Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charmed: Dream Sorcerer (1.5)

Weirdly for this show, Dream Sorcerer works better visually than it does everywhere else. I'm a huge fan of dream sequences on film (especially when they're done well), and the dreams depicted in this episode are gorgeous. The moody red coloring, the cold Garbage song playing. They're atmospheric and pretty darn sensual. It's unfortunate, however, that the reality-based scenes aren't so great. The idea of Whitaker Berman and his dream factory is surprisingly straight for such an eccentric fantasy show, and it's something that wasn't repeated too often. You can kind of see why, though, since icy laboratories and test facilities don't have the same visual impact of an underworld lair or whatever.

The script is pretty problematic here, due to the tone being all over the place. It really does feel like three entirely different shows have been spliced together, one a sexy thriller reminiscent of that pre-fame Naomi Watts show Sleepwalkers, the other a procedural with two Keystone cops investigating unexplainable phenomena, and finally a witchy sitcom about a love spell. I usually try and support Connie Burge's work, but this was a major scripting misfire.

Piper and Phoebe's love spell was very Sabrina the Teenage Witch, only with added dick jokes. I guess the story is fun in parts, but the complete lack of anything remotely compelling let the whole thing down. Maybe some insight into why both ladies felt they needed to cast a love spell? Other than that they're just a little horny right now? Ugh.

Thematically all over the place but gorgeous to look at, Dream Sorcerer is another weak season one hour, only saved by some winning performances and that great directing job by Nick Marck. C+

Guest stars Matt Schulze (Whitaker Berman); Neil Roberts (Rex Buckland); J. Robin Miller (Skye Russell); Alex Mendoza (Jack Manford); Jim Herzog (Hans)
Writer Constance M. Burge Director Nick Marck

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