Charmed (1998) S1 Recap

Another rewatch commentary is upon us!

This time, we’re switching gears from the preppy and elite and traveling back in time to chronicle the lives of the most powerful witches to ever walk the face of the earth: The Charmed Ones!

To those of you familiar with the Gossip Girl rewatch blog series we published in 2023, you’ll find that this series will operate a bit differently. Instead of a new blog post every week reviewing 5-6 episodes at a time, we’ll be dropping new blogs biweekly to discuss the season as a whole.

Miss the episodic commentary? Fear not! We have created a podcast exclusively on Patreon where we analyze every episode Monday-Thursday! Check it out here.

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As always:

  1. Consuming this content works best if you have recently watched (or rewatched) the episodes along with us.
  2. All photos are courtesy of the Charmed Wiki unless otherwise noted.
  3. Spoilers abound. Read at your own risk.

Season Rating

Disclaimer: The top and bottom five episodes, as well as the seasonal rating, are highly subjective and may not align with the opinions of the masses. Feel like a different episode should be on the list? Tell us in the comments.

We gave each episode a rating from 1-5 based on magical involvement/lore, plot credibility (in other words, did the plot make sense?), and overall viewer satisfaction. From this, we were able to determine the top and bottom five episodes (more on that below) and calculate an average rating for the season.

With that being said, how does season 1 hold up? Drum roll please…..

Season 1 Rating- 3.4 (B+)

A B+ rating is above average, which is exactly how I would describe this season. Going into the rewatch, I found that my expectations of the quality of the early episodes were much higher than they should have been. That’s not to say the first season is bad…more like the episodes that were good were really good, but most of the others were either run-of-the-mill or downright forgettable, not bona fide shining stars. They averaged out to make for a pretty impressive first season overall, and it will be interesting to see how this rating compares to seasons 2-8.

Top 5 Episodes

Otherwise known as episodes a newcomer should absolutely watch

Ep 9- The Witch Is Back

This episode introduces the progenitor of the Charmed Ones, Melinda Warren, who is exceptionally portrayed by Tyler Layton. Here, we learn more about the sisters’ ancestry and understand the importance of their existence. I’m a sucker for these kinds of episodes, so don’t be surprised to find more of them in my top five lists moving forward.

Ep 4- Dead Man Dating

Piper shows off her ability to tap into emotions such as sadness and grief very well in this episode featuring Mark Chao, a ghost seeking her help to save his soul. Points go to this episode for pulling at my heartstrings and getting me to invest in the innocent of the week, which isn’t an easy feat given that nearly all of these characters only show up once. Mark is very memorable in spite of this, and is inspiring me to create a list of my favorite innocents at the end of the series…

Ep 17- That ‘70s Episode

We get to take a trip to the past in this episode, where we see the sisters’ mother and Grams. I enjoy seeing the younger versions of Piper, Prue, and Andy (shout out to the casting department for finding kids that look pretty dang similar to their adult counterparts) and find their plan to defeat Nicholas clever and exciting to watch.

Ep 1- Something Wicca This Way Comes

My credibility would be shot straight into the Underworld if I didn’t include the pilot on this list. We’re introduced to the Charmed Ones here, and get the chance to experience them learning of their destiny and becoming witches along with them. For a first episode, it is informative, witty, action-packed, and realistic, setting up the foundation for the main characters well and immersing us into their universe. Of course, as many of you OG fans know, this wasn’t the original pilot, and I would love to see the version with Lori Rom portraying Phoebe for educational purposes…

Ep 10- Wicca Envy

The end of the original episode order, Wicca Envy shows the series’s first Big Bad, Rex and Hannah, defeated at the hands of the Charmed Ones. I enjoyed them as villains and respect them for getting so close to eliminating the sisters, using real world tactics like framing Prue for theft and murder to wreak havoc on her life and make her vulnerable to their attack. Had Leo not been assigned to intervene, it’s very likely that the sisters wouldn’t have continued on as witches.

Honorable Mention: Ep 21- Love Hurts

This episode tied with Wicca Envy on our ratings board, and while I’ve always loved the heartwarming scene where Piper finally reveals to herself and Leo that she loves him, there is one glaring sore spot that I can’t ignore: Piper’s attitude when Leo is on his deathbed. Now, I know I just raved about Piper’s outstanding ability to show sadness back in Dead Man Dating, and far be it from me to judge how someone expresses their emotions, but Piper is downright unbearable here. She hadn’t seen Leo in months, now he’s in her attic fighting for his life and suddenly she’s terrorizing her sisters and his charge, who, lest we forget, is dealing with her own life or death situation. This becomes a significant character trait over the course of the series; years of demon fighting and personal tribulations harden Piper to the point that she’s borderline unlikeable (to me, at least.) Interestingly, this didn’t detract from what was otherwise a decent episode, formally introducing us and the sisters to Leo’s true identity.

Bottom 5

i.e. episodes that could magically disappear from existence and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash

Ep 20- The Power of Two

I’m not a big fan of the haunted ghost genre, so the plot of this episode already loses points for me. Additionally, being stuck with just Prue and Phoebe at this point in the series feels just as awkward as I imagine it’s intended to, making me wish I was watching literally any other episode. The one redeeming quality here is that we get to see the aftermath of the truth spell Prue cast on Andy a few episodes ago, which causes him to be realistically annoyed.

Ep 6- The Wedding From Hell

The wedding isn’t the only thing from hell here, and I’m not just saying that because nearly everyone on the set, including Executive Producer Brad Kern, hated this episode as well. It’s not good. The plot is all over the place: Allison is simply expected go along with the love of her life being married off to a new woman out of the blue, not to mention the fact that none of her friends and family seem to be taken aback by this (assuming Hecate and her minions even considered this, which is also never addressed in the episode.) Meanwhile, Phoebe believes Piper is pregnant with a demon baby due to a completely misguided premonition that doesn’t make sense for how her power is intended to work. It was the lowest ranked episode of Season 1 for a reason.

Ep 11- Feats of Clay

For a character who is lucky enough to get his name in the title of the episode, Clay sure doesn’t live up to the honor. He’s boring and forgettable, much like the plot. There are other episodes later on that explore mythological curses much better. Also, this is one of the very few episodes where the sisters don’t actually use their powers to defeat the Monster of the Week; Clay’s selfless act is what breaks the urn’s curse, which wasn’t even on purpose. How cheap. (Also, this was the “official” picture that the Wiki associates with this episode, which has nothing to do with the main plot. Trust me, the irony isn’t lost on me.)

Ep 12- The Wendigo

Prue and Phoebe leaving Piper alone in the middle of the night with a flat tire sets into motion yet another disappointing episode, this time featuring a Bigfoot-esque creature that, according to the Book of Shadows, kills “the good-hearted and those in love”. The motivation for this creature feels weak, and I am still trying to figure out how it’s able to tell who’s AB negative, because obviously that’s the blood type of the good-hearted. The only good part of the episode is the B-plot, where Phoebe has a premonition from an item at the auction house and is able to reunite a young girl with her mother after being missing for 10 years. Other than that, this episode feels like a ripoff of The X-Files.

Ep 5- Dream Sorcerer

On the vein of dumb plots that have nothing to do with Wiccan magic, we get Berman (aka the “Dream Sorcerer”), a mortal who just so happens to have access to highly advanced technology that allows him to enter people’s dreams. Sure, the Charmed universe includes some pretty far-fetched concepts from a real world perspective, but this feels too left field, more like a Black Mirror draft than anything. However, what really sends this episode over the edge is the subplot where Piper and Phoebe cast a freaking love spell to snag a man. It’s because of their carelessness that Prue gets sent to the hospital. New witches or not, that was very immature behavior.

Why didn’t you talk about episode X?

Remember, this is a seasonal recap; every episode won’t make the cut. If you want to hear our reviews on all of the episodes, you gotta go to the pod for that 🙂

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