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Charmed: The Complete Third Season is a little different from its previous seasons in that the long-running series, for the first time, is dominated by a single story arc that affects nearly every episode. Actor Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck, Fantastic Four) joins the Charmed cast as Assistant District Attorney Cole Turner, who enters the show when he unsuccessfully prosecutes a demon-possessed killer who attacks the Halliwell sisters' police ally, Inspector Morris (Dorian Gregory). In short order, Cole becomes romantically involved with Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), but it's soon revealed that he's actually a demon, part of an unholy plot to destroy the Charmed Ones, i.e. the Halliwell sisters. Trouble is, Cole's human incarnation begins to battle with his demon self, and the rest of the season is really dedicated to the ramifications of his ambivalence. Even old issues on Charmed, such as the forbidden love of Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Leo (Brian Krause), an angelic Whitelighter, become secondary to the Cole-Phoebe story. (The latter becomes supernatural when Phoebe's misery over Cole turns her into a shrieking Banshee and the pair meet up in the hellish Dark Side.) Season highlights include "Primrose Empath," in which Shannen Doherty gives a superb performance when her character, Prue Halliwell, takes on the powers of an empath and is soon overwhelmed by the emotional pain carried by scores of others. "Sleuthing with the Enemy" finds Prue and Piper, in the first of several such stories, working at opposite purposes from Phoebe, who is intent on saving Cole from capture or destruction. The clever and comic "Look Who's Barking" concerns a spell that turns Prue into a Banshee-tracking dog who gets hit by a car and briefly becomes the pet of a handsome, single man. Season finale "All Hell Breaks Loose" may be the best Charmed episode in its first three years, a scary and apocalyptic tale in which the powers of the Halliwell sisters, long kept secret, are revealed to an insatiable news media, the police and military, and dangerous crazies. Not to be missed.

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PA027294 Charmed Complete 3rd Season DVD (2000) $29.99 $25.99