and mirror teenage reactions to that. Charmed on the other hand is a show about hair-styles and boys, with demon hunting something to do when there's a lull in playing with one another's hair or talking about the girls' various romances. It's probably the least subtle genre show ever made (including Andromeda and Josie Lawrence vehicle Not with a Bang).

Which makes it all the more galling that Charmed has just returned (by popular demand it seems) for an eighth season, whilst Buffy/Angel and its many mooted spin-offs remain in some televisual Limbo (to say nothing of the cancellation of 'Firefly', a decision so mindless as to warrant an entirely new word for 'stupid').

Life's just not fair sometimes.


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