Review of "Witches of East End" on Lifetime From The TV MegaSite

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"Witches of East End" review by Sundi 9/26/13
Premieres October 6 at 10/9c on Lifetime


Ok, Lifetime, you have my attention. Upon first glance, the new supernatural drama Witches of East End looks like another tired attempt to jump on the mythological bandwagon, but after watching the pilot, I am not ready to write it off just yet. Lifetime, who has billed itself as, “television for women,” is not in danger of going against type here, but it packs a punch with stars like Julia Ormond and Madchen Amick, as Joanna and Wendy Beauchamp; not to mention Virginia Madsen as the snooty, above-it-all Penelope Gardiner. Ormond and Amick play witchy sisters with long lives behind them (and ahead of them in Joanna’s case) and who are working together to fight off a threat from a doppelganger bent on doing harm in Joanna’s name.

Joanna’s daughters, Ingrid and Freya, are pretty standard Lifetime characters. Ingrid, played by Rachel Boston, is the pretty, too-smart-for-her-own-good, analytical sister, with a dissertation under her belt about historical witchcraft (convenient, I know). She is the most skeptical as she begins to discover her “powers;” something their mother has kept secret all these years. Her love interest, Adam, is played by the ubiquitous, Jason George, who conveniently found time off from Mistresses, and Grey’s Anatomy to immerse himself in an even sudsier nighttime soap. Freya, played by Jenna Dewan Tatum, is the sexy, vixen sister, but is more open to the strange things happening to her as she makes Penelope choke with her mind, and spontaneously explodes a coffee mug. She becomes involved in a steamy love triangle with Dash (Eric Winter) and his broody brother Killian (Daniel DiTomasso), and encounters an ex-lover escaped from a painting, bent on revenge, all in the first episode!

As soapy as this hour-long show is, and as female-centric as it inevitably must be, the mythology behind the witches is fascinating. Joanna has given birth to the same two girls over a dozen times, but each time they die before they are thirty. Over and over she becomes pregnant with her daughters, often before their graves are even cold. They lose their lives again and again, but this time she hides their magic as a way to change their destiny. Unlike other witch lore I’ve encountered (and trust me, I watch a lot of other-worldly stuff), the reincarnation twist is novel and intriguing. It is an unique twist on an (almost) played-out genre. However, if I know Lifetime, I trust them to make it about more than the witchcraft as the drama heats up among the women and their respective love interests and between each other.

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