Throw-Back Thursday: Ranking the top 5 episodes of “Charmed.”

It’s Throw-Back Thursday TV Fans!  For today, I am going to be counting down the top 5 episodes from Charmed Out of the 178 episodes of the series, it was extremely difficult to narrow this list down to just 5 episodes.  Over my many re-watches of the show, these episodes have stood the test of time.  As I re-watch the series each time, I find myself looking forward to them because they truly make an impact with me.  There have been different points in my life where many episodes of Charmed have gotten me through some really tough times and that just goes to show you how amazing this show is.  It’s not just about witchcraft and magic.  It’s about family, loyalty, and how to deal with the everyday demons in our lives, not just the supernatural.  The entire series is filled with great episodes, all connecting to create a believable story and providing us with some great entertainment, while keeping our favorite characters real, empathetic, funny, and significant in the process.  It’s hard not to feel like part of the Halliwell family when you invest so much time watching these powerful and amazing women.  These stand-out episodes below take it a step further, however; surpassing our expectations as fans and surprising us with unforgettable moments.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not yet watched the series.  My top 5 episodes from Charmed are:

5

“From Fear to Eternity.” (Season 1, episode 13)

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“Prue.  Prue. You must face your fears, Prue.  You must trust in the greatest of all powers.  Love.” (Patty Halliwell)

So for me this episode has to be the one that hooked me onto Charmed for good.  This episode was in the middle of the first season and really elevated the show to an entirely new level.  It’s Friday the 13th and we are first introduced to one of the greatest villains on the show, Barbas, the Demon of Fear.  I have to say that it was very clever to have episode 13 be the Friday the 13th one, which really made this episode that much more haunting.  The Demon of Fear has to murder 13 witches before midnight so that he can be freed, which is alarming enough for those of you who are superstitious.  What makes Barbas so frightening is that he brings a victim’s greatest fear to the surface.  The victim appears to die from a heart attack and their hair turns bright white from fright, which gets the police involved, but there is something so bone-chilling about this.  Just imagining this happening makes my skin crawl, which is why Barbas was such a genius villain and so difficult for the sisters to face.  This episode stood out to me as well because the sisters could not just rely on their magical powers to defeat him.  Phoebe is held captive by him and he lures Prue to the scene to get two witches for the price of one.  We learn in the episode that Prue is very fearful of drowning, as Barbas initially attacks her in the shower.  When Prue is in the pool, the spirit of her mother, Patty appears before her and tells her to trust in the power of love.  Prue is able to overcome her fear, which banishes Barbas.  It took Prue conquering her inner demons to be able to defeat this one and it finally allows her to open up to her sisters and let them into her heart, while still having plenty of room to remember and love her mother.

4

“Chick Flick.” (Season 2, episode 18)

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“You’re my hero Billy.”

“And I think you’re swell, Sally Mae.”

My top 5 list would not be complete without including “Chick Flick.”  I typically refer to this episode as “Kill It Before It Dies,” which is the old movie that Phoebe is obsessed with, currently playing down at the local theater.  In this episode, the Demon of Illusion flees from the Charmed ones and hides right in the movie.  The demon is not afraid to change the script and even recruits other psycho killers from different movies to attack the sisters.  Phoebe’s dream man, Billy, comes out of the movie and is still in black-and-white.  Phoebe is beyond thrilled and bonds with Billy.  I mean how many times have we thought about hanging out with one of our favorite characters?  Phoebe actually gets to do this which is beyond cool.  The sisters team up with Billy to fight the Demon of Illusion, but not before they get trapped in the film.  The Demon of Illusion explains that if they are stuck in there when the movie ends, they will never get out.  Luckily, Prue is quite the photographer and is able to rewind the film and vanquish the Demon of Illusion by leaving his frame under the light for too long.  Phoebe is forced to say goodbye to Billy, but is thrilled when she gets her own copy of the movie.  “Kill It Before it Dies” actually appears in three episodes of Charmed and even Cole tries to give her a message through the movie.  I mean you can’t knock him for lack of effort.  Either way, this episode is absolutely hilarious and fun.  If you’re having a bad day, I strongly recommend you grab your popcorn and watch this one.  And whatever you do…don’t hide from a psycho killer in the shower like poor Piper.

3

“The Seven Year Witch.” (Season 7, episode 16)

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“Leo and Piper’s love, it’s epic, it’s massive.  It’s Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Brad and Jennifer.”   (Drake)

There are a few reasons why I absolutely adore this episode.  First off, my absolute favorite character, Cole Turner is back.  Well not back to the land of the living, but he does act as a sort of mentor and guide for Piper who is currently trapped in limbo.  Meanwhile, the elders decide to test Leo and strip him of his memory and leave him out on an abandoned highway so that he can choose his path once and for all.  The path is not so clear-cut, however; as the elders do try to manipulate him by focusing on his love to help others.  Cole finally gets through to Piper and she realizes that she must let go and die and call out to Leo in order to reach him and the plan is a success.  While Drake should have probably picked couples in history that actually ended up together…or ended up surviving, the intent is there.  When I think about epic couples, Piper and Leo always come to mind and it’s because of moments like this.  Piper and Leo’s love transcends everything else around them and they are able to fight for each other and support each other through it all.  At the end of the episode, Drake’s life ends at midnight when he says, “Alas…pumpkin time.”  Fans learn that Cole sent him there to help Phoebe believe in love again, which is absolutely swoon-worthy.  Even though Cole can’t be with Phoebe, her happiness is all that keeps him going in the other plane and he will forever love her.  Phoebe even feels his presence in the house, which proves that they are still connected on some level.  Now that’s romantic.

2

“Centennial Charmed.” (Season 5, episode 12)

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“We’ve been through so much together…haven’t we?  Our love’s so strong, nothing can destroy it, not even this.  We’re meant to be together.” (Cole)

So even though Phoebe says, “I don’t think so,” it’s hard to fully believe this can be true.  I absolutely believe that Phoebe and Cole were meant to be together, but unlike Piper and Leo, they are unable to defeat everything that gets in their way.  Cole’s path toward self-destruction is beyond difficult to control and Phoebe will always choose her family over her love for him simply because she is selfless.  It’s a sacrifice and something that will always be with her, but it’s hard to agree that their love was not meant to be.  While I do think that her love with Coop later on in the series is a healthy and stable relationship for her, it comes as a close second to her passionate and messy romance with Cole.  This episode is the 100th episode of the show and I think that they really hit home with it.  Cole has been vanquished before, but he always finds some way back.  However, this time is different.  Cole reveals that it is his birthday but all he wants is a chance at love and happiness, which is heart-breaking and empathetic.   The Avatars approach Cole, which prove to be a greater threat later down the road with Leo, and Cole decides to use his new powers to cast a spell to alter reality so that he can win Phoebe back.  Only this has unforeseen consequences, as Phoebe does not love him in this reality anymore than she does now.  Cole’s plan back-fires when Paige sneezes and orbs out when the spell is cast, as he had anticipated her being dead in this reality.  Paige is able to convince Piper to help her, which is no easy task and the power of 3 is alive again.  Cole is not indestructible in this reality and when he is vanquished, it’s for good this time.  The end of the episode is bitter sweet, as Cole’s place is found empty and abandoned, revealing that he’s not coming back anytime soon.  Paige wishes him a happy birthday before she exits, which always brings me to tears.  The sisters did not want to vanquish Cole, but he made it impossible for them to live in a world with him.  Perhaps his path could have been different or perhaps it would end just the same, but it’s clear that he impacted more than just Phoebe, which makes his departure from the show that much more heart-breaking.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Charmed are:

  • “The Wendigo”
  • “Is There a Woogy in the House?”
  • “Déjà Vu All Over Again”
  • “P3 H20”
  • “Ms. Hellfire”
  • “Awakened”
  • “The Good, The Bad, and the Cursed”
  • “Just Harried”
  • “All Hell Breaks Loose”
  • “Brain Drain”
  • “A Paige from the Past”
  • “Charmed and Dangerous”
  • “Marry-Go-Round”
  • “Long Live the Queen”
  • “The Day the Magic Died”
  • “Sense and Sense Ability”
  • “Witchstock”
  • “The Courtship of Wyatt’s Father”
  • “Hyde School Reunion”
  • “Witch Wars”
  • “Charmageddon”
  • “Show Ghouls”
  • “The Torn Identity”
  • “Kill Billy: Volume 2”

1

“Forever Charmed.” (Season 8, episode 22)

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“And although we certainly had our struggles and heart aches over the years we’re a family of survivors and we always will be.  Which is why we’ve truly been Charmed.” (Piper Halliwell)

So I absolutely have to give the series finale of the show the number one spot.  Mostly because it truly sums up everything the way I would have liked.  I would say that the only thing missing was the presence of Prue but they did mention her.  The episode focuses on Piper using Coop’s ring to travel through time to save her sisters, which allows some of our favorite characters from the past and future to get involved to help save the day.  When the threat is over, we get a glimpse into the future of the lives of our favorite Halliwell sisters and everything is as it should be.  Piper’s words to her future grand-daughter remind us what the show is all about.  While the Halliwell sisters are powerful witches, they are much more than that.  They are survivors and they are a family that sticks together no matter what.  It’s hard not to fall in love with this show and every time I watch the series finale, it inspires hope and love.  While it’s always hard to say goodbye to the Charmed ones, you can always start the series over again, but knowing that they obtained the future that they deserved provides us with closure and satisfaction.  “The power of 3 will set us free!”

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post some of your own favorite episodes from Charmed below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

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Ranking the top 5 TV witches: “The power of 3 will set us free!”

Happy Friday TV viewers!  When you think of witches, what comes to mind?  Society has embraced the idea of the witch as an old hag with a wart, hooked nose, and pointy hat flying off on her broomstick, cackling across the night sky.  But to be honest, witches have so much more depth and character than this common stereotype.  Sure it may be fun to embrace the costume for Halloween, but what’s so great about witches is that they are a source of female empowerment.  They may possess magical abilities and can whip up a spell in the blink of an eye…or the wiggle of a nose, but what makes these women so intriguing is their humanity.  Some of my favorite witches on television desperately attempt to balance a “normal human life” with their calling and magical duties.  They want something more out of life and sometimes feel stifled by their magical responsibilities, feeling that it gets in the way of having true and meaningful relationships.  While they sometimes reveal their secrets to mortals, it is clear that being a witch is very complicated and not all it’s cracked up to be.  However, they sure do have some very cool magical powers that could come in handy now and again.  Please note some spoilers are ahead.  My top 5 TV witches are: 

5

Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries.

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When you combine being a witch with being a teenage girl, things get beyond complicated.  Bonnie and her best friend, Elena, live in Mystic Falls where it seems like supernatural beings are creeping up behind every corner.  While the show focuses primarily on vampires, Bonnie’s witchcraft is a key component and an influential force.  When Bonnie discovers her powers as a witch and realizes that she comes from a very powerful line of witches in history, she has to confide her secret to her best friend.  One of my favorite scenes occurs when Bonnie and Elena are sitting on the bed and Bonnie closes her eyes and makes the pillow feathers float all around them.  Her powers are beautiful and mysterious, but as the series goes on, she becomes more and more powerful.  While she sometimes drains on magic and needs strength from those around her, Bonnie is the essence of good magic and is a great asset to Elena and the Salvatore vampires.

4

Zelena aka The Wicked Witch of the West from Once Upon a Time.

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There is clearly a lot of unlocked magic in the quiet town of Storybrooke, ranging from evil queens to saviors.  However, when something wicked comes their way, Zelena proves to be the witch you don’t want to mess with.  She embraces the green skin and looks absolutely fabulous.  We later learn that Zelena is Regina’s half-sister, which explains their connection and Zelena’s constant quest for revenge against her.  While Zelena does transform into a powerful ally later on, her snappy one-liners and her refusal to let others get in her way make her stand out in a crowd of fairy-tale villains and heroes, absolutely stealing the show.  Fans everywhere root for Zelena and desperately want her to get her own version of a happy ending.  In the most recent season, Regina goes off to find Zelena in San Francisco, when a new memory curse has been cast on our favorite characters.  In Zelena’s new life, she is actually a cycling instructor and even tells her class to “fly like monkeys,” keeping her humor and character alive.

3

Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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While the show focuses primarily on Buffy and her strength and powers as a vampire slayer, Willow gives up on a being a quiet nerd in the background and tries out witchcraft to help her best friend fight evil.  In the beginning, her powers seem harmless and involve floating pencils, which does come in handy when she actually uses it to stake a vampire.  As the series goes on, Willow becomes more and more powerful and has an unquenchable need to consume magic.  This dangerous consequence leads to her tapping into dark magic.  Willow even gives up using her witchcraft, recognizing that the addiction is hurting those around her.  When her love, Tara dies in her arms, there is no stopping her, however.  The dark magic pours into her, making her one of the most powerful and dangerous villains Buffy and the Scoobies have ever faced.  Luckily, Xander is able to bring her back to goodness, refusing to lose his best friend to evil.

2

Samantha Stephens from Bewitched.

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This list would not be complete without including one of the most famous television witches who paved the way for the rest to come.  I grew up watching re-runs of the show in black and white and was mesmerized by Samantha’s powers.  With the wiggle of her nose, she used her magic to even the score, proving to be very powerful.  Samantha had trouble balancing her life as a loving housewife with being a powerful witch, introducing the very concept of a witch looking for something more meaningful in life beyond magic.  While she loved her husband dearly, she didn’t want to just be labeled as a housewife, still holding on to her identity as a witch.  Samantha was absolutely a source of female empowerment, refusing to merely comply in a man’s world.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick for TV witches are:

  • Sabrina Spellman from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”
  • Davina Claire from “The Originals”
  • Melisandre from “Game of Thrones”
  • Endora from “Bewitched”
  • Rowena from “Supernatural”
  • The Coven from “American Horror Story”
  • The Beauchamp family from “Witches of East End”

1

The Halliwell sisters from Charmed.

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So my number one pick has to go to the Halliwell sisters.  Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige all possess amazing magical abilities and have a sisterly bond that cannot be broken by any evil that comes their way.  Charmed is one of my favorite series of all time and each sister possesses their own strength, but as the “power of 3,” they are unstoppable.  My favorite power belonged to Piper who could literally freeze time by putting her hands up.  What makes the Halliwell sisters so great is that they didn’t always know they had powers.  When their grandmother dies and they move back into their child-hood home, they release the power behind the “Book of Shadows,” reconstituting the power of 3.  At this point in their lives, they are already dealing with finding love, finding a career, and dealing with the daily pros and cons of being a sister.  They are known as the most powerful witches of all time and many demons and evil beings try to defeat them.  When Prue is tragically killed off at the end of season 3, Paige Matthews steps in as their long-lost half-sister and has just as much power as the rest of them.  The sisterly bond continues and they deal with some really tough decisions.  On more than one occasion, the sisters have the opportunity to relinquish their powers and lead normal lives, but the Halliwell sisters embrace their destiny and understand that protecting the innocent isn’t just a job…it’s who they are.

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post your thoughts and comments below on some of your favorite TV witches.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Ranking the top 5 siblings from television: Family is where the heart is.

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, it’s a time to re-connect with family and remember what’s truly important in life.  Many of us have an unspoken bond with our siblings, whether it is inside jokes or a similar laugh, which is natural when you have all grown up together and faced many of the same challenges and shared similar memories.  This really got me thinking about siblings on television and how difficult it must be to create that connection instantly.  The actors on these shows already have the complicated task of portraying their roles and diving deep into what makes that particular character tick.  However, when you also need to add on a believable and real connection as siblings, this becomes even more difficult to capture.  For today’s topic, I am going to be ranking my top 5 siblings from television.  The siblings I chose are not just cast well.  Rather, they become so believable as siblings that I have to bring up Wikipedia on my phone just to double check that the actors are not relatedPlease note spoilers are ahead.  My top 5 siblings from television are:

5

Brandon and Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills, 90210.

The Minnesota Twins!

Who could forget when twins, Brandon and Brenda Walsh move from Minnesota all the way to glamorous Beverly Hills, California.  While the twins quickly realize that West Beverly High is not like any other high school they have ever seen, they fast-track into a superficial bubble where they are faced with difficult decisions.  Luckily, the twins have each other to support one another.  Some of my favorite moments on the show are when Brandon or Brenda would make a huge mistake and they would end up meeting in their Jack and Jill bathroom, relieved to see their other half so they could confide in them.  Brandon and Brenda share quite a bit of fights along the way and introduce new friends like Kelly and Dylan into the mix, but there is something about their bond as siblings that is wholesome and unbreakable.  Fans were disappointed when Brenda left the show, wondering where that would leave Brandon now that his beloved sister was gone.  While Brandon still kept viewers hooked with his charm and good sense of right and wrong, the earlier episodes with the Walsh twins had something truly special that could not be so easily replaced even with new cast members.

4

Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, and Liam Gallagher from Shameless.

“Hey, sometimes life throws a couple swings at you. But we’re Gallaghers, okay? And there’s two things that we’re really good at:  knowing how to get back up, and knowing how to party.” (Shameless)

This list would not be complete without the Gallagher siblings we have watched grow up over the years.  Fiona has the difficult task of taking care of her five younger siblings since their parents are rarely present…and when they are it’s like they are children too.  While this forced Fiona to grow up very quickly, she has always made it clear that family comes first.  The Gallagher siblings may appear to be a group of untamed misfits, but at the end of the day they are truly there for one another.  The family faces many problems over the seasons ranging from losing their house to Fiona winding up in jail.  When Fiona was not around, Lip and the others recognized that they now needed to step up.  Whether that meant collecting money in a jar for the electric bill or making sure that Liam was actually fed breakfast, the siblings are forced to grow up fast in a world that seems to be against them, but they are resilient and strong.

3

Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows from Prison Break.

“I’m breaking out, and you’re going to make sure my brother goes with me.” (Michael from Prison Break)

How many of us would tattoo our entire bodies with the blueprints of a prison and commit a crime so that you could help break your brother out of prison?  Seems extreme, right?  But Michael Scofield is a genius and will not stop until he frees his brother, recognizing that his brother was framed for a crime that he didn’t commit.  While this show keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with each new challenge that gets in the way of the escape, what keeps you coming back for more is the undeniable connection between Michael and Lincoln.  Lincoln is the older brother and used to take care of Michael when he was younger.  Michael feels like he owes him and has guilt about turning his back on him previously when he asked for help.  He sacrifices everything to help him escape, redefining what unconditional love means in the process.  Michael and Lincoln always have each other’s backs and their physical resemblance is uncanny.  Even though they are not related, I found myself repeatedly searching online to see if perhaps they were distant cousins to no avail.

2

The Halliwell Sisters from Charmed.

“The power of 3 will set us free!” (Charmed)

Charmed has always been a guilty pleasure of mine.  I always enjoy watching shows that feature a supernatural premise, but this series goes beyond that.  The sisterly bond between Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell is so heart-warming that you truly believe they are sisters.  In moments where one of the sisters faces an unstoppable evil or comes close to death, their heart-breaking tears even get me crying.  Through all of the evil monsters and demons they face as witches, they take the time to bond and fight over things normal sisters would, such as trying to stealing the other one’s boyfriend or remembering to ask before borrowing a favorite outfit.  This light comedy combined with some intense drama and action along the way makes this show truly unique.  Much like 90210, Shannen Doherty left the show, which had fans wondering how Prue could ever be replaced.  You couldn’t just recast her because the sisterly bond is what captured so many viewers.  Fans would have been put off if they just tried to pretend like another actress was the oldest sister. The producers and writers were smart enough to add in a new story-line where Piper and Phoebe discover that they have a half-sister they never knew about previously who could help re-establish the power of 3.  Whether you were on board with this or not, Paige stepped in seamlessly to fill the void Prue left and the sisterly bond continued to stay strong.

1

Dean and Sam Winchester from Supernatural.

“You saved my life over and over.  I mean, you sacrifice everything for me, don’t you think I’d do the same thing for you?  You’re my big brother.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”  (Sam from Supernatural)

So my number one pick for best siblings on television has to go to my favorite brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester.  The series has lasted for 13 seasons and is still going strong.  Like Charmed, this show features a supernatural premise…hence the title.  Sam and Dean are forced to grow up quickly when their mother dies when they are young and they follow in the shadow of their father’s footsteps to become hunters.  The brothers travel from place to place to take on cases and help save innocent lives, but deal with some powerful obstacles along the way.  Whether it is getting trapped in hell or purgatory or working with angels or demons, the brothers refuse to let death get in the way.  They support each other no matter what.  When one brother is going through a difficult time, the other recognizes that he needs to step up and help pick up the pieces.  Out of every show I have ever watched, the bond between Sam and Dean is the most real and uplifting.  You don’t doubt for a second they are brothers and you never give up on them.  What’s so great about the brothers is that they also have quite a few hilarious moments together as well, ranging from running away from an adorable Yorkie to reluctantly facing a child-hood fear of clowns.  This reminds viewers that the brothers are human and while their calling is to fight the good fight, they are not afraid to share some laughs too.  Fans love when the brothers show up posing as FBI agents, wondering what new dynamic duo they will pretend to be.  Like our own families, Sam and Dean portray the good, the bad, and everything in between, truly representing what it means to stick by one another through thick and thin.

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post your thoughts and comments below on some of your favorite siblings from television.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl