Tuning In: Witches of East End (Creepy Cardigans)

Guys, this episode was boring.

Really, Lifetime is going to pick up the pace soon because besides Ingrid’s horrible choice in cardigans, there’s not much to talk about.

Okay, there’s some stuff to discuss and I guess I have to give you a decent recap because of that.

So, where did we end off last time, oh yeah, Zombie Jo was writing some ominous looking symbol  that she’ll be doing several times throughout this episode.  It really doesn’t matter what it is because I still haven’t figured out what it is myself.

We start with a faux dream sequence, which I think is probably the shittiest way to start an episode.  After watching twenty-five years of daytime television, I’m pretty apt at spotting these shitty sequences (the giveaway was Freya, who was walking around in her negligee like they were my penguin pajamas)  and really didn’t pay much attention except to get myself some Sprite.

Unfortunately, the rest of the show wasn’t that much better.

Aunt Wendy wants to teach the girls magic, despite Jo’s objections.  You think since both girls have to be at least pushing thirty this would be a non-issue and they could tell their mom to screw it.  But no, we have a whole episode to learn this little life lesson with Wendy teaching magic lessons behind Jo’s back and Jo just being stupid.

Most of the magic lessons are really lame and make me miss the CGI effects from Charmed, even though that was the nineties and you’d think fifteen years later they’d be able to come up with something better.

Whatever though.  After having some lame magic lessons at the river we actually get back to the real drama.

Everyone goes to Freya’s bar because you know everyone drinks and is in dire need of hot wings.  I should mention that the bar is not a biker bar.  It’s surprising, I know, considering how much leather Freya wears when she’s not wearing the lacy Spanx, but I digress.

Drama, of course, occurs at the bar because where else would it take place?  Halliwell Manor?  Probably not since Jo is at home moping after she burned The Book of Shadows.

That’s right.  She burned The Book of Shadows.  So wrong on so many levels. And after that, she just got herself some wine coolers and reminisce  with more creepy flashbacks of the past that aren’t remotely historically accurate-but considering it’s Lifetime  I’ll give it a pass.

Meanwhile, at the bar sad Ingrid is dating Not Andy (the cop that arrested her mother) after he unceremoniously asked her out earlier at the library.  Unlike the book, she automatically said yes.  But I think she’s slightly more pathetic than in the book given the sad teacher-ish cardigan she wears on a date.

Seriously, teacher cardigans on a date.  And a salmon pink cardigan when you’re a redhead.  Not to mention the dress under the sad teacher cardigan looks like something a church lady would wear in the deep South in the 1990’s, but I digress…Really though, is it that hard for Lifetime to shop at Modcloth or Anthropologie.  I did some fashions sets for the characters in this book in the past and none of them were forced to wear Spanx or bad cardigans.

Bad fashion choices aside, the date is a disaster which isn’t surprising since the characters share no chemistry and Not Andy arrested Joanna just last episode.  And I really actually wanted to root for these two.  They look so pretty together, but god when they interact (eek!).  It’s really, really, bad.  Not Andy more or less treats Ingrid like a coworker.  Maybe if she wouldn’t wear salmon colored cardigans….

While Ingrid is making a fool of herself, Freya is getting fawned over by the CW Brothers.  Ian Somerhalder Wannabe (Killian) has gotten a job at the bar which makes sense since he wears leather and has a motorcycle. This causes Freya to go all Piper on the glasses at the bar. Later Dash after showing off his abs in his too tight underwear tells Freya about how Ian cheated with Dash’s old fiancee.  Freya is like…turn off.  Dash, of course, apologizes, but he really can’t emote any emotion so no one cares.

While Freya and Dash are frolicking in bed, Aunt Wendy comforts a drunk Ingrid telling her she’s the best witch ever.  This gives Ingrid the brilliant idea to attempt a spell to fix the spell she cast last week which has dire consequences (it’s going to cause one of these yahoos on this pathetic show to die).  Of course, her brilliant plan fails and she gets corpse hands because of that.  But Aunt Wendy can save the day with some amazing plastic surgery.

Early the next morning or late at night, Jo is making herself a handy dandy hangover fix me up when Zombie Jo comes in. Much like last week’s episode of General Hospital where Mask Anna faces off against Real Anna, we get a hideously coordinated fight which is only resolved when Freya shows up and is able to get her Prue on and throw a knife at Zombie Jo.

Real Jo realizes magic might have a place in their lives after all.  As Corpse Hands Ingrid and Aunt Wendy come in.   And they all get into a big pow wow about how the girls are going to learn magic.  Even though Ingrid is like no more magic for me, but Joanna is like I don’t give a fuck what you think Ingrid and they end up performing some Harry Potter wannabe spell.
We cut to the CW Brothers where Dash (who is actually wearing clothes) tells Killian not to mess with his woman and that he didn’t tell Freya everything.  I just roll my eyes as we then cut and go back to Ingrid and the cop who apologizes and then have the most awkward kiss ever.

I’m serious.  It’s that bad.  I really hate it when a couple that looks so great together fails.  And I’m blaming Ingrid on this one because I’m still mad about her choices in clothes and the fact she’s characterized as a Lifetime Intelligent Woman.

Finally, we cut to a creepy old guy who is apparently behind Zombie Joanna and this week’s boring episode with hideous fashion choices ends.

Tuning In: You could Also Watch that Episode of Charmed with the Painting

I think I have sort of a love hate relationship with this show.  It has some really good attributes, but at the same time….man, it reeks of trying to cash on on the very dead show named Charmed.  Hopefully, it will deviate from this formula as the show goes on, but right now all I can think of isCharmed, Charmed, Charmed.

So what happened this week?

Well, last week’s episode ended with a cliff hanger where Freya gets trapped into a painting a la Piper and Phoebe from that one episode of Charmed, poor Julia Ormond is arrested by Not Andy (Adam Noble), and Ingrid  is told she’s a witch by Not Grams (Aunt Wendy).

This week’s episode pretty much starts out with Ingrid freaking out about being a witch.  In a very Lifetime type of way might I add.  I really don’t get it Lifetime.  Why is it you try to make an woman with a smidgen of intelligence insecure?  Or as you probably like to call it Lifetime quirky.  Can’t she just be satisfied with being herself? And yes, this is a TV show and yes I know we have to have time to evolve these characters.  But Ingrid is just sad in that turquoise cardigan of hers that she never changes and never remotely seems to get dirty despite the fact she was digging in a cemetery (twice) this episode.

Anyway, she freaks out in her relatively clean cardigan for a good thirty minutes or so in the episode.  Aunt Wendy sort of helps out, but part of her curse turns into a cat.  However, unlike other cats in TV shows that involve witches she can’t talk and is sort of useless.

Too bad, I could use another Salem the Cat.

Anyways,  Joanna is getting booked in jail by Not Andy (better known as the character formerly known as Matt if you read the books).  This is pretty standard Law and Order, but Joanna knows a hot lawyer dude who is able to get bail for her in night court.  Though she’s upset because it’s one million dollars.  Actually, that’s pretty standard for a murder charge and she only has to really pay $100K to the bailsman, but that’s besides the point.  We know eventually she’ll be able to pay it because hello she lives in Halliwell manor and if you live in Halliwell Manor you obviously have some equity.

So, essentially Joanna is sitting on jail wondering how she went from smooching the likes of Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt to having two fully grown daughters one who happens to be married to Channing Tatum of Magic Mike fame for a good half hour or so.

Speaking of Magic Mike, we cut to the men in this show who all seem to be salivating over Freya.  Despite the fact that Ingrid doesn’t look that bad in her pencil skirt and cardigan they all go to Freya because she is wearing something that resembles Spanx with a little lace.  Lifetime tries to give us some brotherly bonding scenes here…but really we just get some nice shots of the guys arms.  At this point, they’re ready to go back to that painting in which the Red Skull Wannabe has been tormenting Freya for the past half hour by setting the painting on fire.

 

Somehow, she gets out without Captain America’s help and lands in the bathroom of the bar even though she should’ve burnt to a crisp because that painting had been burning for a long time (twenty minutes minus DVR time).

Instead of spraying herself down with Lysol like a sensible person would after landing on the bathroom floor,  Freya instead goes outside to flirt talk with Kilian who is doing his best  Ian Somerhalder.  They talk about nothing for a few minutes until Ingrid decides to interrupt the party.

Freya is pissed.

Obviously.  I would be too if someone was given me the Somerhalder eye and then my Lifetime cliche of a Prue Halliewell sister decided to interrupt.

However, annoyed as she is,  she goes with Ingrid finds out her mother is being held in jail for murder and that she’s a witch.

She throws a bitch fest about being lied to all her life.  And honestly, I was rolling my eyes till I heard that Joanna forced her to go therapy when hello….she knew she was an actual witch.

Seriously, child abuse much?

However, Aunt Wendy decides to change back to a human at this point and tells them they need to dig up Aunt Marilyn-which is really just a coffin filled with cash-so that they can bail out Joanna.

Really, like the cops won’t be raising some eyebrows when they bring 100K worth of Ben Franklins to the police station?

Not to mention why not just invest in  a Swiss bank account Joanna it would be so much more convenient.

Regardless of logic, they get Jo out of jail and Freya goes all Piper on her mother yelling at her about not telling the truth before.  Since I’ve seen this plot device on several seasons ofCharmed I decided to eat some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at this point.  Somehow they get the painting and decide that it would be best to destroy it by burying it.  Because unlike burning the painting, burying it in the soft moist dirt in the cemetary isn’t going to cause the painting and therefore it’s occupants to be destroyed….

Uh huh.

Luckily,  Dash decided to visit Freya during all this and we got to see them make out.  The actor really does have soap opera actor skills.  Pretty to look at, but really not that great of an actor.  Channing’s wife deserves….well, Channing or Ian Somerhalder wannabe who can at least give off brooding looks.

The episode ends with zombie Joanna doing something that’s not good.

Overall, this episode to me was a little lackluster.  I still enjoyed it, but I feel like this show is going too cliche in some routes.  At the same time, I am enjoying it.  That seems so odd for me to say that.  Maybe it’s because Lifetime knows how to do male bonding scenes-or at least knows how to show arm muscles in a way that gets this viewer  mildly interested.  That being said, I really find the mix of Lifetime and Charmed odd, and there hasn’t been one mention of the Norse mythology which were the witches origins in the books.  Maybe that is a good thing, in part.  I really don’t want to see Freddie-one of the dumbest characters to exist in fiction. And I  am wondering how Dash can actually be Loki when he can barely emote any emotion.  Then again, when you have Tom Hiddelston to compete with you’re sort of doomed from the get go.  Either way, I’ll be watching and be live tweeting* next week.

 

 

Tuning In: Witches of East End (Pilot)

I  read the Witches of East End series, I’m a Lifetime television fanatic.  So obviously I had to watch the TV series based on the book when it’s on Lifetime.

The Gist: The Beauchamp women are witches and have love life’s that make the residents of Port Charles, Salem, and Genoa City look normal.  Well, maybe not Port Charles.  I mean, there’s no mother in-law/son in-law relations going on.  But there’s Freya has relations (or almost relations in the television show) with her brother in-law so close enough.  Throw in some magic and the fact that Julia Ormond looks like a soap opera momma (meaning nowhere near old enough to have two full grown daughters) and if you’re nostalgic for supernatural soap operas you have one to watch.

I will say this right off the bat, the TV show differs quite a bit from the book.  And I actually think that did wonders for the pilot.   Though there were still some things better about the book that I’ll talk about later.  But most of the changes with I’m 100% behind-save for the name thing, I didn’t get some of the changes in names like Matt to Adam.  Really, that much of a difference?  Does Adam sound that much better than Matt?  And Dash is just about as ridiculous of a name as Bran, IMO.

Whatever.

I will say the things I was really skeptical about going in (the fact that the girls didn’t know about magic and the introduction to the character Wendy) surprisingly helped the TV show work.

To be honest about it, I was sort of going into this expecting it to be a total snark fest.  Luckily it wasn’t.  Oh, yeah, I’m still going to snark in my review/recap.  But it wasn’t near as bad as I thought it was going to be.

It’s sort of bad I went into this with such a poor attitude, but given the fact that the actual book series left a sort of sour taste in my mouth you can’t exactly blame me.

Now onto the show:

Characters:

Freya: She’s actually an improvement from book Freya.  Though the show still talks about her boobs a lot (seriously that first break, you could totally have a drinking game on how many times they referred to poor Channing Tatum’s wife’s breasts).  And I like that the TV writers made Freya not falling instantly into Killian’s bed.  Though it’s obvious that it’s coming.  The dream thing though, um, no.  That was just sort of lame.

Ingrid: She doesn’t seem like an icy librarian, so much as a so called Lifetime intellectual.  Not exactly a bad thing.  Though I do hate the forced Lifetime quirkiness that they try to give her.  It reminds me of that  character Poppy Montgomery played in that Lifetime movie I’m pretty sure was sponsored by The Biggest Loser.

Joanna: Julia Ormond does wonders for a character who I really had issues with in the book edition.  Maybe it’s in part that the TV version of Johanna is about twenty years younger than book Joanna.  Or that this Joanna seems to have a life outside of bake goods and that stupid kid Taylor, Tyler, whatever he’s called.  I also liked the interaction between Joanna and the Lifetime insert character Wendy.  Usually I hate the forced female bonding that Lifetime believes every single female has with anyone else who has estrogen in their body but it works here.

Wendy: A fairly decent Lifetime family member.  With so far no sob story and/or soap opera secret.  She also has facial expressions that are gif worthy though.

Dash (his name’s really Bran-or if they follow the book his real name is Loki): He’s no Tom Hiddleston, but he does have a soap opera actor chest and I can appreciate that.  Actually, he really didn’t have that much of a part here since he was sent out of town.  But I hope he is actually in the TV series more than he was in the book.  He is very pretty to look at and hopefully he can act.

Killian: An Ian Somerhalder look alike who is very, very, pretty to look at and who has superhuman strength.  He and Freya also like making out.  To be honest, he runs pretty true to his book counterpart which is okay.  As long as he’s an Ian Somehalder lookalike that is.

Adam (his name’s really Matt): I don’t get why Lifetime changes these names.  Even though he doesn’t have the blue eyes, I liked the actor a lot.  Only thing is I think he and Ingrid have better chemistry as friends which is a shame.  The relationship is obviously supposed to have a Prue/Andy vibe to it (more about the Charmed similarities later), but I just don’t feel romance between these two so far.  Of course, there was not that much interaction.  But yeah….not just feeling it.  Though maybe that will actually give Troy/Ingrid a chance to develop if Troy is introduced.

The Plot:

It’s pretty much a mixture of the book and Charmed.  Lifetime really is borrowing heavily fromCharmed to be honest.  So much that when I see exterior shots of the Beauchamp house I’m like dude just do a paint job so it doesn’t look so similar to Halliwell manor.

To be fair though, there doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any Power of Three or Whitelighters, but other than that….yeah, lots of similarities.  The cop’s relationship with Ingrid is one of them.  Grant it, this was a relationship that was actually in the book, but I think in the adaption it even more so resembled Prue and Andy’s relationship.  Another prime example is that the girls are now clueless about magic (to protect them).

Sound familiar?

I almost expect Grams to be popping out of their attic, but instead we have Wendy wearing the guise of Zachary Binks doing that.

It’s not that it is a total Charmed ripoff.  Hopefully, they’ll keep enough of Melissa’s original story to keep it its own entity.  And I really hope they do, because the Norse mythology bits would really be cool to see on the small screen especially with what Lifetime has going for it right now.  But given what I saw, I think they might go a more secular route.

The pacing for the first episode was fairly decent too, though I sort of wish there was more resolution for the first episode than there was.  There were just way too many cliffies for a pilot.

And is it just me or is that whole getting stuck in the painting a total ripoff of an episode ofCharmed?

God, I need to stop thinking about Charmed.

Overall, I’ll probably continuing watching this show and doing these weekly recaps/reviews.  From what i saw in the pilot, it has potential.  It’s not the best pilot I’ve seen this year, but it’s not the worst.  At the very least it’s amusing and I always like watching stuff based on stuff I’ve read.  I feel like an insider and feeling like an insider is sort of cool even if they do change a lot of it to match a beloved TV show of mine.

Who knows, maybe Witches of East End’s version of Phole (Phoebe and Cole) will actually succeed.

Yeah, I’m still that bitter about my ship being sunk by some stupid cupid.

Lifetime Squee: Oh yeah, Lifetime delivered big time.  See characters section of this review.  But I like all three guys they got here and they’re all different types.  Though I really do think they need to test chemistry on Ingrid with all the guys since I just don’t see sparks between her and the detective.

OMG Lifetime Moment: The freaking ending.  Dear lord it was like Lifetime decided to throw up all over the pilot the last ten minutes.  While the melodrama will make me tune in, I just thought an otherwise fairly well paced show got jacked up a little bit.

Overall Rating:  A nice B.  I’m cautiously optimistic.  It could go either way though, but right now I’m still taping it on the DVR.