Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Charmed: Still Charmed and Kicking (8.1)

Here we go. Still Charmed and Kicking is the beginning of 'Zombie Charmed', an entirely unnecessary final gasp of existence that looks as ugly as sin and is barely as exciting. The premiere arrives with an awkward follow-up to last season's coda, the sisters now undercover with new identities and the demon community eager to unleash all kinds of shiny evilness now that the Halliwells are supposedly dead. It's the show going in the exact direction you'd think it would. There's no spark here, little purpose, and everybody seems entirely over the characters they're playing. Only Brian Krause seems to be having fun anymore, probably because he's shifted thirty pounds over the summer. But, wait a second. Here I am discussing weight loss when there's an enormously shitty elephant in the room that deserves immediate discussion!

Billie freakin' Jenkins, ladies and gentlemen. Uggghhhh. Kaley Cuoco's vacant delivery and porno-movie theme music slam into the show with all the fun of an acid shower, teen witch dressing up in inappropriate prostitute leather and back-flipping all over a bunch of demons. It's just terrible. Billie feels entirely un-Charmed, a snarky college bimbo with kung-fu fighting powers and a penchant for hideous one-liners. She doesn't do a whole lot here, but her three or four scenes are ridiculous and embarrassing in equal measure. I should really be holding back my vocabulary for this abomination, though, considering I have twenty-one more reviews to write. Oy.

Everything else is pretty awful. Phoebe's demise leads to an avalanche of undeserved adulation from her former colleagues, Paige continues to whine about having no direction in her life (despite abandoning at least three vastly different career opportunities in the last four years), and Piper is having second thoughts about the whole 'abandoning the Charmed Ones' idea. To be fair, the whole story is pretty illogical... so she has a point. But that's the problem with this show running for an eighth season. At least with Something Wicca This Way Goes you could imagine your own follow-through to the identity swap, here we get convoluted hijinks involving weasly FBI agents, bad plotholes and ol' gargoyle face Janice Dickinson.

Still Charmed and Kicking actually isn't a total horror show. It doesn't feature any truly abysmal moment along the lines of Paige dancing around a fountain in a Nymph costume or Phoebe riding naked on a horse. It's just tired, in every area. Everyone's bored, characters feel deflated, the antagonists are weak, the sets feel old. And there's a painfully transparent attempt to entice new viewers in the form of some barely-legal blonde in hooker gear. This isn't bad, it's just depressing. D-

Guest stars Janice Dickinson (Alternate Paige); Beatrice Rosen (Jenny Bennett); James Read (Victor Bennett); Jennifer Rhodes (Penny 'Grams' Halliwell); Rebecca Balding (Elise Rothman); Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Paul Haas); Derek Magyar (Elkin); Glenn Morshower (Agent Keyes); Adrienne Wilkinson (Alternate Phoebe); Brandon Quinn (Agent Murphy); Todd Cahoon (Coffee Guy); Dorian Brown (Alternate Piper); Nigel Gibbs (Jonah); Jason Lewis (Dex Lawson)
Writer Brad Kern Director James L. Conway


  1. I have to disagree. Every single frame of Billie in leather (and slow motion) no less backflipping or whatever was just as horrible as the Nymph and other tragedies. Actually, WORSE! I can't express how embarrassed I felt when I first saw this episode for the first time. Pure horror show and as Doherty once reportedly said: "for 13 year olds."
    God the atrociousness of it all. Ringer seems like a masterpiece in comparison!

  2. Great review as always.

    On the story side of things I agree. This episode & the whole season in general just felt unnecessary. The writers clearly had ran out of ideas years ago so to prolong the show for another season felt tiresome.

    Its funny that you say Billie feels entirely un-Charmed because as soon as she was introduced I felt this was the writers trying to give their version of Buffy Summers in the Charmed universe.

  3. I enjoyed the opening moments of this episode as I thought the actress playing Piper's disguise did a pretty great job of imitating Holly Marie Combs' mannerisms.

    Unfortunately, it dwindled from there, beginning with the appearance of Janice Dickinson.

    But you hit the nail perfectly on the head when you mentioned that the whole show itself regardless of the material feels tired and unnecessary.

  4. I agree about the Piper actress. I don't get why they didn't have her play the girl Piper permanently morphed into, instead of Beatrice Rosen.

    Thanks for finding the site, by the way!