HTF REVIEW: Charmed - The Complete First Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Scott Kimball, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG]
    Charmed - The Complete First Season



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1998, 1999

    Rated: NR

    Length: 16 Hours, 12 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (stereo)

    Subtitles: None

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    Estimated Street Price: Under $40, USD


    Release Date: February 1, 2005

    It is difficult not to compare Charmed with that other empowered female, good versus evil, hellmouthy show that began a season and a half earlier... a little show called Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. After all, both shows feature eye candy as one of the primary lures, empowered female heroes, and the whole ultimate good versus ultimate evil vibe. In Buffy, the doorway through which evil enters our world is the Hellmouth, located in the basement of Sunnydale High. In Charmed, evil passes through the Nexus, a mystical portal in the basement of the Halliwell Mansion in San Francisco. Both shows prominently feature the occult, witchcraft and demons. To be fair, though, witchcraft was not a dominant feature of Buffy until later seasons, after Charmed took to the airwaves.

    Charmed features three sisters, who when reunited, find themselves imbued with the power of magic. They are, in fact, witches. Prue, the tough eldest sister (played by Shannen Doherty), has the power of telekinesis. She can move things with her mind. Piper, the reserved middle sister (Holly Marie Combs), can freeze time - although, she has trouble controlling the “unfreezing,” sometimes to comedic effect. Come to think of it, she sometimes accidentally freezes time, too - which can be a hoot. Phoebe is the flighty youngest sister (Alyssa Milano). She can see the future and the past, and is perpetually disappointed that her older sisters got the “cool” powers. To make up for it, she takes up kickboxing. Sounds reasonable to me.

    The three witches need to keep their identities secret, because evil beings (warlocks and darklighters, among other things) seek to rob them of their powers - and their lives. All the while these good witches seek to do good deeds with their magic, making secrecy a bit more difficult.

    Charmed is somewhat successful in its genre, even if overshadowed by that other show. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I’m very much a fan of Buffy, which I think enjoyed some of the smartest plotting and wittiest dialog on television. While Charmed is somewhat weaker in those areas, it is an engaging show. Its strength lies primarily in Holly Marie Combs’ and Alyssa Milano’s portrayals of Piper and Phoebe. It employs humor to good effect, but with less intrepidity than is found in Buffy.

    Then there’s the whole eye-candy thing. That’s got to count for something.

    The Transfers
    Displayed in its native aspect ratio of 1.33:1, Charmed delivers a nice, if only slightly imperfect presentation on DVD.

    The show is offered up with excellent contrast. Black levels are very good, while maintaining good detail in the shadows. Whites are bright, clean and neutral - and never bloom. Colors are beautifully rendered, with accurate values and saturation.

    The episodes could be a bit sharper, but they have an acceptable level of detail for television product. Occasional shots exhibit some grain and / or digital noise, but the vast majority of them are very clean. There are occasional moire and aliasing artifacts, which are mild and seem to be noticeable only in outdoor scenes and some stock shots.

    Overall the episodes enjoy decent transfers that could have been made better with a touch more detail and a few less artifacts (mild, though, they are).

    The Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack offers up excellent frequency response and good channel separation across the front soundstage. The Pro-Logic mode on your Dolby amplifier will produce some ambient sounds in the rear channels, but mostly music reverb. Bass response in the music is exceptional. For a two channel track, this is nice.

    Special Features
    None.

    There are previews for other Paramount Television DVDs on disc one. As seems to be Paramount’s practice of late, these are semi-forced, and can be accessed via the menu, as well.

    There is no “Play All” feature on the discs.

    Final Thoughts
    I had never seen more than an occasional episode of this show. I enjoyed watching (most of) season one in its entirety and in order (I still have five episodes to go, and I’m looking forward to them).

    Charmed is a pretty good show. I look forward to another season of character and back-story development. It looks like this show could continue to be interesting. I’m sure there are plenty of people reading this review who could confirm that.

    Video and audio are above average for TV product. Nicely done, and at a nice price... though it would be nice to have one or two little extras.
     
  2. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 1999
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Princess Anne, Md. USA
    Real Name:
    Pete
    Thanks for the great review Scott! I so can't wait to finally get my copy! I am a huge fan of Charmed and my favorite character has to be Piper.

    When I finally get my set... I am going to put a do not disturb sign on my door and dare ANYONE to try and bother me till I am done with this set! [​IMG]
     
  3. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2000
    Messages:
    2,909
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Real Name:
    Michael Chen
    Greetings

    Charmed is actually more based/inspired by the film "The Craft" than Buffy.

    Regards
     
  4. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    yep, that is true, but it's also pretty obvious that the success of Buffy on the WB paved the way for them to consider doing a show like Charmed. There's been a few references to Buffy over the shows run too
     
  5. Will_C

    Will_C Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Will
    Been waitin' for this! I'll be submersing myself in Holly Marie Combs non-stop next weekend! :b
     
  6. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 1999
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Princess Anne, Md. USA
    Real Name:
    Pete
    I'm right there with you Will_C... I mean they are all lovely in their own right... but Holly Marie Combs has always been my favorite!

    My set shipped yesterday.... so I am just hoping it gets here in time for me to enjoy it next weekend... or even sooner! [​IMG]

    I am telling all my friends and family... untill I get finished with this set I do not want to be disturbed for any reason! [​IMG]
     
  7. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,043
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I picked this set up today at lunchtime because I remember that I absolutely loved the show at one time. I popped in disc 1 and so far have watched the first 15 minutes of the first episode. I started realizing why I liked the show so well back then. It really had a different feel to it during the first few seasons... I dont know... maybe it had a more serious tone to it or something.

    I still watch the show every week but I just don't seem to like it as well as I used to. I think it may have "jumped the shark" for me sometime during the 4th or 5th season (about the time they introduced the whole Harry Potter-ish magic school thing).

    Anyway... I will definitely be buying the next 2-3 seasons when they arrive on DVD in the coming months (or so I've read).
     

Share This Page