The Witches Of East End Season One
Three and a Half Stars (out of five)
2013. Not Rated. Some action/adventure violence, and mild gore. Widescreen. Running time: the full first season. Released by Universal Home Video. Equipped with English subtitles. This was reviewed on Netflix from July 12 to August 20, 2014.

You sure this is where we stashed the extra candles? When I first saw the promo for The Witches Of East End on Netflix, realizing that it was a brand new TV series, my first reaction was: didnít they already make The Witches Of Eastwick into a TV series? Yes, they did, but this isnít it. Itís easy to mistake the titles, since they look so much alike upon a cursory glance (and maybe thatís what the producers were hoping would happen--hey, if they get more viewers by snaring them in like this, more power to them). But these witches, led by the alluring Julia Ormond, are based on a series of books by author Melissa de la Cruz about the Beauchamp family: a mother, Joanna (Ormond), and her two grown daughters, Ingrid (Rachel Boston) and Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum).

First one to guess what this is wins a free trip to Witchapalooza! Having been a fan of Ormond since first seeing her fantastic performance in Smillaís Sense For Snow (which weirdly has had its named changed on the IMDB to Smillaís Feeling For Snow. Seriously, WTF?), I was willing to give this a go. Hell, I sat through the god-awful Exploding Sun--a TV miniseries thatís so wretchedly bad it should be sent into the sun itself--just because Ormond was in it (woo, boy did that one suck! You should be more choosey with those scripts, Julia; tsk, tsk!). As expected, the Witches of East End is so soapy I thought suds were going to come out of my TV set.

Whoa, where did the puppy go?! But Ormondís presence very nicely anchors a great cast of actresses who play the witches of the Beauchamp clan. Daughters Ingrid and Freya have no idea about their supernatural heritage until about midway into the effective pilot, which efficiently sets up the proceedings without being too rushed. The younger Beauchamp women--sensible Ingrid and the earthy Freya--learn about their powers over the course of the season, thanks to mom and their Aunt Wendy, played with íthe fun auntí gusto by Twin Peakís Mšdchen Amick, whoís very well cast here. Itís the great chemistry between the four lead actresses that made me care about their characters.

Here, drink this. And no more late night spellcasting parties for you! But mind the suds! Oh yeah, Freya is about to get married to Dash Gardiner, only to be distracted by his younger brother Killian. With three way romances, along with goofy romance novel names like Dash and Killian for the guys, Witches is definitely not letting you forget that itís a bubbly suds-fest on the Lifetime Channel. But a welcome sense of humor in the scripts, along with allowing the Beauchamp women to play just as rough as their enemies do (these gals have no qualms about killing whenever their backs are up against a wall) evens out the sillier soapier aspects of the show. If you really enjoyed Charmed, then you might like this one. --SF

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