First Impressions

Witches of East End

Aired on: Lifetime

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Every year during the Fall television season, there seems to be a shared focus/obsession amongst the shows.  Some years it’s witches, some vampires, superheroes, monsters cops, lawyers, doctors, magic, zombies.  This year, we have made our way back to the supernatural and witches.  We have already checked out Sleepy Hollow in which witches and covens feature prominently, but the second week of October 2013 has brought us two more shows featuring witches.  Witches of East End is just one of those.

            Debuting on Lifetime on Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 10pm EST, Witches of East End is based on a novel by Melissa de la Cruz.  The premiere episode introduces us to the Beauchamps, a tight knit family with a seemingly uneventful life until youngest daughter Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), a bartender, decides to marry a rich entrepreneur (Eric Winter). 

            That’s when things start to get interesting, like Freya’s dream of a mysterious dark and handsome stranger kissing her and causing world destruction.  She meets this dream man (Daniel Di Tomasso) at her engagement party - he happens to be the brother of her fiancée and one can tell he‘s trouble from the moment he enters the room.  Something else strange happens at that party.  Her future mother-in-law (Virginia Madsen) insults her and then chokes on an hors d'oeuvre, something Freya was just hoping against hope for.  Could it be that Freya just willed her mother-in-law to choke?

            Of course, older sister Ingrid (Rachel Boston) thinks that the idea is ludicrous.  She has studied the occult for her college dissertation, but doesn’t believe in witchcraft…that is, until she helps her best friend and library co-worker conceive through the use of a fertility spell.  And then there is that black and white photo of someone who looks like her, but was taken almost a century ago.

            Things get even more mysterious when mother Joanne Beauchamp’s (Julia Ormand) eccentric sister Wendy (Mädchen Amick) arrives warning of bad things to come.  It is then that we learn about the family’s cursed history and their special powers.  According to Julia, she has kept her children from knowing their abilities to protect them from the curse, but to no avail.  The secret is soon revealed and Julia and her daughters once again find themselves in great peril…but at the hands of who?

            The first episode of Witches of East End was soap opera-ish and quirky, much along the lines of Charmed, but without the guardians, demons, etc.  I like the whole immortality thing and the curse in which Julia is forced to repeat the past for eternity, but found the spontaneous pregnancy thing to be a bit over the top.  I thought Wendy morphing back and forth from black cat to naked woman was absolutely hysterical.  Mädchen Amick plays the eccentric sister role very well. 

            That being said, I really didn’t find myself caring all that much about the characters.  Sure, there is a lot of decent looking eye candy on this show and some interesting effects involving photographs, but other than that, the characters really seem to fall flat.  I really didn’t connect with anyone on this show and wasn’t too concerned with what was happening to them or where the storyline might lead.

            What does this mean?  It means I won’t be sitting in front of the television on Sunday nights at 10pm EST to watch Witches of East End.  It just wasn’t interesting enough to warrant checking out more episodes.


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