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"Oh, you always so grouchy when you get cut in half."
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November 28 2003

"Ten Ways That Charmed is Better Than Buffy" Okay, so this article is almost a year old, but I just read it and it made me mad, so I felt I must show you to make you mad as well.

I don't read or write fanfic, so I have no clue who Robert Black is (though I did enjoy that Nickelodeon show when I was younger.) I think he should petition for the inclusion of missing the point as some type of Olympic event, because, I mean, he'd be like the gold-medal-winning missing-the-point decathelete. By the time he catches his first glimpse of it, the real point will actually be elderly and wrinkled--he's that many light years away.

AFAIK Robert Black is a big Tara/Willow fan (of Kitten board fame) who has been very vocal about his dislike of the show since Tara's demise. His rants have been printed in various online publications. I can't think of his nick right now, which might ring a bell. Before he went off on the show provided spy reports from location shoots.

He writes:
In "Centennial Charmed," the three Charmed Ones reunite in the alternate universe and triumph over evil.

In "The Wish," alternate-Buffy and her alternate-friends kill each other in a meaningless fight. I say "meaningless" because Giles is the one who saves the day, and he's off somewhere else doing something completely unrelated.

That difference says it all.


I think the difference is that Mr Black likes the nice rosy picture of Hollywood endings.

Welcome to the real world.
I've never had the patience to sit to an entire episode of Charmed and you're talking to a guy who saw Gigli without walking out of the theater.

[ edited by splay on 2003-11-28 08:42 ]
exactly prolific...i was sitting here reading that and all he seemed to care about was that the good guys always won, that relationships always worked out and that it means everything that a african-american person is on the show - um ok

i'm sorry that buffy has more depth and is able to deal with both sides of each issue
Charmed is dreck, and shouldn't even be compared to a show as rich and complex as Buffy just because each has characters that are witches. Totally different playing field. I can't change the channel quickly enough after the Angel rerun on TNT ends.
Thank you for spreading the pissiness, it certainly worked. It's funny that while reading that article I found most of his cons about Buffy to be some of my favorite aspects of the show. The lack of black & white morality and characters who always do the right or wrong thing is what makes Buffy the most realistic show I've ever seen. The characters always seemed REAL to me, and I think most Buffy fans feel the same way.

And don't even get me started on the comments about death in the Buffyverse. I'd like to see Charmed handle death as realistically and with as much depth as an episode like 'The Body'. Joyce, Tara and Jenny Calendar were all mourned for extended amounts of time as well.

Oh, and why would the Watcher's Council send another Watcher for Buffy in season 6 when she defiantely quit the council in season 3, then told them to bugger off yet again in season 5? Did Mr. Fanfic Award Winner even remember this?

There's about a million other things I could point out that are wrong wrong wrong in this article, but I think I'll leave some for everyone else.
I thought the first couple of seasons of Charmed were okay. But now the show boils down to nothing but a supernatural showcase for T&A. Someone, usually Phoebe, (or if it's a Very Special Episode- all of them) gets possessed by something sexy, which enables her/them to show their boobs.

The show could have been really awesome. Magic and family unity make a great mixture. The same themes have been used quite well in the Jossverse afterall. But the show went in a direction I'm not interested in. Sure, Alyssa Milano is proud of her rack, but I really don't care. The Charmed Ones travel through time. They turn into vampires, mermaids, pixies, furies... whatever. It's like the Kooky Chicks Wacky Dress-Up Fun Hour but nothing ever means anything. Yawn.
Totally agree with Lalaa
Never really watched it, just struck me as a fluffy lightweight series. Though I did hear about the Irish leprechaun episode and was suitably bemused.

Black's nickname was BBOvenGuy btw.
Hey! I remember that sn! Didn't he used to contribute to SpoilerSlayer?

I didn't read his article because I knew there was no chance of rebuttal and I didn't want to stew in my own juices, but how can ANYONE on the planet think that Charmed is a better show than BtVS?

I get embarrassed for us Buffy fans whenever I even flip past that show on tv. Charmed makes us all look like indiscriminate idiots. Like we'll watch ANYTHING as long as there is magick... Ew. I feel ill.
Correct you are, Willowy...I absolutely hate being lumped in with those who will watch anything in the sci-fi/fantasy/gothic etc. genres...Buffy is so trancendentally superior to, well, pretty much everything TV has offered to date that any sort of comparison to something as inane and cheesey as "Charmed" is ludicrous.

I tried it once. "Charmed", I mean. Was not.
The one thing I noticed with the two Aaron Spelling shows I've watched (Charmed and 7th heaven) is that he has a habit of devoping interesting characters and taking them nowhere. I watched 7th heaven for the very reasons the writer of the article likes charmed. The good guys always win, love conquers all, and there's always a lesson learned. I watch Joss's shows because the writing moves me deeply; its everything Hollywood isn't. Comparing Charmed and Joss's shows is like comparing apples and oranges.
Just want to address just a few of the MANY things that rubbed me the wrong way in this article...

"In Charmed, death is real"
"On Buffy...itís as if they were never there."


OK, maybe a show like Charmed has has to deliberately have lines like "Oh I miss my sister", "Oh my Parents, they died..WHY?? I mourn. I so mourn!"
But mourning is not always vocal or in your face. Buffy mourns her mother's loss everytime looks at her sister and everytime she tries to keep her family together. Willow mourns Tara everytime she thinks of magic and everytime she feels "ordinary". The Writers don't have to explicity write this in because, guess what, they've developed the characters to a point that just a look, a gesture can let the audience know how the characters feel...And oh course it also helps his article that he totally glosses over "The Body" and "The Killer in Me".


"A show needs to keep developing its characters and its surroundings, bringing in new ideas, new settings, and different challenges. Charmed has done that. Buffy has not."

And I assume Charmed has done this in just that one year that you decided that Charmed was better than Buffy...right.


"Even the Buffy producers have disagreed about what the relationship[Buffy and Spike] really means, and that leaves most viewers seeing nothing but a confused mess."

OR maybe, just maybe, it let's us intellegent viewers to make our OWN conclusions. I've never sat through more than a couple of Charmed eps, but this guys "pros" for Charmed are glaring "cons" to me. Simply put, Charmed is spoon-fed to it's audience and Buffy is just set (with great presentation of course) before it's audience so it can be taken and digested in different ways.

"Underlying these ten points, and the difference between Buffy and Charmed overall, I think, is that Charmed has never forgotten that itís a TV show."

Well shows that never forget they are TV shows shouldn't be lumped together with shows that strive to be something more.

At the end of the day, as been said before, Charmed and Buffy should not be compared because they are NOT the same type of show, regradless if witches are common to both. Truthfully She Spies seems to be a more appropiate match to Charmed..and even then..I'd rather watch She Spies.

[ edited by protector on 2003-11-29 00:41 ]
"Charmed" has the depth of a damn puddle!!!
If I wanted to see women running around half naked, I'd watch Baywatch. And didn't they recently have an episode titled "Dirty Blonds"?

Anyway, BtVS was a show that makes you think. "Charmed" is a show that you just sit back and watch and accept. Too black and white.
Just my opinion, of course.
First off, thanks for the post. I'm writing a long article on the world of fanfiction this weekend, with about 500 words on the Willow/Tara Revisionists, and this story helped me out. Thanks.

Second - I agree with MindPieces. I avoided Buffy for years because I assumed it was typical Fantasy dreck. When I finally saw Season 2, I was hooked by the incredibly dark and touching UNhappy endings - the murder of Jenny Calender and Buffy's reluctant murder of Angel. For the same reason, I think Season 6 really cemented the show's greatness. Viewers invested years of their lives in these rich characters, and when the bottom fell out, it was truly heartbreaking. Isn't that the mark of a great show (or great piece of art in general)? Anything can make you happy for 60 minutes, or even sad for 60 minutes. It's truly something when a show can break your heart, and haunt you.

So Buffy > Charmed. No contest.
As some one who is a Wiccan, I have to say that I was disappointed in how my religion was handled on Buffy. Wicca is an earth based religion that follows a basic rule that says you can do as you want as long as it harms no one. We don't sacrifice animals to Gods, we don't use magic (prayer) to manipulate and control people (because that breaks the basic rule of harming). There were so many things that they did on Buffy that upset a lot of Wiccans but we all still loved the show. As for Charmed being more accurate in regards to Wicca, well that is a fact but that show is supposed to be about three Witches who call themselves Wiccan and they do try to potray Witches as good and that is a fact that Wiccans don't do evil things. But they don't potray Wicca as a religion which it is. They have mentioned that they are Christian. They've been seen wearing crosses and not pentacles(which is the Witches equivalent to the cross and represents the Spirit, Earth, Water, Fire and Wind). And because the show is about three witches and they use the term Wicca of course they are going to be more closely watched by Wiccan groups to see if they are being accurate. Buffy was a show about a Vampire Slayer who's friend became a Wiccan. And in reality, a lot of people call themselves Wiccan or Witches and don't really get the religious meanings to it for people who truly feel they are Wiccan. But one thing not mentioned, Tara truly seemed like a Wiccan and she constantly was trying to remind Willow of what was right and what was wrong and that Willow was abusing her power and not using it for good. That is all very Wiccan.

As for the other dribble - well, I've watched Charmed in the past, liked it at times, was bored stiff at other times. Got sick of seeing Phoebe half naked all the time and the show seemed to be all about her most of the time too. All I know is I haven't watched it once this season, have had no desire to watch it, don't give a crap what's going on either. I watched Buffy to the very last second. Some think the last two seasons sucked, but I liked them. Maybe they weren't as great as some but Buffy was always entertaining and had the airways and internet buzzing after every show. I really doubt Charmed has that kind of power and I really doubt that people will care once Charmed is gone. Tuesday nights suck without Buffy.

As for the comments about people staying dead on Charmed. Well that's baloney. How many times has the grandmother and the mother come back as ghosts and I guarantee that if Shannon Doherty decided she wanted to come back, they'd find a way to bring her back. Of course they are going to keep mentioning her once in awhile, she was a key character (and in my opinion the best of the sisters as far as how interesting she was). But the actress wanted out and she didn't want anything to do with the show. And as for the comments about happy endings, that's also baloney. Piper and Leo were constantly fighting and Piper turned into a major nag. Phoebe was always dropping her pants for the next nice looking guy whenever Cole was out of the picture and Page seemed to be constantly bed hopping in the beginning. As for someone that's been married for 18 years I think I know something about a long term, happy and committed relationship and Charmed does not portray that at all. Buffy honestly portrayed that there is no such thing as "Happily Ever After" and that relationships need work to survive no matter how much love and passion is involved.

As for the African American comment about them dying on Buffy, again baloney. Charmed has that one guy who they bring in every once in awhile. He started off as Andy's buddy and when that actor left, they needed to keep a police presence that they could be friendly with and who knew the story so he was the obvious choice. Had nothing to do with his color. Principal Wood not only lasted but he had a very big part of helping in the end and he would've been a part of Faith's world if there had been a spinoff. And Giles girlfriend was black, and she was the only girlfriend he ever had on the show.

My final comment is I can think of 100's of Buffy moments that made me weep, gasp, laugh outloud, you name it, every emotion that there is I've had while watching Buffy (and sometimes all of them in the same episode). I can't think offhand of one Charmed moment that moved me to any of those emotions. Buffy will always be dear to my heart and there will never be another show like it. Charmed will always be a cheap imitation of Buffy, where the power of three can't compare to the One who was Chosen!
Why did Black even attempt to compare "BTVS" to "Charmed"? That's like comparing Charles Dickens to Sidney Sheldon. It would have been more accurate to compare/contrast "Bewitched" with "I Dream of Jeannie." Buffy is so far superior to anything else on TV. Joss Whedon rules on TV along with Aaron Sorkin (when Sorkin is not being a coke-head.)
Wow, We buffy fans are a tad bit defensive, aren't we? And I agree with everything that has been said already, so I won't restate it. How cool would it be if Joss could get Aaron Sorkin to write an episode of Angel?
That would be cool. I found it interesting that most of his criticisms apply equally to The West Wing and Sports Night (which, in character-structure, are very similar to Buffy and Angel). Perhaps there's some disconnect between folks who can get the surface things right (which seems to be what Black wants: happy endings, conceptual integrity, racially diverse casts) and those who can get the deep emotional things right (e.g. The Body, NoŽl). To me, the latter is way more important.
aaronsw, Sports Night as in the peter krauss show? how so if that's the one you referred to?

LB, hear hear re: sorkin
This article is a great BIG load of bullshit!
A fully clothed Sarah Michelle Gellar is ten times sexier than all three of those over the hill fat cows combined. There is no way the exposed flesh on that show is for the benefit of male viewers, unless they have a crush on their slutty/boozy aunt.
If anybody wants a taste of what the Buffyverse/Jossverse would look like if it existed in the realm of conventional TV, go look at "Awakening" from Angel Season Four. The pat inspirational pep talks about how we're all in this together, champions every one of us, the all-too-neat making up between Wesley and Angel, Connor and Angel, Cordy and Angel, the trite and cliche tying up everything neater than a Christmas present...and then...not to be...Angel has indeed been returned to being Angelus...the fluffy happy-ending was merely Angel's dream of how it could all be just perfect...but...that's not life.

Actually, this episode is almost a perfect distillation of how the Jossverse is endlessly superior to conventional TV. Go watch it again with that notion in mind, and tell me what you think.
Vpecoraro, that's a little offensive. We don't want to create that kind of atmosphere here, so I'd appreciate it if you tone it down a little.
Excellent. One of the sharpest bits of satire I've seen in a long while. Really puts the hacks at teevee or TWOP in their place.

Oh wait, he's serious.

What a marroon!
I feel better. I do. Just to see so many like-minded people. It has annoyed me to tears that 'Buffy' and 'Charmed' are so often compared, and articles like this are insufferable to me.

My definition of Charmed: The answer to the question 'What do you get when you cross 'The Craft' with 'Buffy' then leave out the creativity, originality, wit and budget, add heaps of make-up, boobs and wardrobe and yet still make it truly only for girls?'

I have tried, really I have. I've made efforts to make it through episodes but dear god.... Someone should make a list of the many ways it rips Buffy off! Except instead of making even a decent copy they subsequently turn it into crap! But stil so much is blatantly stolen. The whole concept of magicaly empowered women battling evil while quipping.....anyone really think this show would be on the air if Buffy never existed? And let's see, a lover who's never quite accesible and who is an *Angel*.......okay. And then the lover who has a evil demon side/personality to him. Hmmmm where have I heard THAT before.

And anyone ever notice how almost every episode the guys (especially the angel guy) do nothing but stand behind the girls and look concerned while they stand in the same poses and throw out another spell from one of those 'My Pretty Pony' books?

AGH, and this 'list' was a joke. "A black character lived!!" Yeah okay, that's the measurement of a good show. Think I'll complain about the lack of white or asian or native american characters on Cosby, Fresh Prince or any current sitcom on UPN. What does it matter??

Also, Jenny Calendar was never 'brought back' and when her memory is used against Angel and Giles I'd say that pretty much showed that her death mattered to the characters, hm?
Also, Willow's magic never changed in nature of how it's portrayed in the show. What metaphor it was in the storyline changed, but that has nothing to do with what magic is in the Whedonverse in itself. Because that was pretty much consistent. If it had gone from learned knowledge of magical forces to a mutant power, then yes, this guy would have had a point. As it stands he needs to think a little deeper about the words he's writing.

As for his insipid paragraph on 'forces of good', that has nothing to do with one show being better than the other, that's simply him preferring a nice, childish simplistic fantasy universe where there are fair godmothers that are always good and always help you. Now, prefer that if you want, but it is simply taste in style of story and ideas. It has NOTHING to do with either show being 'better' in quality. And people who don't understand those concepts shouldn't write articles to begin with.

but then most of this drivel seems based on the fact that the writer wants nice simple black-and-white views on good and evil. People in distress, white hats and black hats and always a happy end. For pete's sake go watch the care bears and leave people who prefer more adult, more complex, more ambigous and ambitious stories to those who can handle them!

ARGH! Now see what he's done! I'm all mad and ranting and going on forever. Ah it's late, I should sleep and stop while I'm behind. Sorry for this messy angry post.
EdDantes - Loved your "messy angry post"!
EdDantes - Don't let Black (the author) get to you. When he was publishing his screeds aganist the Willow/Tara arc back in 2002, I spent a week ranting & raving with him until I accepted the fact that he was a totally disillusioned Whedon-geek who had way too much time on his hands and a massive grudge aganist Whedon for killing off Tara. Ann Coulter like, he will leave out any quote, scene or whole storyline that doesn't back up his view of reality. Since the whole Tara thing, he seems to live to deride every single thing Whedon has every done despite the fact that he's own website was a shrine to the shows up until April 2002. Just remember that no one is listening to him. Not the New York Times editorial marking Buffy's passing. Not the numerous academic confrences & books dedicated to it. Not the constant praise in such respected press as Salon, The Village Voice, and too many others to name. He's just a weird guy ranting into the void.
ALL HAIL THE MESSY ANGRY POST!
LOL. Thanks.

And Unitas, your description of the guy explains a lot. It's amazing how some people went totally overboard when Tara died. Hey I liked her too, but really, the fact that 'Buffy' wasn't afraid to have long running characters die off has always been a plus to me.

It made you actually worry about people in the stories you know?

Ah, anyway, BtVS (and AtS) has been groundbreaking TV. Charmed is simply one of the many parasites in it's wake. (Hm, the light of morning has done little to soften me up.)
I didn't watch Buffy at first because i thought it was just a corny pointless show. Obviously, i had never watched it or i would have known better. BTVS has affected me in ways that i never thought a tv show could-the strong central female, character, the witty quips, the amazingly deep and rich storylines-i often found myself laughing, crying, angry-no matter what the emotion, Buffy always brought a feeling of meaning with every episode-and i am angry that Black would compare an epic like BTVS with a piece of crap like Charmed, which i agree with everyone is just a showcase for ALyssa Milano's T&A. No wonder, she's one of the producers. Joss Whedon is a genius, while Aaron spelling is mostly a hack who churns out shows with the same formula and the same things everybody's heard a thousand times. Buffy is an original, excellent, amazing show whose true fans know that Black is just an impotent little man-and deeply, deeply, stupid.
Actually, I kinda like Charmed. I mean, I find it enjoyable enough now and then, don't love it though.
Unitas said pretty much what I'm thinking- he hates Buffy with a fiery passion since they killed off Tara, and in this piece of writing he relishes beating it up by talking about ways he thinks Charmed is better.
To be fair, his assessment about how magic was treated by Willow on Buffy was pretty spot on. From being a lesbian to addiction to the next, the writers certainly changed with little rhyme or reason. He is also right that in terms of what villians to face, Buffy kind of painted itself into a corner. After you've defeated the most evil person ever, who happens to be your first love and your boyfriend, the badass mayor and an evil slayer, a cyborg/demon/human hybrid, a god, where do you go?

Finally, I think we have to admit that people of color have been sorely underrepresented in Sunnydale, and while that is true of a lot of quality programming (Friends, for example) that doesn't mean that it isn't worthy of mention. I'm not sure if Charmed is a good example of the opposite, though. Usually the better dramas out there are the ones that have good representation -- ER, CSI, etc.
I'm actually a fan of Charmed, I record it if I'm not able to watch. And it has made me gasp and reach for the phone to call a friend when something unexpected happens.

However.... it is NOTHING compared to Buffy or Angel. Nothing. It's fun, it's fluffy, the characters are mostly likable but as you've all said, it's black and white. The sisters fight, evil appears, they make up, conquer it and go back to fighting. On Buffy, there is a sense of reality that Charmed has never captured. But Buffy has captured the fantasy of Charmed several times and did what they do so much better - i.e. Nightmares, Halloween, etc.

No contest. Even for a fan of both.
The thing that bugs me about Charmed is how little time they devote to actually defeating evil. The last commercial break ends, and there are usually only three or four minutes left of the episode when suddenly some pat answer, some sudden and unbelievable solution for defeating the Evil happens so quickly and with so little transition or thought process, that if you come back from the bathroom a few seconds late, the episode is over, even though the situation seemed desperate and hopeless right before the commercial break.

Once in a while, they let a problem carry on past the end of the episode and into the next, but the eventual solution still always feels emotionally empty, and merely a "rabbit out of a hat" with no elegance, logic, or cleverness, and in every way predictable. Like, "Oh, I bet Wyatt is going to suddenly zap the bad guy" or "Why didn't they read that spell from the Book of Shadows earlier?" or "Gosh, the bad guy makes another careless mistake and underestimates the Three". They use the same plot devices, the same plots, the same solutions again and again. If you watch a re-run on TNT on Friday and then a new episode on Sunday, the episodes are often nearly indistinguishable as far as the recycled writing goes. (If I were less lazy and actually changed the channel on TNT after Angel, I'd certainly never watch it.)

Plus, the Evil guys are always two-dimensional and flat, their motivations, emotions, and so on rarely evident.

In contrast, BtVS/AtS have complex, emotionally interesting, intellectually stimulating, unpredictable evils and responses to evils, some of which are never completely resolved in one episode or many episodes, and many of which carry on over an entire season or over more than one season. The characters and their struggles seem real and believable, and the Big Bads are quite often interestingly three-dimensional.

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