I had a special power as a child: No matter how perfectly rosy and healthy my cheeks were, no matter how energetically I had bounced off the walls just moments before, I could convince any adult that I was sick and had to be sent home from school immediately. Just like the witches of Charmed, I had the power to glamour — to change my appearance to suit my needs.
And my biggest need as a child was to convince grown-ups that the child who stood before them, theatrically coughing like a street urchin in a Charles Dickens novel, was gravely ill. Inevitably, my Mami would come to pick me up and shake her head in utter disbelief, mystified as to how my spell had worked on the school administration yet again. The second I got home, totally healthy, I’d run upstairs to my room, lock the door, and get to doing what I had planned all along: binging episode after episode of Charmed.
Sisterhood Is the Real Magic of Charmed
If you grew up in the ‘90s, you had a host of witch role models to choose from. Movies like Practical Magic had my sister and I casting homemade love spells with flower petals; The Craft inspired a new generation of teen goths and sent us all rushing to Hot Topic to buy chokers; and Sabrina the Teenage Witch had everyone daydreaming that puberty meant discovering you were magical, not awkward and utterly confused by the new concept of wearing a bra. But my chosen potion was always Charmed and the three Halliwell sisters were my role models. Their magic was so much more than typical pop culture witch fare. It was rooted in sisterhood.
The Power of Three’s impenetrable bond shone brighter than their sequined capri pants, and that dynamic made for something more timeless; a show where the fashion may be outdated, but the female relationships feel more timely than ever. As you may already know, Charmed is returning to TV this fall and will feature three new sisters — and this time they’re brujas.
So Much More Than a Typical ’90s Reboot
Developed by Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Urman, the new show features three completely new sisters: Macy, Mel, and Maggie. Judging from the limited footage we’ve seen, this reimagining promises that the show will be strongly influenced by deep-rooted Latinx magical traditions — a small but vital slice of representation our community sorely needs in the current political climate.
Reboots tend to face backlash from the original fans (and even original cast members), but this particular reboot is more than revisiting ’90s nostalgia to make money. It’s a well-timed cultural reimagining. If the source material is strong and relevant, why not expand it and create something modern and relevant?
When a reboot is done right, it can provide marginalized groups — women, people of color, the LGBTQ community — an opportunity to get a foot in the door with an established fandom. When there’s a built-in fan base, it’s more likely a project will have longevity. By reusing a familiar idea that a network or production studio knows has worked before, creators allow underrepresented communities to integrate their own vision into an established universe and make their own space.
Latinx Families Are Already Full of Magic
In my lifetime, I’ll get to see powerful women who look like me on TV defending the world from evil. Reboot or not, that is the true and undeniable new magic of the Charmed reboot. Even if you’re not ready to give this, or any, reboot a chance, we need to talk about how perfect a show and story Charmed is for a trio of specifically Latina witches.
Even if your ancestors weren’t full-blown brujas or curanderas, there’s a certain kind of everyday witchcraft involved in growing up Latinx. We grew up with sage and holy leaf next to the cilantro at the grocery store, and lived by a different set of rules: never open an umbrella indoors (it could bring harm to your grandmother), don’t leave your purse on the ground (your finances will suffer), and always put a glass of water under your bed (to ward off evil spirits).
My fondest memory of casual Latinx magic is an image of my mother and I wolfing down twelve grapes at midnight on New Years Eve (to ensure the next year brought prosperity and fortune). Some of it might sound like simple superstition, but there’s magic in tradition — and who’s to say that glass of water didn’t ward off evil spirits? At the very least, it came in handy when you woke up thirsty in the middle of the night.
Latinx Traditions Fit Perfectly in a Fantasy Setting
Our inherent cultural magic provides a perfect bridge into fantasy TV. The Halliwell Sisters draw their magic from each other — it’s the Power of Three, not the Power of One — much like the community inherent to most Latinx families. Our strength lies in our unbreakable familial bonds that transcend land and sea. Our unique and rich spiritual culture will only enhance the well-established and beloved landscape of Charmed.
I can’t wait to call in sick on October 14, so I can curl up with a special cup of tea from my auntie in Guatemala (she insists it will make my hair grow thicker), invite my own coven of family and friends over, smudge my apartment with palo santo, and welcome this new generation of witches into my home. We could all use a little magical healing right now. We could all use a little inclusive sisterhood.
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