Judge Ryan Keefer could perform magic with a revealing shirt, but really, who wants to see that?
Our reviews of Charmed: The Complete First Season (published February 2nd, 2005), Charmed: The Complete Third Season (published December 14th, 2005), Charmed: The Complete Fourth Season (published March 15th, 2006), Charmed: The Complete Fifth Season (published November 8th, 2006), Charmed: The Complete Sixth Season (published November 8th, 2006), Charmed: The Complete Seventh Season (published March 28th, 2007), and Charmed: The Complete Eighth Season (published December 1st, 2007) are also available.
Stevie: "Hey Piper, very nice to meet you. Are you a witch too?"
Wow, Charmed just started airing the first episodes of its eighth season. That really is an impressive feat. It picked up syndication a couple of seasons ago, so fans that are new to the show can catch up. And with the release of the second season on DVD, and the third already in the works, the show, executive produced by Aaron Spelling, is another notch on a very successful belt.
Facts of the Case
Paramount has slimmed the keepcases down and decided to put the six disc, second season of Charmed in three cases, saving precious cabinet space for those who collect the shiny medium. The first five discs house four episodes each, and the last disc has the final two episodes. They are as follows:
• "Witch Trials"
Charmed is a hybrid of a fantasy show, with a lot of action and dramatic elements thrown in, and most of the episodes are self-contained, with little left to the next episode. And in Piper (Holly Marie Combs, Picket Fences), Prue (Shannen Doherty, Beverly Hills, 90210), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano, Who's The Boss?), Spelling put together three women who were TV veterans at a young age, and put them into one show about young women who discover that they have supernatural powers, and use them to fight evil. The sisters often combine their powers (hence "The Power of Three" moniker) to fight these evils and to help wayward souls that come by their really nice looking house in San Francisco. Often times, considering the women in question, a lot of dramatic acting and key action sequences involve exposed midriffs, pajamas and plunging necklines.
Putting aside the sexpot witch vibe, as sisters, the actresses interacted very well together (though Doherty would leave at the end of Season Three), and some of the visual effect shots clearly improved over Season One. Perhaps more importantly, the show balanced the act between the sisters getting a better understanding and acceptance of their powers and their regular lives. The biggest event of note was that Piper, an aspiring cook, decided to open a bar downtown and named it P3. It helped to serve as a staging area for some key scenes in the show, and doubled as a nightclub. Several musical acts appeared to perform, and bands such as Dishwalla even appeared as part of a storyline in "The Devil's Music." Other acts that appeared during the season were The Cranberries, Paula Cole and The Goo Goo Dolls.
While it's hard to tell whether the power of Spelling brought in more notable guest stars for longer episode arcs, the overall quality of the show improved during the second season. And the guest stars had the familiar tone of people you'd recognize if you watch a lot of television. Among the faces one may recognize are Antonio Sabato Jr. (Melrose Place), Clayton Rohner (Weeds), Stephanie Beacham (Beverly Hills, 90210), and Brian Thompson (The X-Files). Even Arnold Vosloo (24) makes an appearance as well. Combining these appearances with solid supporting work by Brian Krause (Sleepwalkers) as Piper's emerging boyfriend Leo, the performances are well rounded and even have a bit of emotion in them.
All in all, Charmed is better television than one would be willing to admit. It's a show that got its legs and hit a stride in the second season, and the women provide compelling dramatic moments. With everything else in the show, it actually was climbing to a popular peak, and the writing gradually improved through this season, and into the next. The arrival of Charmed—The Complete Second Season is a welcome one, as my wife is a huge fan of the show, and I receive a fair amount of grief if it's not recorded either on Sunday nights or on the Tuesday repeats. And it doesn't make sense to make the wife angry, as any married man will tell you.
>From a disc standpoint, aside from the smaller set, there are no extras, and the full frame video and 2-channel audio soundtrack are a replication of Season One. While the overall quality is an improvement over the first season, the continued lack of extras, even topical ones, is a little bit of a problem. But it shouldn't deter fans from picking this up.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
For a long-running show that started in the late '90s and is still being broadcast today, the lack of supplemental material is a little pathetic. To Paramount's credit, previous seasons of Charmed are being released at a faster clip than other shows, but at least put in a gag reel or dated featurette like Fox did with the Angel or Buffy the Vampire Slayer season sets.
As far as TV sets go, there have been better ones, but fans of the show will be happy that Charmed—The Complete Second Season is out now, giving them a chance to revisit the Doherty years. With the show's immediate future being uncertain, it's nice to have the older material available for consumption.
Combs, Milano, and Doherty are found not guilty, they make the black arts look real nice in belly shirts and tube tops, but Paramount is guilty for producing a phoned-in, completely lackluster release of an established show. As Charmed airs on the WB network, one would assume that their treatment would be better, and Paramount has to do better work if they wish to keep in the court's good graces.
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