Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lifetime: Television for Witches

My friend Mac (a dude) may not be the first person I would expect to dig a show airing on Lifetime, but since it's about witches, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Read on for his take on the new series Witches of East End!

Let's get it out of the way. Yes, it's Practical Magic: The TV series. The similarities are relatively few, but they are stark enough to be undeniable.

Please don't let this stop you from watching the show, because believe it or not, originality is the biggest draw. I really can't define it: there are aspects of freak-of-the week, but sometimes it's a comedy, sometimes a drama, sometimes a day-in-the-life. There is a large story arc we've only seen glimpses of so far, a definite sense that there's a huge world waiting to be discovered, but the protagonists also get clear objectives they can work towards and resolve in the short-term. So far they've been very reactive, but I have hopes, since they're making the leading ladies look like women who aren't going to sit back and just let things happen to them for long.

Hell, these don't look like women who would calmly suffer a long line at Starbucks, let alone forces of evil. 

One thing it has that I've never been able to explain to my sisters: Yes, I know it's paranormal, but it's also real. It's not a show where magic happens and then people react the way they have to in order to advance the plot; they sell it as, "this is how people really would react". And they all react unique to their circumstance. The woman who has studied witchcraft academically reacts one way, her sister who has always believed in magic and has been treated like an outcast for it reacts in a very different way.

It launches into the action rather rapidly, and enough goes on during the build-up to keep you engaged anyway. Personally I found the first half of the pilot dragged a bit, but I was hooked by the end.

I don't like all of it. The "magic" of the world is the worst kind, the "think of a thing and it happens" type. Also known as, "the writers will invent restrictions and powers as plot demands." And the actress who clearly exists to be seen naked sleeping with many, many men really needs to be given fewer lines to ruin.

Not that I'm complaining. Nor, I think, are these dudes.

I personally don't see this next fact as a pro or con, but I can see people either liking or disliking it: It is absolutely a show that belongs on Lifetime. All of the main protagonists and some antagonists are women, and men exist for romantic interest. Emotions are validated like parking at a mall. Intuition and feelings are given center stage. And a woman brags about having better hair than her physical duplicate. This is a show that will cause your cycles to sync, is what I'm saying. 

I like it. It's undefinable and I never know what's going to happen next, but once it does it feels natural. It doesn't fit neatly into expectations. Watch it. You'll be glad you gave it a try.

Witches of East End airs Sunday nights at 10e/9c on Lifetime, and all three current episodes are available for free on Hulu.

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