First Impressions: Witches of East End
Have you been craving a campy witch series that echoes the greatness that was Charmed? While you’re waiting for the Charmed reboot (yes this is a thing that is actually happening already) Witches of East End, which originally premiered in October 2013, will definitely fill the order.
Supernatural themed series are a wildcard when it comes to renewal. The Secret Circle, a teen drama featuring a group witches, had a lot of potential but was poorly executed. Based upon a series of books by the same author as The Vampire Diaries, another successful drama on the CW, The Secret Circle was cancelled after one season. I was disappointed.
When I heard about Witches of East End, I was tentatively excited for it. Like I said, shows of this genre can die prematurely or live long past their expiration date. Then I watched the pilot episode.
The story surrounds a family of Witches. There’s Joanna, her younger sister Wendy, and her two daughters, Ingrid and Freya. Joanna is cursed with immortality and motherhood. Every time Ingrid and Freya die, Joanna is instantly 9 months pregnant again, first with Ingrid and then Freya shortly thereafter. Wendy is cursed with 9 lives and, sometime uncontrollably, shifts into a cat. With Joanna and Wendy living so long, they’ve acquired a number of enemies over time who want revenge on the family. I think it’s worth pointing out how all the woman of the Beauchamp family great hair. I’m just saying!
Because Joanna is tired of witchcraft implicating their lives and eventually bringing her daughter’s to an end, she’s opted to keep magic a secret this round. Instead, her grown daughter’s lead normal lives. If that’s what you call it. Ingrid works at the local library, and while educated and rather brilliant, is annoyingly oblivious to any interest from the opposite sex. She lacks self-confidence outside of an academic realm. Her sister Freya is completely the opposite. She works at a bar, is engaged to a rich doctor without borders, and is very dramatic and immature.
On the night of Freya’s engagement party, she tells her sister that she had a passionate dream about a mysterious man whom she’d never met. At the party, said mysterious man shows up. He happens to be her fiance’s brother. When the brother heads upstairs to the bathroom, Freya follows him. Once inside she tells him that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, right before they make out. I guess she comes to her senses, because she dashes out of the bathroom before things go further.
Meanwhile, a man and his wife are attacked by someone who looks a lot like Joanna…
My initial thought? It was so bad. The concept is good but the acting and writing was beyond terrible, especially surrounding the two daughters. There was no way this show was going to get renewed. I couldn’t bring myself to watch any more.
But recently I had seen a few people talking about Witches of East End, specifically how much they loved it and how good it was. It seems the series is in the middle of a second season. Color me surprised. How exactly is it good? I decided I had to investigate. I rewatched the first episode and then the following three.
It still isn’t great, but I do find certain aspects of the show charming. Out of the four women, I find the mother and aunt much more interesting than the two daughters. The series seems to embrace witch cliches while paying homage to related mediums, such as tarot and voodoo. The setting in the show, with the architecture and embellishments of the family’s home to the feeling of the autumn in the town compels me to sit on my sofa wrapped in a knitted blanket while sipping a pumpkin latte.
It’s campy. It’s one of those things that I find myself defiantly not wanting to like and yet I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s growing on me. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be watching more of it…