The Charmed Ones, modern-day urban witches, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Paige (Rose McGowan), move into Season four with deeper, darker and more deftly crafted stories. As Piper and Phoebe struggle with the loss of their older sister, they discover the existence of half-sister Paige Matthews. Possessing the power to orb as a half-Whitelighter, Paige joins the Halliwell sisters to recreate the magical triad that protects the innocent and vanquishes evil. But all may be lost as Coles (Julian McMahon) demonic side takes over, and Leo (Brian Krause) must face his past if he is to help the sisters in a battle that could destroy them all. With intriguing characters, amazing special effects and the perfect brew of suspense, drama and humor, each exciting episode in this fascinating supernatural series casts a gripping spell.
Charmed: The Complete Fourth Season is a captivating story of big changes in the world of the Halliwell sisters. San Francisco witches Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) and Piper (Holly Marie Combs) grieve the loss of Prue (Shannen Doherty) at the same time they discover the existence of a fourth Halliwell sibling: Paige (Rose McGowan), offspring of the girls' late mother and a Whitelighter (thus making Paige part witch and part angel). Paige was raised as an adopted child, but has been aware of her sisters for awhile. Still, she's ambivalent about joining forces with them (despite having two powers instead of the usual one), and Piper--now the oldest of the surviving sisters, reluctantly taking over Prue's position as leader--is in no hurry to welcome Paige into the fold.
Blood and loyalty prevail, however, and soon Paige takes over Phoebe's old role as screw-up rookie, mangling potions and causing havoc (such as switching bodies with Phoebe at an inopportune time). But her strong survival sense, compassion, and ability to read people (she's studying to become a social worker) add a powerful new weapon to the Halliwell arsenal. Meanwhile, several key storylines from the third season carry over to this new year, notably the running drama concerning demon-with-a-soul Cole (Julian McMahon) and his ongoing battle to stay free of hell's wrath while maintaining dark powers. His romance with Phoebe leads them to become ruler and queen of the Underworld, where Phoebe's loyalty is tested and a demonic baby enters the picture. Piper and her husband, Whitelighter Leo (Brian Krause), deal with sorrow over Prue and frustration over not being able to have a child, and the sisters' police ally, Inspector Morris (Dorian Gregory), has to contend with an out-of-control boss bent on charging the Halliwells with a crime. All that and a witch-hunter and appearance by the angel of destiny, who offers to relieve the witches of their magical burden. The most impressive aspect of the fourth season is the way Doherty's loss isn't treated as a mere vacuum to be filled with a new body, but is taken as an opportunity to reinvent the show in several crucial ways. --Tom Keogh