Case Number 11094

CHARMED: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON

Paramount // 2004 // 932 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // March 28th, 2007

The Charge

Once lucky, Twice smart, Three times Charmed

Opening Statement

If you follow the secrets of numerology, you recognize that seven is a powerful number. Season Seven is in many ways a return to the heart of Charmed, a reclamation of the silly/dramatic vibe that makes the show so popular. It also has some spectacularly limp episodes. Even so, this season of Charmed was lively enough to power the show into an eighth season.

Facts of the Case

Leo (Brian Krause) continues his social butterfly shtick by joining yet another super-secret, all-powerful clique. The Avatars are not as benevolent as they seem, and Leo hides his involvement from the sisters as long as he can. Meanwhile, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Paige (Rose McGowan) continue fighting off supernatural oddities of every description. Meanwhile, Wyatt's blossoming powers make life interesting.

The Evidence

Season Seven of Charmed kicks off at a faltering pace, with a forced, uninvolving opener and some inconsistent episodes that force you to wonder "where is the defining thrust of this season?" As the Avatar falderal continued to stink up the joint, I found myself reflecting on some of Charmed's annoyances.

For instance, the staccato, under-the-breath, monotone mumbling that passes for conversation in the Halliwell household grew particularly tiresome. When it works, this affectation provides a sense of wry wit, defeatist irony, or barely-suppressed emotion depending on the circumstance du jour. A sense, mind you; not actual wry wit, defeatist irony, or barely-suppressed emotion. Yet it is good enough as a breezy, cooler-than-thou substitute for actual emotional strife. In the previous seasons, this mode of banter became a signature of the series, a cadence that you immediately identify with these three beleaguered sisters caught between normalcy and chaos.

In the first half of Season Seven, I found myself wishing for someone to enunciate. Just this once, someone, anyone, take time with your words. Piper does so on occasion, of course, but usually in a foot-stomping "I'm not gonna take it anymore!" kinda way. (Ooh, another annoyance!)

Meanwhile, Brian Krause continues his ass-kissing husband|powerful god|confused rube schizophrenia. Can the writers just make up their minds? Is Leo pissed, or contrite, serene, or what? Just throw a dart and stick with something.

Speaking of Leo, has he been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation? Gene Roddenberry called; he wants his transporter back.

As the season wore on, all I could think about was how derivative it was of former seasons. Time travel? Done that. Grams back from the dead? Been there. Weird dystopia where magic has become taboo? Seen it.

On the other hand, the first half had some good elements. The Lady Godiva episode gets high marks for suggestive nudity and lots of flowing blonde hair. And this just in: Charisma Carpenter is hot. The first half also has standout episodes like "Charmed Noir," which throws some black-and-white intrigue into the mix. By the way, Rose McGowan looks as good in black-and-white as she does in color.

The uneven first half blinded me to what was happening in Charmed: The Complete Seventh Season. Somewhere along the way, the writers ditched the Avatars. In the fantastic episode "The Seven Year Witch," Leo finally becomes normal. In other words, the writing team quietly but surely eases out the plot lines that suck. By the time Season Seven wraps, the Charmed vibe is back in full swing. In fact, the last half went down so effortlessly that it makes me wonder if I was unfair to the first half.

The episodes are presented with the same visual flair, decent transfer quality, and peppy/spooky soundtrack as the previous six seasons. Charmed looks and sounds really good, with some touches you might not expect that boost its production quality. The guest stars are great, the special effects are fluid enough to pass muster, and the music will often have you tapping your toes.

If you're looking for any information about this boxed set such as "does it have any extras?" or "what's the running time?" then its right there in plain sight on the bottom of the cardboard sleeve in 3-point font. And the answer is no, by the way: there are no extras.

Closing Statement

Maybe Charmed faltered a step, or maybe I'm just burnt out on the show after watching three seasons in close proximity. The first half is a morass of befuddled, derivative episodes with some great moments mixed in, while the second half smooths out to a familiar mesh of silly and dramatic supernatural slapstick. The rousing finale reminded me why the show has such a devout following and why it lasted eight seasons.

The Verdict

Not as guilty as it should be.

Review content copyright © 2007 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 96
Audio: 95
Extras: 0
Acting: 65
Story: 72
Judgment: 73

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 932 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0158552/combined

* DVD Verdict Review of Season One
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason1.php

* DVD Verdict Review of Season Two
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason2.php

* DVD Verdict Review of Season Three
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason3.php

* DVD Verdict Review of Season Four
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason4.php

* DVD Verdict Review of Season Five
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason5.php

* DVD Verdict Review of Season Six
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/charmedseason6.php