See It or Free It: 'Witches of East End'

Following in the footsteps of “Charmed”, “Practical Magic” and “Witches of Eastwick” (the TV show and movie); “Witches of East End” finds supernaturally empowered women, fending off the surrounding threats to their existence.

Julia Ormond plays Joanna, a mother who has protected her grown daughters, Ingrid (Rachel Boston) and Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) from learning they are witches. As one might expect events force her to show her hand and with the help of her flighty sister, Wendy (Madchen Amick), both attempt to guide the girls through their newfound powers.

The recent surge of witchcraft-themed shows has been met with hit and miss results.  When it comes to platforms that could make the female-centric supernatural entity of witch-dom be fully realized, the perennial women’s network Lifetime is one of the best bets.

The central female characters are strong, if a bit formulaic. We have the earthy mom, the laid-back aunt, the studiously uptight sister and finally the sultry (too put it mildly) sister. The formula has been developed for a reason and this show proves why it works.

The mythology is being gradually built and is not overwhelming to follow. The clichรฉ of two brothers fighting over the same woman is a tad overdone, especially on a TV landscape that has “The Vampire Diaries” and “Reign” among others, playing the same card. 

 It’s also a little too early in the series to have a vested interest in Freya’s established relationship with Dash (Eric Winter) because we are just as new to their union as we are with her new flirtation with his brother Killian (Daniel DiTomasso). This angle of the show is weak.

The series is well-cast. Madchen Amick is a stand-out with her scene-stealing role as the flirtatious and wayward Wendy. The rest of the cast does a respectable job. Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s characterization lacks the confidence one would expect of the bombshell Freya. Rachel Boston is goofily endearing as the hyper Ingrid, and Julia Ormond is competent as the matriarch of the bunch.

The picturesque setting and sunny surroundings work to keep the show from veering into melodramatically dark territory. While, it may not be original, “Witches of East End” approaches the story in a revitalized enough way to stay fresh.

Episodes Aired: 7

See It or Free It: See It, with only 3 new episodes left in its first season (I caught on a little late), it’s worth jumping on the train while, there’s still time before the season finishes up.

[Featured Image by Lifetime]