I keep watching Charmed, as I’m easy meat for anything like that, as I was for I Dream Of Jeannie and Bewitched and Buffy and almost anything else with magic on TV (do they have to star women? I’m not sure). But tonight’s episode on C5 is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with it.

Plot: a witch doctor decides that the three sisters are too immature and unfocussed to trust with such power, and that eventually their powers will be taken by evil. He has direct evidence that they have already defeated unimaginable numbers of powerful evil opponents, but he ignores that. And despite his being pitched in the end as a good guy, there is no thought of offering help. Instead he decides he has to kill them. So he casts a hex, which is designed to exaggerate their worst tendencies, which will obviously destroy them (it is not made clear how).

It was at this point that the reason for all three acting utterly out of character in the opening subplot scenes became clear: they had each displayed a trait to be exaggerated – tidiness, jealousy of an ex’s new fiancee, competitiveness. Now obviously we would expect such a setup, but I’ve watched pretty much every episode of every season of this, and I can’t remember seeing any sign at all of these tendencies ever before. Obviously a better idea would have been to play on their real character traits, but you can see why the writers didn’t do that – they don’t have any.