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Constance M. Burge , Joel J. Feigenbaum , Brad Kern , Aaron Spelling , Krista Vernoff , E. Duke Vincent

Charmed (Series, S05E04): Siren Song

YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY: United States of America

Cateogry icon

Title of the work

Charmed (Series, S05E04): Siren Song

Studio / Production Company

Paramount Pictures, Spelling Production Company, Viacom Productions, WB Television Network

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2003

First Edition Details

Charmed: Siren Song. Directed by Joel J. Feigenbaum. Written by Krista Vernoff. Paramount Pictures, Spelling Production Company, Viacom Productions, WB Television Network, April 20, 2003

Running time

Each episode has a running time of 42 minutes (or 1 hour including adverts)

Date of the First DVD or VHS

March 6, 2006 (DVD: Season Five featuring Siren Song); February 3, 2014 (DVD: Complete Season Box)

Official Website

The official WB website is no longer active. The Charmed wiki maintained by fans includes useful information: charmed.wikia.com (accessed: August 17, 2018)

Available Onllne

Available on Amazon online (pay to view)

Genre

Fantasy fiction
Magic realist fiction
Mythological fiction
Television series

Target Audience

Young adults (Aimed at young female viewers; the DVD was given a 12 rating)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Dorota Mackenzie, University of Warsaw, dorota.mackenzie@gmail.com 

Female portrait

Constance M. Burge , b. 1957
(Producer, Scriptwriter)

Constance M. Burge is an American television writer and producer. She is the creator of Charmed and Savannah, and has written episodes for a number of US series including Ally McBeal, Judging Amy, Boston Public and Royal Pains. Burge left her position as executive producer on Charmed after season one, although she remained as executive consultant up to season four. It was only after Burge left Charmed that Greek mythology-based stories started to appear.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk



Male portrait

Joel J. Feigenbaum (Director)

Joel J. Feigenbaum is an American television writer, producer and director. He directed sixteen episodes of Charmed, including Greek mythology-based episodes Muse to My Ears, Siren Song and Oh My Goddess Part 2. He has also directed fifty episodes for drama series 7th Heaven, credited as executive producer for six episodes. He started as a career writing for US soap operas Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest, and has worked on a number of US drama series as writer, producer and/or director, including Guns of Paradise, Bodies of Evidence, University Hospital, Burkes Law, Beverley Hills 90210, Pacific Palisades and Malibu Shores.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Brad Kern (Producer, Scriptwriter)

Brad Kern is an American television writer and producer. He studied film and television at California State University, and began his television career as a writer on detective series Remington Steele. He has produced a number of series including Remington Steele, becoming supervising producer for the show. As well as working as executive producer for all eight seasons of Charmed, Kern previously worked on US fantasy series Beauty and the Beast and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He has since worked on NCIS: New Orleans.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Aaron Spelling , 1923 - 2006
(Producer)

Aaron Spelling was an American film and television producer. After completing a degree in journalism at the Southern Methodist University he started his career as an actor and scriptwriter in the 1950s. In the 1960s he turned to producing and produced many popular television series including Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Dynasty, Beverley Hills 90210 and Charmed. He won a number of television awards including Emmys and BAFTAs. Spelling is well-known for his prime-time drama series rather than fantasy shows, and Charmed was conceived as a show about women who happened to be witches (see DVD special features).


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Female portrait

Krista Vernoff , b. 1974
(Producer, Screenwriter)

Krista Vernoff (1974) is an American television writer and producer. She began working on Charmed as story editor, and became co-producer. As well as writing Hell Hath No Fury, Vernoff also wrote other Greek mythology-based episodes Muse to My Ears, Siren Song and Oh My Goddess Part One. She wrote for and produced a number of series including short-lived fantasy series Wonderfalls and drama series Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless and Private Practice.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

E. Duke Vincent , b. 1932
(Producer)

E. Duke Vincent is an American television producer, who worked on a number of series with Aaron Spelling, as an executive on a number of Spelling production companies. He was producer for a number of Spelling series including Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Charmed, Melrose Place, Beverley Hills 90210 and Savannah. He has also written novels set in the world of the entertainment industry.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Casting

Alyssa Milano - Phoebe Halliwell

Rose McGowan - Paige Matthews

Holly Marie Combs - Piper Halliwell

Brian Krause - Leo Wyatt

Julian McMahon - Cole Turner

Melinda Clarke - The Siren

Amy Laughlin - Melissa

Summary

Siren Song (S05E04) is the third Charmed episode to feature characters drawn from Greek mythology, a Siren, following Hell Hath No Fury, featuring the Furies (S04E03) and Muse to My Ears, featuring the Muses (S04E09). The Siren is central to the episode, and she shares some traits with the Sirens from Greek mythology (her song is irresistible to men, whom she kills), but like the Furies in Hell Hath No Fury she is a demon rather than a mythological Siren. 

The episode begins with a woman with dark hair wearing a black leather bodice and trousers draped over a man called David. He says "don’t stop", but the woman tells him "but it’s time. Can’t you feel it, your wife is almost here. Didn’t I mention, I always like to let the wives watch their men die." We later learn that this woman is the Siren. As his wife, Melissa, comes into the apartment the Siren kisses David, and smoke comes from her mouth, killing him. The Siren then throws Melissa across the room and the apartment sets on fire. The Siren tells Melissa "I was burned for my sins. Only fair that you should burn too." Meanwhile, ex-demon Cole is trying to persuade his wife Phoebe (a good witch and one of the three Charmed Ones) that he is no longer evil and that she should not divorce him. Cole sees the fire on television and saves Melissa, rescuing her from the burning building. 

The Siren has moved on to another victim in a bar. She asks him if he has had a rough day, and tells him "you know what might make you feel better? A little music." Magical music starts to play, brought on by the Siren, but she sees on television that Melissa has been saved, and leaves, telling the man "you don’t know how lucky you just got."

It transpires that Melissa is a future "white lighter", a guardian angel, and the three witch sisters, Piper, Phoebe and Paige, together with Piper’s husband Leo, also a white lighter, must help her, although Leo and Piper are having marital problems, with a pregnant Piper believing her husband is not listening to her. Leo goes to the hospital where Melissa is recovering in order to heal her, but the Siren also arrives, and makes her music, causing Leo to kiss her. Piper can hear the music through her connection to Leo, and Piper and Paige transport themselves to the hospital. Piper is unable to use her power to blow up the Siren, as her unborn baby is playing with her powers, and instead of explosion the baby creates flowers. Paige therefore throws a metal pole at the Siren, which goes through her stomach, stopping her from harming Melissa or Leo. Back at home Paige researches the Siren in the Book of Shadows, a book passed down through the Halliwell family, containing information about magic and demons. She quotes from the book as follows: 


"As a mortal the Siren fell in love with a married man but when they were caught the man was held blameless. The village women cheered as they burned her to death and her rage turned her into a Siren, a vengeful demon who seduces married men with her song then destroys the couple with the flames that consumed her."

This Siren, then, is not one of the female creatures from Greek mythology that lured sailors to their deaths, for example in Homer’s Odyssey (12.153-200), but the she does share with these creatures the seductive and fatal power of her song. 

The Siren is healed by another demon, and decides to go after the Charmed Ones through their love for their husbands. When Cole goes after the Siren she makes her music and he is enthralled. However, when she kisses him he does not die like mortal men, his demonic powers keep him alive, but he turns against his wife Phoebe and tries to strangle her. Leo, using Piper’s powers, as the unborn baby has swapped their powers over, blows up the Siren, and Cole is released from her spell. Leo and Piper have their own powers returned, as they have learned to understand each other better and are no longer at odds. Phoebe and Cole, however are not reunited, as although the Siren’s power over Cole was brought about by Phoebe’s love for him, his demonic powers were turned against Phoebe, and this could happen again in the future.

Analysis

Charmed is a long-running fantasy television series featuring three young women who are also witches, known as the Charmed Ones, who fight demons from their home in San Francisco, while trying to maintain some semblance of normal lives, with careers and boyfriends/husbands. The series borrows from many genres and traditions, and includes characters and/or storylines from Greek mythology in a small number of episodes, primarily, in addition to the one currently under discussion, Oh My Goddess (S05E22 and S05E23), Hell Hath No Fury (S04E03), Muse to My Ears (S04E09) and Little Box of Horrors (S07E18).

 The Siren in Siren Song is inspired by the Sirens from classical mythology in that her music lures men to their deaths. This is as far as the similarities go, as the Siren in Charmed is a demon who was previously a mortal woman who was burned like a witch, and her victims are not just men but married men and their wives. She is a suitable demon to include in this episode because at this point in the season two of the principal characters are having marital problems. Piper wants Leo to be more understanding as she is going through a pregnancy which is affecting her magical powers as well as her hormones, and Phoebe wants a divorce from Cole as she cannot trust him not to revert to his previous life as an evil demon.


Further Reading

Beeler, Karin, "Old Myths, New Powers: Images of Second-Wave and Third-Wave Feminism in Charmed", in Investigating Charmed: The Magic Power of TV, eds. Karin Beeler and Stan Beeler, London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 100-111.

Feasey, Rebecca, "Watching Charmed: Why Teen Television Appeals to Women", Journal of Popular Film and Television, 34.1, 2006, pp. 2–9.

Meyer, Michaela D. E., ‘“Something Wicca This Way Comes”: Audience Interpretation of a Marginalised Religious Philosophy on Charmed’, in Investigating Charmed: The Magic Power of TV, eds. Karin Beeler and Stan Beeler, London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 9–18.

Potter, Amanda, "Unpacking Pandora’s Box: The Redemption of an Ancient Anti-heroine for a Twenty-First Century Audience in US TV Series Xena: Warrior Princess and Charmed", in Classical and Contemporary Mythic Identities: Construction of the Literary Imagination, eds. Amina Ayal and Paul Hardwick, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen, 2010, pp. 97–122.

Addenda

Release Date: 

Season 1, 22 episodes, first broadcast 7 October 1998 – 26 May 1999

Season 2, 22 episodes, first broadcast 30 September 1999 – 18 May 2000

Season 3, 22 episodes, first broadcast 5 October 2000 – 17 May 2001

Season 4, 22 episodes, first broadcast 4 October 2001 – 16 May 2002

Season 5, 22 episodes, first broadcast 22 September 2002 – 11 May 2003

Season 6, 22 episodes, first broadcast 28 September 2003 – 16 May 2004

Season 7, 22 episodes, first broadcast 12 September 2004 – 22 may 2005

Season 8, 22 episodes, first broadcast 25 September 2005 – 21 May 2006

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Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Charmed (Series, S05E04): Siren Song

Studio / Production Company

Paramount Pictures, Spelling Production Company, Viacom Productions, WB Television Network

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2003

First Edition Details

Charmed: Siren Song. Directed by Joel J. Feigenbaum. Written by Krista Vernoff. Paramount Pictures, Spelling Production Company, Viacom Productions, WB Television Network, April 20, 2003

Running time

Each episode has a running time of 42 minutes (or 1 hour including adverts)

Date of the First DVD or VHS

March 6, 2006 (DVD: Season Five featuring Siren Song); February 3, 2014 (DVD: Complete Season Box)

Official Website

The official WB website is no longer active. The Charmed wiki maintained by fans includes useful information: charmed.wikia.com (accessed: August 17, 2018)

Available Onllne

Available on Amazon online (pay to view)

Genre

Fantasy fiction
Magic realist fiction
Mythological fiction
Television series

Target Audience

Young adults (Aimed at young female viewers; the DVD was given a 12 rating)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Dorota Mackenzie, University of Warsaw, dorota.mackenzie@gmail.com 

Female portrait

Constance M. Burge (Producer, Scriptwriter)

Constance M. Burge is an American television writer and producer. She is the creator of Charmed and Savannah, and has written episodes for a number of US series including Ally McBeal, Judging Amy, Boston Public and Royal Pains. Burge left her position as executive producer on Charmed after season one, although she remained as executive consultant up to season four. It was only after Burge left Charmed that Greek mythology-based stories started to appear.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk



Male portrait

Joel J. Feigenbaum (Director)

Joel J. Feigenbaum is an American television writer, producer and director. He directed sixteen episodes of Charmed, including Greek mythology-based episodes Muse to My Ears, Siren Song and Oh My Goddess Part 2. He has also directed fifty episodes for drama series 7th Heaven, credited as executive producer for six episodes. He started as a career writing for US soap operas Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest, and has worked on a number of US drama series as writer, producer and/or director, including Guns of Paradise, Bodies of Evidence, University Hospital, Burkes Law, Beverley Hills 90210, Pacific Palisades and Malibu Shores.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Brad Kern (Producer, Scriptwriter)

Brad Kern is an American television writer and producer. He studied film and television at California State University, and began his television career as a writer on detective series Remington Steele. He has produced a number of series including Remington Steele, becoming supervising producer for the show. As well as working as executive producer for all eight seasons of Charmed, Kern previously worked on US fantasy series Beauty and the Beast and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He has since worked on NCIS: New Orleans.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

Aaron Spelling (Producer)

Aaron Spelling was an American film and television producer. After completing a degree in journalism at the Southern Methodist University he started his career as an actor and scriptwriter in the 1950s. In the 1960s he turned to producing and produced many popular television series including Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Dynasty, Beverley Hills 90210 and Charmed. He won a number of television awards including Emmys and BAFTAs. Spelling is well-known for his prime-time drama series rather than fantasy shows, and Charmed was conceived as a show about women who happened to be witches (see DVD special features).


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Female portrait

Krista Vernoff (Producer, Screenwriter)

Krista Vernoff (1974) is an American television writer and producer. She began working on Charmed as story editor, and became co-producer. As well as writing Hell Hath No Fury, Vernoff also wrote other Greek mythology-based episodes Muse to My Ears, Siren Song and Oh My Goddess Part One. She wrote for and produced a number of series including short-lived fantasy series Wonderfalls and drama series Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless and Private Practice.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Male portrait

E. Duke Vincent (Producer)

E. Duke Vincent is an American television producer, who worked on a number of series with Aaron Spelling, as an executive on a number of Spelling production companies. He was producer for a number of Spelling series including Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Charmed, Melrose Place, Beverley Hills 90210 and Savannah. He has also written novels set in the world of the entertainment industry.


Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, amanda.potter@caramanda.co.uk


Casting

Alyssa Milano - Phoebe Halliwell

Rose McGowan - Paige Matthews

Holly Marie Combs - Piper Halliwell

Brian Krause - Leo Wyatt

Julian McMahon - Cole Turner

Melinda Clarke - The Siren

Amy Laughlin - Melissa

Summary

Siren Song (S05E04) is the third Charmed episode to feature characters drawn from Greek mythology, a Siren, following Hell Hath No Fury, featuring the Furies (S04E03) and Muse to My Ears, featuring the Muses (S04E09). The Siren is central to the episode, and she shares some traits with the Sirens from Greek mythology (her song is irresistible to men, whom she kills), but like the Furies in Hell Hath No Fury she is a demon rather than a mythological Siren. 

The episode begins with a woman with dark hair wearing a black leather bodice and trousers draped over a man called David. He says "don’t stop", but the woman tells him "but it’s time. Can’t you feel it, your wife is almost here. Didn’t I mention, I always like to let the wives watch their men die." We later learn that this woman is the Siren. As his wife, Melissa, comes into the apartment the Siren kisses David, and smoke comes from her mouth, killing him. The Siren then throws Melissa across the room and the apartment sets on fire. The Siren tells Melissa "I was burned for my sins. Only fair that you should burn too." Meanwhile, ex-demon Cole is trying to persuade his wife Phoebe (a good witch and one of the three Charmed Ones) that he is no longer evil and that she should not divorce him. Cole sees the fire on television and saves Melissa, rescuing her from the burning building. 

The Siren has moved on to another victim in a bar. She asks him if he has had a rough day, and tells him "you know what might make you feel better? A little music." Magical music starts to play, brought on by the Siren, but she sees on television that Melissa has been saved, and leaves, telling the man "you don’t know how lucky you just got."

It transpires that Melissa is a future "white lighter", a guardian angel, and the three witch sisters, Piper, Phoebe and Paige, together with Piper’s husband Leo, also a white lighter, must help her, although Leo and Piper are having marital problems, with a pregnant Piper believing her husband is not listening to her. Leo goes to the hospital where Melissa is recovering in order to heal her, but the Siren also arrives, and makes her music, causing Leo to kiss her. Piper can hear the music through her connection to Leo, and Piper and Paige transport themselves to the hospital. Piper is unable to use her power to blow up the Siren, as her unborn baby is playing with her powers, and instead of explosion the baby creates flowers. Paige therefore throws a metal pole at the Siren, which goes through her stomach, stopping her from harming Melissa or Leo. Back at home Paige researches the Siren in the Book of Shadows, a book passed down through the Halliwell family, containing information about magic and demons. She quotes from the book as follows: 


"As a mortal the Siren fell in love with a married man but when they were caught the man was held blameless. The village women cheered as they burned her to death and her rage turned her into a Siren, a vengeful demon who seduces married men with her song then destroys the couple with the flames that consumed her."

This Siren, then, is not one of the female creatures from Greek mythology that lured sailors to their deaths, for example in Homer’s Odyssey (12.153-200), but the she does share with these creatures the seductive and fatal power of her song. 

The Siren is healed by another demon, and decides to go after the Charmed Ones through their love for their husbands. When Cole goes after the Siren she makes her music and he is enthralled. However, when she kisses him he does not die like mortal men, his demonic powers keep him alive, but he turns against his wife Phoebe and tries to strangle her. Leo, using Piper’s powers, as the unborn baby has swapped their powers over, blows up the Siren, and Cole is released from her spell. Leo and Piper have their own powers returned, as they have learned to understand each other better and are no longer at odds. Phoebe and Cole, however are not reunited, as although the Siren’s power over Cole was brought about by Phoebe’s love for him, his demonic powers were turned against Phoebe, and this could happen again in the future.

Analysis

Charmed is a long-running fantasy television series featuring three young women who are also witches, known as the Charmed Ones, who fight demons from their home in San Francisco, while trying to maintain some semblance of normal lives, with careers and boyfriends/husbands. The series borrows from many genres and traditions, and includes characters and/or storylines from Greek mythology in a small number of episodes, primarily, in addition to the one currently under discussion, Oh My Goddess (S05E22 and S05E23), Hell Hath No Fury (S04E03), Muse to My Ears (S04E09) and Little Box of Horrors (S07E18).

 The Siren in Siren Song is inspired by the Sirens from classical mythology in that her music lures men to their deaths. This is as far as the similarities go, as the Siren in Charmed is a demon who was previously a mortal woman who was burned like a witch, and her victims are not just men but married men and their wives. She is a suitable demon to include in this episode because at this point in the season two of the principal characters are having marital problems. Piper wants Leo to be more understanding as she is going through a pregnancy which is affecting her magical powers as well as her hormones, and Phoebe wants a divorce from Cole as she cannot trust him not to revert to his previous life as an evil demon.


Further Reading

Beeler, Karin, "Old Myths, New Powers: Images of Second-Wave and Third-Wave Feminism in Charmed", in Investigating Charmed: The Magic Power of TV, eds. Karin Beeler and Stan Beeler, London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 100-111.

Feasey, Rebecca, "Watching Charmed: Why Teen Television Appeals to Women", Journal of Popular Film and Television, 34.1, 2006, pp. 2–9.

Meyer, Michaela D. E., ‘“Something Wicca This Way Comes”: Audience Interpretation of a Marginalised Religious Philosophy on Charmed’, in Investigating Charmed: The Magic Power of TV, eds. Karin Beeler and Stan Beeler, London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2007, pp. 9–18.

Potter, Amanda, "Unpacking Pandora’s Box: The Redemption of an Ancient Anti-heroine for a Twenty-First Century Audience in US TV Series Xena: Warrior Princess and Charmed", in Classical and Contemporary Mythic Identities: Construction of the Literary Imagination, eds. Amina Ayal and Paul Hardwick, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen, 2010, pp. 97–122.

Addenda

Release Date: 

Season 1, 22 episodes, first broadcast 7 October 1998 – 26 May 1999

Season 2, 22 episodes, first broadcast 30 September 1999 – 18 May 2000

Season 3, 22 episodes, first broadcast 5 October 2000 – 17 May 2001

Season 4, 22 episodes, first broadcast 4 October 2001 – 16 May 2002

Season 5, 22 episodes, first broadcast 22 September 2002 – 11 May 2003

Season 6, 22 episodes, first broadcast 28 September 2003 – 16 May 2004

Season 7, 22 episodes, first broadcast 12 September 2004 – 22 may 2005

Season 8, 22 episodes, first broadcast 25 September 2005 – 21 May 2006

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