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.

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