TV Review Jackie K Cooper
"The Witches of East End" (Lifetime)
In 1987 there was a quirky film titled "The Witches of Eastwick." It starred Jack Nicholson, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon. The cast made the movie. Now there is a new Lifetime series based on Melissa De la Cruz' novel of the same name "The Witches of East End." Its cast includes Julia Ormond, Eric Winter, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Madchen Amick and Virginia Masden. Its success too will depend on this cast.
The premise of the TV series, just like the premise for the movie, is silly. There are too many witches, shape shifters, etc running around for any of it to be taken seriously. But Ormond, Amick and Masden have such star power that they demand to be watched. Add in Dewan-Tatum in a totally delightful performance and you have a series that has to be at least tried out for a few weeks. If these people continue to please then the show could be a hit.
In the first episode you are introduced to Joanna Beauchamp (Ormond), an art teacher. She has two daughters, Freya (Dewan-Tatum) and Ingrid (Rachel Boston). Joanna is a witch and so are her daughters, but they don't know it. Mother knowing best has decided to keep their talents a secret from them.
During this first episode Freya goes to her engagement party. Her fiancé is a doctor named Dash (Winter). His mother Penelope (Madsen) treats Freya with warmth but also criticizes her upbringing. On the night of the engagement party Freya is a bit frazzled as she dreamed about another man the night before and is still reeling from the effect of that dream. Things really get crazy when Dash introduces her to his long lost brother Killian (Daniel DiTomasso). He is the man who was in her dream.
All of this plays out in soap opera style with none of the characters being the least bit realistic. Still the combination of the witchcraft and the special effects added to the personal charm of the cast make this show appealing. It also has nudity and crude language which is a little surprising for a Lifetime series.
Ormond and Masden give the show a bit of class; Amick gives it some sexual allure; Dewan-Tatum gives it some playful charm. Put this all together and you have a show that shouldn't be a hit, having the potential to be a hit. It all depends on how charming the following episodes may be and how much of a spell the show can cast with its cast.
The Witches of East End" airs Sunday nights at 10PM on Lifetime.
Jackie K Cooper