1 9 9 8 – 2 0 0 6 (USA)
179 x 45 minute episodes
Melinda Warren was a seventeenth-century witch who was burned at the stake. Before she died, she willed her spirit to carry the ‘Power of Three’ over time until it found three present-day sisters, Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell, to become powerful “good witches”.
It is when the sisters inherit their late mother’s San Francisco home (although the show was filmed in Los Angeles) that they find the spirit board that Phoebe played with as a child and see it spell out the word “attic.” There, the sisters find The Book of Shadows, read an incantation and are endowed with Melinda’s powers.
At this same time, a white cat they call Kit magically appears and becomes their familiar.
It transpires that their mother’s house was built on a spiritual nexus and is a battleground between good and evil (it serves as an instrument to reclaim good). Because Phoebe was born in the house, she is most connected to it and is more susceptible to possible evil.
Eldest sister Prue (Shannen Doherty) is considered the most powerful of the sisters and called ‘the Power of One’. She can move objects by thought and eventually develops the power of astral projection (being in two places at once).
Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs) is the middle sister and has the ability to freeze time and cast spells. She can also see and communicate with the spirits of the dead.
Youngest sister Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) has the power to see the future, the ability to levitate, and hyper-developed empathy (she can sense and experience the emotions of others). Phoebe also composes the spells the sisters need to vanquish demons.
Phoebe becomes romantically involved with Cole Turner (Julian McMahon, valiantly fighting to hold back his Australian accent), a powerful demon called Belthazor who is posing as the Assistant District Attorney. He is later transformed into a human when Phoebe creates a power-stripping spell that kills the evil within Cole.
When Shannen Doherty left the show at the end of the third season (as the result of a feud she had with co-star Alyssa Milano), re-casting the role of Prue was considered. Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Jennifer Love Hewitt were offered the role but both turned it down so a decision was made to kill Prue off instead.
And so, in a cliffhanging third season finale, the sisters battled a fierce demon named Shax, and Prue was duly killed. A long-lost half-sister named Paige (Rose McGowan) was then added to the series. Conveniently, Paige had Prue’s power to move objects but could also heal wounds and sense evil.
The sisters are protected by Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause), a guardian angel for good witches called a ‘White Lighter’, who disguises himself as their handyman.
Holly Marie Combs
Prue (Prudence) Halliwell