“Witches” Should Be Left Undiscovered

Recently BBC America debuted a new series “A Discovery of Witches” that originally appeared on Sky One network in the UK. Season 1 runs for eight episodes. There will be a season 2 and 3 but no word on if they will be aired in the US.

The premise is that various “Creatures” namely witches, vampires, and demons live among us and hide in plain sight. The main character Diana Bishop is the last in a long line of distinguished witches. She however rejects her abilities and tries to avoid using magic of any kind although it occasionally leaks out of her. It’s not just that she is worried about being revealed for who she is. She just doesn’t want to belong to the whole community of creatures. She works as a historian with a special interest in alchemy and how it eventually led to scientific inquiry. S he visits Oxford to research some of Elias Ashmole’s papers. When she checks out a particular manuscript she discovers it is somehow bewitched and triggers some series of strange events. The manuscript believed to be long-lost may hold the key to the origins of vampires and other creatures.

Along the way she encounters a vampire named Matthew Clairmont. Apparently in this particular universe vampires are day walkers. Although vampires and witches are not supposed to get along, they team up to uncover the mysteries of this lost manuscript. From what I’ve read about the series there is eventually some sort of romantic attraction develops between the two of them. Unfortunately I didn’t see any evidence of that. In my opinion the characters do not have any chemistry between them.

Bishop is played by Australian born actress Teresa Palmer. Although she has appeared in a few movies I have seen, I did not recognize her. So for me she’s pretty much an unknown. Vampire Matthew is played by Matthew Goode who I recall from his role as Ozymandias in “Watchmen” but also appeared in “The Good Wife” and “Downton Abbey“. Bishop’s mother is played by Alex Kingston who is most famous as River Song the wife of Doctor Who. She only appeared briefly in the first episode so even though I’m a fan of hers, she doesn’t play a big enough part to keep me watching.

I found nothing particularly interesting about the entire first episode. I’ve seen glowing reviews on IMDb but I don’t get it. As I said previously there is little or no chemistry between the main characters. The idea of some mysterious manuscript that holds the key to everything just didn’t excite me. It’s not funny. It’s not dramatic. It’s not romantic. There is little or no action. I suppose if you stuck with it you might get interested in the characters but a show has to grab me in the opening episode if I want to invest in it and this one just didn’t. I’m giving it a strong rating of “skip it”.

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