THE SHOW: Witches of East End
THE CAST: Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Rachel Boston, Madchen Amick, Eric Winter, Daniel DiTomasso, Virginia Madsen, and Jason George.
WHEN: Sundays 10/9c
THE WITCHES OF EAST END TV REVIEW
From the creator of Eastwick (Maggie Friedman) and directed by Mean Girls director Mark Waters (he also directed Just Like Heaven and Freaky Friday), it comes as no surprise that the premiere episode of Witches of East End was full of quirky dark humor and fantastic moments of pure camp. This is not a TV series to be taken seriously and that is a good thing in my book. Some of the recent urban fantasy and paranormal/supernatural shows have been too bourgeois or uninspired not understanding that this kind of show (as a type of genre) needs to be a little over the top from the acting to the heightened dialogue (i.e. Charmed and Blood Ties are two fantastic examples; even True Blood before it lost its way halfway through season 3). This is not aimed to be a realistic show nor should it be. It is surreal and Witches of East End wears the style with ease. While some shows have become the cliché completely unaware, Witches fully embraces said cliché tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Based on Melisssa de la Cruz’s entertaining bestselling books about the Beauchamp women, I was pleasantly surprised how true the characters and the story stayed to the original source material. The spirit of the book is there without being an exact replica. In my book review of The Witches of East End, I noted how specific elements of the story needed to be filled out just a little bit more including some of the characters as well as the backstory of the mythology. The same story told in serial format works perfectly to do just that because of the time given to all of the characters and of course the slow build-up of the mythology itself.
The story is about a family of witches: a mother (Joanna) and her two daughters (Ingrid and Freya), only the two daughters don’t know they are witches yet. Joanna wishes to protect her daughters from a magical curse (but I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t tuned in yet) and believes that in hiding their magic from them she can save their lives. But when Joanna’s more carefree sister Wendy rolls into town after losing one of her nine lives (yes she turns into a black cat), she warns Joanna that something wicked has rolled into town and it wants to kill the Beauchamp women for good. But what dark and menacing force is after them and why?
As Ingrid and Freya begin to discover their powers accidentally, they also get thrown into their own compelling love stories. Freya, engaged to handsome and rich Dash, has a dream about another mysterious man the night before her engagement party. But it is more than a dream when the same man arrives at the party and turns out to be Dash’s brother Killian. Drawn between two brothers (a little Vampire Diaries type triangle for adults) Freya is tempted by the power of Killian’s allure. The triangle doesn’t feel forced and is actually quite captivating (in one of her dreams Killian even mentions waiting 400 years). This is one mystery I can’t wait to see play out, the romantic triangle definitely a fun ride already.
Equally compelling is the romantic undertones between shy librarian Ingrid and the detective named Adam. Their chemistry and Ingrid’s awkward flirting draws you in completely with its cuteness and humor. I loved everything about their repartee and interactions. When Adam confessed she had turned him down the year before only to have Ingrid admit that she thought he was joking (because she is obviously clueless about relationships), I knew I was hooked. I only wish Jason George (Adam) was a full time cast member.
With a great story and a wide assortment of interesting characters (I’m just glad not to be bored honestly), the actors also gave fantastic performances because they embraced the campiness of the dialogue. It is a pleasure to see the beautiful Julia Ormond (Joanna) grace the small screen as the matriarch of the family, while the two daughters (Jenna Dewan Tatum and Rachel Boston) are just as good and believable in their respective roles. There are no weak links from the men to Freya’s soon to be mother-in-law (played by the fabulous Virginia Madsen). The biggest scene stealer award, however, goes to Madchen Amick as Aunt Wendy. Every line she delivers is hilarious, creating must see television. If I didn’t enjoy the rest of the show, I’d tune in just for her.
If you enjoy TV shows like Charmed, Eastwick, Blood Ties, or The Vampire Diaries, this is one series not to be missed. I know I will be eagerly tuning in every week (especially since this episode ends on a cliffhanger). Not to say that this show is perfect (it is a pilot after all). For instance, the villain of the week is a little blasé. Nevertheless, so were many of the Charmed villains but that didn’t lessen the overall fun and I don’t think it will hurt this show either. If you don’t take this show too seriously, then I think you might just have a wickedly good time as you step into the world of The Witches of East End.
“You had me at hello.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”
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Check out my book review of Witches of East End
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