When Charmed originally aired, I wasn't watching a lot of TV and I missed the first couple of seasons. But my fiance (now wife) was a fan from episode one, and I started watching it with her around season 3. I have been addicted, for better or worse, ever since, and when I sit back and watch Charmed, remembering it is an Aaron Spelling TV production, there is much more about it that I love/like than I hate/dislike.
First of all, Alyssa Milano (yes, I am a heterosexual man). She is one of the most sexy and beautiful women I have ever seen, and just being able to look at her is enough for me.
Now that I have that out of the way, I love the overall concept of the show. I have been a fan of science fiction, horror and fantasy based entertainment since I was a little boy, and having a show based on good witches battling the forces of evil is fine by me. Being a father and grandfather, the added aspect of the witches being family (sisters), Leo and Piper getting married and having children, well, I just like the whole family "thing". It has built-in conflict and unconditional love, and I really connect with that. Also, even when a story/episode is horrible overall, there is almost always a good message about life and relationships in general that takes some of the sting out. Charmed is an attractively shot show, you can tell they used very high quality equipment to provide a highly defined, sharply colorful picture. Most of the time the special effects are very good to excellent, although sometimes they fall into lameness, like when Phoebe is flying on the broomstick in the "All Halliwell's Eve" episode. I feel that the main characters and regular supporting cast over the years were uniformly good to great actors and actresses. In fact, Shannen, Holly, Alyssa and Rose all had some outstanding moments. The two examples that immediately come to mind are Alyssa's turn at the climax of "Morality Bites", and Holly in part one of "Charmed Again"- they both demonstrate some big-time acting chops when given the chance. I also really like the sense of humor displayed at times, particularly one-liners like when Prue sees Leo in the shower and says "Nice orbs", or in the episode "Sense and Sensibility", when Paige writes "Demons lie", and Phoebe says "Yeah, but not about literacy!" Finally, the people working on the show would throw in nice little touches, like having one of "Charlie's Angels" guest star in "The Day the Magic Died".
So, those are all reasons that I rate the show with a superb 9.0. Now, when I'm in a critical mood and watch an episode, there are a few things that drive me crazy. Like, no matter the time, place or situation, every female character always has freshly glossed lips finely coiffed hair. Ridiculous! Then there are the clothes and costumes, particularly what the sisters often wear. Yeah, I know I am a male and ancient, i.e. not the typical demographic for this show's audience, but I know goofy and silly when I see it! And my opinions on that are backed up by my wife, who IS a woman and knows how to dress truly stylishly. Then there are the glaring inconsistencies that often pop up, like birthdates and when events happen on the timeline of family history, like Grams being the Necromancer's lover in 1933, but then a participant in the hippy/youth culture movement of 1967, with Patty implied as being a young child needing to be watched by her paternal aunt? Possible, but hardly likely in real life. Then there are the inconsistencies with the use of plot devices. Example: In "Charmed and Dangerous", the Hollow has to be banished back to its prison by a spell chanted by one good and one evil magical being (in this case, Phoebe and the Seer), but then in "Charmed Forever", the trio of good only magical beings (Grams, Patty, and Piper) do the trick. Doesn't meet the test of reliability in my book. I also don't like how characters and places of great power and importance in the magical world suddenly, and surprisingly, are introduced, like the Cleaners and Magic School. Why didn't the Cleaners intervene in "All Hell Breaks Loose", thus preventing the exposure of magic and Prue's death? Yeah, yeah, in "real life" Shannen was not returning to the show and that couldn't happen, but in the context of the show its pretty stupid, just like your're telling me that in all the years they are together, Leo never once mentioned Magic School to Piper, besides the fact wouldn't the Cleaners and Magic School be in the Book of Shadows? Oh yeah, thats another thing, the Book of Shadows is supposed to allow evil creatures to touch it, but in "Thank You for Not Morphing" the evil guy not only touches it, he picks it up and carries it to the front door! Whats up with that? OK, I'll stop now. One final thing, anyone who says the Prue/Shannen Doherty seasons are far superior to the Paige/Rose McGowan seasons is full of crap. All you have to do is watch execrable episodes like "The Wedding From Hell" and "Wrestling with Demons", or totally boring ones like "When Good Warlocks Go Bad" or "The Painted World", and you know I'm right. Also, season 8 should not have happened, at least not with Kaley Cuoco/Billie. Somehow the producers felt some "new" and "fresh" female blood had to be introduced because the Halliwell sisters were all getting into their 30s, but she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag (for reference watch her try to "emote" in "Forever Charmed" after she kills her beloved sister- I wonder how many takes they had to do without the other three ladies cracking up?), and its been noted by other reviewers, the focus went way too much on Billie.
Have I gone on too long? Maybe, but I don't think so because thats how much I love this show, when all is said and done. How many of you, like me, have watched every episode and put down in writing a synopsis, character development, body count, concepts and characters introduced, spells and potions and powers used, etc. etc. etc.? Thats right, "Charmed Forever" indeed!