This got me to thinking about how much has changed in just 13 years (“Charmed” first aired in 1998). Not one character carries a cell phone on them and there’s no computer in the house. Computers were pretty common around 1998 (42% of households vs. 68% in 2010), but there was no broadband internet yet so I can see why the sisters didn’t rush to the computer to research their newly discovered powers. In 1998 69,209,328 people had cell phones compared to 233,000,000 users when the show ended in 2006. The iPhone would be released the following year.
Another interesting chart to look at is Home Internet Connections by Technology 2001,2003.
I noticed something similar when watching “Buffy.” The seventh season (2003) is the only season I can remember characters owning a cell phone. Previously everyone had to find each other and use landlines (and, let’s face it, Giles will always be the type of guy to stick to the landline). Willow could always hack into the city morgue or whatever, but she had to do it over dial-up. Again, the seventh season has a mention of Google (which Xander thinks sounds dirty) and shows Buffy using a search engine to gather info on The First.
It feels dated to watch the earlier episodes, but does that diminish their appeal or likeability? I don’t find it to be so right now, but what about in another 10 years? Will it feel like watching a show from the 80s or early 90s now? And then will it eventually feel like watching old shows on Nick at Night because they’re so quaint?