That said, “We have not tried yet” to contact any of them, she said, when asked.
Which might account for the reaction to the reboot of original cast member Holly Marie Combs – she’s not a fan, to put it mildly.
Back in January, Combs took to Twitter to say, “Until you ask us to rewrite it like [exec producer] Brad Kern did weekly, don’t even think of capitalizing on our hard work.” The franchise “belongs to the four of us” she insisted, referencing fellow former stars Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan, as well as “our vast amount of writers, crews and predominantly the fans.”
Combs weighed in again in May, tweeting, “I will never understand what is fierce, funny, or feminist in creating a show that basically says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did 12 years ago.”
The reboot’s actress Madeleine Mantock said this morning at TCA she understands how the series original is “such a sacred things to them” and their fans. She said the series has hidden various Easter eggs in the script that pay homage to the original.
Combs’ reaction notwithstanding, Urman said she is “tapping into the passionate fanbase” though some of those fans have described the reboot as jettisoning a lot of the original show’s mythology. “This is a love story between three sisters — the core of the show remains the same,” Urman insisted.
When one journalist in the room, who said she watched all episodes of the original (translation: major fan), asked about jettisoning the rhyming couplets and other loved elements of the original series, Urman explained the reboot’s writers had to make “a thousand decisions” and there was “something about the rhyming that felt like it belonged to that show. She added, “We did not want to limit ourselves.”
Actor Rupert Evans, who plays the sisters’ mentor, may not have calmed the waters when he described the Charmed redux as “a completely different show. We’re in a different place, politically, culturally,” and how the show “deals with sexuality, which the original obviously didn’t.”
“It’s a more up-to-date approach to the whole Charmed thing,” he said.
One journalist asked the producers to address the backlash created “because the main characters were non-white” and how they are dealing with that and do they feel “special pressure knowing fans are reacting that way?”
The writer-producers seemed genuinely surprised by that one. Urman said she had no indication the backlash was about the characters being “non-white” but about it not being a revival of the original. “I have not felt the non-white backlash,” she assured the reporter.
Another journalist then expressed disappointment there had not been more reference to the sisters’ cultural background in the pilot episode and hoped that would be stepped up going forward. “Definitely,” Urman said, “We want to explore their unique heritage and the way their different cultures intersect with witchcraft.”
Turns out, all three sisters shared the same mother, who is murdered in the pilot, but each has a different father, with a different cultural background. “They have different fathers and that comes into play in their racial identities,” Urman explained.
Three of the writers on the show are Latinx, she said.
In the pilot episode, there is a reference to our current POTUS being involved in the upcoming apocalypse. Asked if they’d keep that up, Urman said they will carry forward that point of view adding that the climate we live in informs everything. But, as with the pilot, she said they would “steer clear” of actually saying Donald Trump’s name. Smart move since that would date the episodes.
Earlier in the day, CW chief Mark Pedowitz was asked why he decided Charmed was better as a reboot than a revival and answered, “We wanted to take a different path with it,” saying the show is set in a “more current time” and he wanted Urman’s “great” perspective.
“We wanted a different Charmed,” he said, calling the original “a great show for that time and place” but adding he hopes “people will come and watch [the reboot] and give a chance.”
The CW’s new version is set in a college town and follows the sisters who, after the tragic death of their mother, are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.