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Charmed

I just remembered how I loved watching Charmed some twenty years ago.

I just remembered how I loved Charmed some twenty years ago.
Watching Alyssa Milano and her witch sisters was like comfort food: it was make-believe at its best.

I even continued to watch the show in Paris, though the voices were spoken over in French. I knew Alyssa’s voice wasn’t really her voice, but after a while, I got used to her French alter ego.

There were other good drama shows on TV back then, too. Like ER and Melrose Place. Well, maybe good is over-stated, but there was a plot and there was a story. It wasn’t reality and no one ever claimed it was. The actors acted, and took pride in it.

After years and years of reality TV, I long for a story. Something addictive. Something made up. Something with drama and tension, but no explosions or car chases. And no voting out, no cooking, and no dwelling on the hardships of life. Just something comforting, entertaining and colorful.

I’d like the characters to be dressed as cutely as they were in Hart of Dixie. I’d like them to hop over from one series to another and broaden their realm. I’d like them to make me laugh like Friends did. I’d like them to make me want to stay glued to the screen as if there was no pause button.

I flick through Netflix, our Finnish version being more limited than the American one, and find nothing. Sometimes a watchable season of something random, and then I find out the show was canceled.

I want to be charmed and enchanted. Maybe it’s impossible now, twenty years of life later, to retrieve that feeling of wanting to watch an episode like it was something sacred. Marking out the weekday and time in your mind, so you don’t double book. Asking your family to be quiet when it starts, and not disturb you.

Maybe part of it was just the thrill of new experiences, which fades with age, when everything you do, you’ve already done. There are less new things to do, and all the plots seem worn out.

It might be up to me to create my own story, and make it addictive.

The photos are all taken with my phone and edited with the Photoshop Camera app, inspired by this post.

77 replies on “Charmed”

I certainly felt charmed by your swirling photos. I don’t remember the series though, and I haven’t watched many of the others you mention. The ten years I’ve got on you are showing. 😉 I love the narrative too. Yes, yes, make your own addictive story. That’s what life is, really.

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Hmm, well TV is a daily part of life in this climate where the weather and darkness isn’t always tempting. It’s not really that life is mundane, necessarily 😊 When I was younger, I saw the contrast to other countries quite clearly: more TV watching here, and in France there was more real life and actual culture

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In everey way 😊 There is an endless amount of things to do in Paris: from salsa to tiny galleries with forgotten sketches by Picasso, from crepes to dinner at the local brasserie, long walks, books, street musicians, panoramic views. Co-workers held dinner parties (called an apéro) for everyone plus everyone’s friends, at least once a week and everything was a social event. In Southern France there was of course the bonus of nice weather year round, boats, swimming. Money was spent on clothes, not homes, to generalise. In Finland, people focus on decorating their homes and follow technology, because most of your time is spent at home in front of one screen or another. Events are private invite only (and no plus one, never all the office invited) and 100% announced on Facebook which you must hang out on if you want any chance of finding something to do. The indoorsy life just comes out of necessity: a small place up north, not many options. For example right now it’s not winter but barbequeing outside is definitely not an option. Even sitting down on a park bench would get your bottom wet 😊

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So your choice is between a wet bottom and Facebook versus parties, clothes and forgotten sketches of Picasso. French life does sounds exotic but to be honest, too busy, social and materialistic for this introvert. I would fit in with the Finnish life better and most likely why I have zero desire to visit France.
It is nice that all the office is invited to parties though.

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Finnish life of TV watching is definitely a good option, especially now during Covid. I must add that after having kids I’ve enjoyed it more here because it’s a very child-friendly and safety oriented culture with good, free education 👍The weather doesn’t matter that much anymore, with kids, since my life revolves around them now. I’m happy. But in France the whole food scene, for example, is something I miss. Access to fresh food prepared with love, from around the world. Here, it’s mostly frozen and factory-made and that entire food culture is missing. And, as I said, if you don’t know the right people, you might feel a bit orphaned here. I imagine rural life in Finland must be very different to city life, and maybe that’s the Finnish ideal you are thinking of – some beautiful lakeside forest place. In Helsinki, there are no lakes so I can only comment from a small town perspective 😊

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I should clarify that I am not that into T V but indoor activities like writing, reading and socialising here and there with a few friends rather than the whole workplace does appeal. Whether that is Helsinki or Oulu. I like my solitude and if I could eat Salmon, cimnamon buns and berries and look outside to see a birch tree or the odd tulip in the park, or go for a walk in the freezing rain, I would trade that in a pinch. Even among high rise flats. It doesn’t have to be the lake/cabin ideal of the brochures. The French do know how to appreciate food but it might be a little too rich in flavour for me, but just perfect for you.

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Well, I sincerely hope you’ll get to fulfill your Nordic travel dreams one day! Maybe with your family, too? As for me, I’m no longer dreaming of being somewhere else, which is a victory in itself. Here is just fine. 😊 And Covid cancelled all events anyway!! But back to your original comment: yes, fantasy escapism would be nice once in a while, nevertheless!

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Don’t worry Amanda, I can perfectly understand that France isn’t your cup a tea. You’ve mentioned before anyway. We all like different things and have different ideals. Which is A GOOD THING don’t get me wrong 😉 But since France is famous for its social and culture lifestyle, I’ve found very amusing you’d ask about it! As if if you were asking “In what way was there more hygge in Denemark?”.
We all have clichés attached to the country we live in. Part of these belong to the legend and the folklore obviously. But in every clichés there is always a fair part which is true.
We French people are usually foodie, very social and into anything which will bring a crowd together (football game, concert, exhibition, demonstration…). That’s the reason why the Covid feels at home with us!!!

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We all like different things and have different ideals. That is very true, Vero, and I hope that you understood. I did not mean any offence and I am happy you accept that I have tunnel vision in terms of Scandinavia. I will happily admit to that. France is indeed famous for society and culture and not having ever been, I really can’t and shouldn’t comment, but everyone does expect it of France, don’t they? If you would find it anywhere, it has to be France.
To someone who didn’t know about Hygge in Denmark, I would explain and the question is justified. Anyway, I am glad I made you laugh!
On a more serious note, you are right about cliches. It is thought all Australian live on the beach, surf and have pet kangaroos, just like all Scandis ski. I was so disappointed that some of my Scandi friends didn’t share my love of skiing! Thanks to you and Snow for educating me about the French promoting a crowd regardless of who they are and the depth of the relationship. That is something I do like a lot, an inclusive society. Lots of countries could learn from that.

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Thanks for the inspiration, I had a lot of fun with it! My photos came out quite different from yours though, more monotone, so the original photos & other editing measures must play a large part in the result 😋 I’ve got another post planned with more photos, edited with PSC but with a different spin

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Interesting…I thought I had deleted it. I went into Manage Lenses and noticed I had moved it all the way to the bottom. Tried to delete and saw the message that you can’t delete this lens. I also found something else out. When you adjust the lens/filter, the very last option is “Graphic”, it lets you change the opacity of the word(s) down to it not showing up.

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Yeah it took me a while to notice all the options! I edited some pics of the kids with the Vibrant lens and they turned out interesting: hiding a boring background when the facial expression is what you want to show 😊 I won’t be posting them publically, though!

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Your edited photos match the post perfectly. Well done to you.

I know what you mean by the frustration of what’s on tv now. The more options we have, the less addictive it gets. Netflix, streaming devices, tv replay programs… Before, a tv show you liked had just one price : patience. You had to wait for the filling week to get the next episode. Now you pay you tv choices with real money instead. The bonus is you get to watch every seasons in a whole weekend “glueing you to the screen as if there was no pause button”. I know that feeling. I love it as much as I hate it. Once you’re done with all the episodes and you need to wake up and go back to the real world … what a painful feeling. Sometimes I wish I could be absorbed inside the screen and stay there in that virtual perfect reality. And then, I realise it won’t happen. Never.

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Oh your photos are absolutely gorgeous! They have a ethereal feel to them! I know exactly what you mean about tv shows these days too. Part of the charm back then was the anticipation of waiting for the next episode to air…no-one else would have seen it so there could be no spoilers from anyone! Being able to binge watch tv series has taken away that element. Have you watched Mad Men? I loved that and the clothes and sets were superb! At the moment, I am itching to watch something that just takes me away from everything, something I can get lost in for an hour…but there is so much I don’t know where to start sometimes!

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I love the charm of your photos themselves, which will have to compensate for my lack of knowledge of all those shows! We did have a rare few that we used to watch (my mother was very anti-TV, and it stuck with me), but I can totally relate to your yearning for a good, clean, compelling story!

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Yes, it’s a story that I long for, something to take my mind off stressful work days and tedious chores and wet socks covering frozen toes from walking outside in the rain. I used to read lots of books and didn’t watch tv for years, but after having kids, reading is too much for me! My concentrations span is lousy these days. I can’t be bothered to watch a movie (they all sound boring, hahah) so tv series are what’s left! Unless I write a story of my own. Still waiting for inspiration…

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I have to admit that I’d never heard of Charmed before today. I didn’t have a TV back then and the internet didn’t exist, or if it did I wasn’t on it. These days, I have a Netflix subscription, but don’t find a great deal on it. My favorite show is a Canadian TV series called Kim’s Convenience about a Korean family. It’s funny, entertaining, and very well written, at least in my opinion. Not especially meaningful, but one can’t have everything!
Your photos once again fit wonderfully with your written words. Perhaps you should write what you’d like to watch on TV. You never know.

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I don’t think our Netflix has Kim’s Convenience, otherwise I’d have a look! I’m not surprised you don’t know Charmed, it was pretty girly! Well, REALLY girly actually.
I’d like to write a book I’d like to read – if I had the time etc etc (add excuse here). But writing a tv show, wow, that sounds hard!!!! Dialogue in general sounds so hard to get right. Have you ever written a screenplay?

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I was going to say I’ve never written a screenplay, but then I remembered I actually have. Just a short one for a film festival competition where groups are given a few things that must be included – a line of dialogue, a prop, and a couple of other things – and then have 48 hours to write a script, film it and submit it for judging. I stayed up all night writing!
I find dialogue easier than some other aspects of writing. Must be the voices in my head! I like crime writer Elmore Leonard’s approach. He preferred to focus on dialogue and let readers flesh out the descriptive bits with their imagination.
One time I found some TV scripts in a garbage can. They were from a popular American soap opera and it was interesting to see how they were put together – and quite funny seeing the dialogue on the page and the outline of what the characters were supposed to be doing.

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What a story! Finding a screenplay and also writing one overnight!!! Good on ya! How did it go – I hope you had teammates doing the filming because that sounds like a lot of work for 48h! No time for writer’s block there!!
I’m not familiar with E.Leonard but will look him up! I used to read crime novels… back when I still read.

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I just did the writing. There were four or five others who did filming and acting and the like. We didn’t win. The one that did was shot with a real film camera, so it looked fabulous. But my main memory of it is that the line of dialogue we had to use – ‘It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings’ – was just thrown in at the end with zero context, which I thought was very lame.
A lot of Leonard’s novels and short stories have been made into films, I think because the dialogue, which drives movies, is already there.

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That’s a very tough challenge to do in such a short time. I wonder if the winners had been working together for a long time and had already found synergy.
I looked Leonard up and recognized that some of the books were indeed made into movies and, I think, tv series too.
Now hmm, if an aspiring writer were to be tactical, that might be a way to go: write a book in dialogue form, to be easily suited for multiple purposes!!

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Charmed!! One of my favourite TV series back back then. No replay and one have to wait patiently for the next episode the following week. It was all fun and exciting. Your edited photos are just wonderful and like magic, I love it and it fits perfectly the content. Hope you can find another good series like Charmed somewhere out there. 🙂

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Absolutely gorgeous photos and a charming post as well! I have never watched Charmed actually:( I find browsing through the titles on Netflix a tedious task at times and hence have stopped trying to watch anything! I sometimes dislike how we have a gazillion options to choose from on so many social media platforms that it becomes frustrating, almost. The other day my husband and I were talking about how when we were kids, we had to wait for an entire week for our fav cartoons or a kids show and watching that on the television would be a sacred affair almost. Everything at our fingertips has perhaps taken away the charm, the anticipation , the sacredness…i don’t know! I remember how during our summer vacation, everyday a children’s classic (movie) would be on the T.V. and the anticipation was half the fun. I would be glued to the T.V set for that hour or so and try to remember as much as possible, all the tiny details as it was just a one time affair. When i watch those old movies on YouTube now, I end up thinking about the house I grew up in at a time where the world seemed to be so full of possibilities! I like how you say that the thrill of new experiences fades with age…I sure feel this way at times. I have not tried this photo editing app…your stunning pictures make me want to try this out. A lovely read, as always, Snow!

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Thanks dear Moon for your thoughtful comment! Sorry it took a while to reply, it’s been a super stressful week at work! 😅
I too remember weekend cartoons and, as a teenager, a marathon of teen dramas one after the other on Sunday afternoons. Searching for something watchable on Netflix is frustrating, as you said – I agree!
And growing up in a world that felt full of thrillibg possibilities – this makes me sad because I so fear for my boys’ future. The world has changed so quickly into such a violent place. Add wild fires and floods, climate change and crooked leaders and of course the tiny matter of a pandemic, causing besides health concerns also economic disruption… this isn’t the same world where I spent my first 30 years.

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However limited the Finn Netflix, it can’t be worse than the “Mexican” Netflix. I find the current productions depressing. Extreme violence. Glorification of abuse. The heroes are swindlers or narcs… Tout à l’avenant.
The whole world needs a new story…

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Oh yes those I avoid. Most Hollywood films that are not
”romantic comedies” seem to include gore or violence etc so my options are pretty much limited to romantic comedies 🙄 And I also avoid watching/reading about the hardships of life and other depressing storylines, because where’s the joy in that? I don’t want to dwell on those things. But ”serious” (i.e. depressing) books are very popular over here.

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My point entirely. One needs fiction (written of film) to take you away. To another plane. Not necessarily all rosy, but something different.
I can imagine “serious”. I’m struggling with a philosophy chapter on Hegel right now… But I read only a few pages of that a day…
Who would be your favourite authors?

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I used to love Kapuscinski (I know I just said I don’t read serious stuff) and Michael Connelly’s crime (until the plots stopped being good). A few random books I’ve liked over recent years are The Golem and The Djinni by H.Wecker, The Psychology of Time Travel by K.Mascarenhas and Love With a Chance of Drowning by T.DeRoche. I have real difficulty finding books I like these days (I guess I’m a tough customer)! What are yours?

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I read Kapuscinski. I don’t “follow” him all the way. I was there (in Africa) so my perspective varies form others. Conelly is good. At small dosis. Lately become too “Hard”. I like Sue Grafton. Kinsey is a great character. Kellerman. Robert B. Parker makes me laugh when needed. I also read Betrand Russell. Or Jane Goodall. 😉 My library is quite a mixture… Oh, an excellent book I read last year: A tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki. I’ve read Japanese. Russians. Murakami falls short of my expectations generally. 📖 📚

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I added that Ruth Ozeki book to my list! Thanks for the tip. What I’ve read in the past is pretty broad in range, too. Used to love Sujata Massey’s Japanese chick-lit/detective stories (maybe not attractive reading for men). But I can recommend you The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, a Finnish classic that is my fave (about Ancient Egypt, fiction).

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