The Charmed Life

The Pilot
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The untransmitted TV pilot...

An unknown witch is saying a spell in her apartment when she is interrupted by a person she appears to know, dressed in a rain coat. As she is asking the person why he is here, he stabs her, stealing her power to conjure flames at her finger tips.  At the Halliwell manor, Piper and Prue are talking about Piper's job interview tomorrow. Prue says that she found their old spirit board while she was trying to fix the electricity which had gone out because of the storm.  Darryl is at the murdered witch’s apartment, investigating her murder, when Andy appears and reveals he has been visiting occult shops, following a lead that all the victims are witches who have been stabbed by an athame.  Back at the manor, Piper suggests that since Prue wanted a roommate to fill their spare room, Phoebe should come home and live with them. Prue says that’s not possible, saying Phoebe lives in New York, but Piper reveals that Phoebe left New York and is on her way to the manor. As soon as Phoebe arrives there is immediate tension between Prue and Phoebe.  Later that evening, Phoebe and Piper are downstairs using the spirit board, updating each other with their love lives, when the pointer starts moving on its own, and spelling out the word "ATTIC".  Prue is very sceptical, Piper is freaked out and Phoebe is intrigued. Phoebe goes to the attic and finds the locked door opening itself. She discovers the Book of Shadows and reads an incantation to return their powers to them. Prue and Piper come up to the attic and neither of them are as excited about a chance to become witches as much as Phoebe. She stays awake all night reading the Book of Shadows.  Throughout the following day, the sisters discover their individual powers. Prue is annoyed with Roger, her ex-fiancÚ, who is trying to accept full credit for an exhibition which Prue had worked hard for, and ends up with a pen which leaks in his pocket and then explodes in showers of ink when he tries to examine it.  Piper is auditioning for a job as a chef in a restaurant but has not had time to add the port, which will make the recipe when the man comes in and demands to taste it. She throws her hands up in despair and freezes him. This allows her to add the port and secure the job.  Phoebe meanwhile is riding her bike when she has a premonition of a boy being hit by a truck. To prevent this from happening she swerves in front of the van, and ends up saving the boy.  Prue, meanwhile, is picking Phoebe up from the hospital when she runs into her old boyfriend, Andy the inspector and it is revealed that he "checked up" on her. After talking to Phoebe about her powers, and realises she can pour milk into her coffee using her mind.  Jeremy is thrilled Piper has got the job and after their date wants to take her to an abandoned warehouse to show her a view of the Bay Bridge. However when they are alone in the elevator, Jeremy reveals he is evil. He is actually a warlock who has grown close to Piper so he can kill the Charmed Ones and obtain their powers. When he tries to attack, Piper freezes him and manages to escape.  When they arrive back at the manor, Piper bursts through the front door, asking Phoebe if she knows how to vanquish a warlock. The sisters concoct a potion and say a spell which causes Jeremy to break out in thorns, but according to Phoebe's premonition, this does not stop Jeremy. He arrives at their house and the girls realise the only way to vanquish him is to use the inscription on the back of the spirit board, "The power of three will set us free" and Jeremy is destroyed.  The next morning, the girls have finally accepted they are not normal but after a conversation with Andy Prue asks "Do witches even date?" to which Piper answers, "Not only do they date, but they get the best guys." Realising that this could be a great opportunity for them all, the girls enter the house together and Prue shuts the door with her newly acquired power of telekinesis.


My Review


Not a bad story, it's got it's high points (good use of The Doors songs) and it's low moments (a no budget wardrobe) and some rather ropey CGI and some ham so thick you could open a deli. However given its status as a pilot, and an unused one at that, most of those things can be forgiven as the main aim of the story is to convince the execs that the project is worth investing in and that it'll get a lot of viewers to watch the commercials between the segments of the show. Jeremy is such an unconvincing villain, he's basically a stuntman with lines and no talent to deliver them, at least that's how he comes across to me. Chris Boyd as Andy seems to be channelling the TV series Miami Vice and Lori Rom's Phoebe, while well-acted just lacks a certain presence everytime she shares a scene with either Shannon or Holly (so you can see why they had to recast the role to find a stronger actress). Still it's a lot better than some TV pilots I've seen...

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