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Lets face it, three hot babes starring in a supernatural drama that features a bit of action and some cool special effects- now if that isn’t a recipe for success, I don’t know what is. And considering that CHARMED has already been on the air for seven years, I’d have to say recipes don’t come much tastier or successful than this one. Personally, I’ve been watching CHARMED since it first started airing on the WB and (pardon the pun) immediately came under the show’s spell. Even after the departure of one of the show’s leading actresses, CHARMED continued its winning ways of conjuring an audience of devoted fans that tuned in to the series week after week.

For anyone not familiar with the basic premise of CHARMED, the series tells the story of the three Halliwell sisters, who after the death of their grandmother discover that they are destined to become The Charmed Ones- three of the most powerful witches the world has ever known. Week after week, the Halliwell sisters use their powers to protect the innocent and fight against the forces of darkness. CHARMED stars Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell, the eldest sister, who has the power to move objects with her mind; Holly Marie Combs is middle sister Piper Halliwell, who can freeze time and Alyssa Milano is Phoebe Halliwell, the youngest, who has the gift of second sight. The year one cast of charmed also features T.W. King, Dorian Gregory and Brian Krause.

CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($50) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features all twenty-two episodes that were aired in the show’s freshman year. The twenty-two featured episodes are as follows: Something Wicca This Way Comes, I've Got You Under My Skin, Thank You For Not Morphing, Dead Man Dating, Dream Sorcerer, The Wedding From Hell, The Fourth Sister, The Truth Is Out There... And It Hurts, The Witch Is Back, Wicca Envy, Feats Of Clay, The Wendigo, From Fear To Eternity, Secrets And Guys, Is There A Woogy In The House?, Which Prue Is It, Anyway?, That '70s Episode, When Bad Warlocks Go Good, Out Of Sight, The Power Of Two, Love Hurts and Deja Vu All Over Again.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-two episodes from CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. I have to say the episodes look quite nice; they are not the best looking episodes of a television series ever issued on DVD, but they don’t give one anything to complain about either. Image quality is good; everything appears reasonably sharp and produces respectable definition. Some shots look a little softer than others, but nothing is ever out of sorts. Colors are pretty nifty; there are some vibrant hues along with natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, whites are clean and contrast never really strays beyond the level of television lighting. The film elements from which the episodes have been transferred appear clean and free of overtly noticeable flaws. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are always nicely camouflaged.

All the episodes that comprise CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. While I think 5.1 would have sounded slightly better, the soundtracks are pretty much what one would expect from something originally designed for the broadcast medium. The forward soundstage is completely dominant, with the rear channels adding ambience and a bit of musical fill. There is some channel separations across the front, but the track never seem overtly directional. With its youthful target audience, CHARMED always had a strong musical component to the episodes, and the music always manages to sound just fine. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks are provided, nor have subtitles been included. While the basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection features, no additional content has been provided, other than promos for other Paramount television on DVD products.

As a fan, I am delighted that CHARMED: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is available on DVD. The episodes look and sound just fine, and despite the lack of extras, the bargain prices charged by Internet retailers, the collection makes for an irresistible DVD. Recommend to fans of The Charmed Ones everywhere.



Charmed - The Complete First Season (1998)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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