Based on the critically acclaimed and bestselling “All Souls” trilogy by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches is a modern-day love story, set in a world where witches, vampires and demons secretly live and work alongside humans, hidden in plain sight. Brilliant historian Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) is a witch denying her own heritage. But when she unexpectedly calls up an ancient, bewitched manuscript from Oxford’s Bodleian library, she finds herself thrown into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and into the path of the enigmatic geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode). Their unlikely alliance to find the book before it falls into the wrong hands – and their deepening relationship – threatens to violate age-old taboos and shake the fragile peace that exists between the species. A Discovery of Witches also stars Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, Lindsay Duncan, Trevor Eve, Valarie Pettiford, Malin Buska and Aiysha Hart.
What We Thought:
A Discovery of Witches started out pretty decent. It felt like it might be a show similar to The Magicians in that it brings back old-school supernatural stuff, old beliefs, books, folklore and magic. And at first it was that way. Then it turned into typical young-adult storytelling and that part of it didn’t work for me.
Going into it I had no idea it was based on a series of books. I’m obviously not familiar with those books and I’m not a fan of the 2000’s till today young-adult books that use supernatural settings and characters to hide a love story. You know what I’m talking about, Twilight, The Hunger Games, those books that used vampires or a dystopian setting to hide the fact that characters pined over each other. No thanks. Ultimately that’s what this turned into as well.
Teresa Palmer plays a historian doing research. She’s also a witch who doesn’t like using her powers. She gets an old book which changes everything. Vampires are after her. Fellow witches are after her. Demons and more want this book which has been missing yet she’s able to get it.
Matthew Goode is a vampire who wants to read the book to figure out the origins of supernatural beings and protect Palmer’s character from those after her. Once you see these two good looking people together you know it’s going to become a love story. In a matter of days together they are in love which angers the counsel because a witch and a vampire can’t be together!
I liked the historical and mythical elements of the show. The whole love story element didn’t work for me. I’m clearly not the target audience and once Palmer’s character starts saying I love you while they’re in a French castle tower and all that, not my thing. But I’m sure the folk who read the books will like it.
I will say it has some great production value. The locations are fantastic as are wardrobe and set design. Palmer is a solid actress and Goode is always good. I understand why these two would get together because of looks, scenery and story, but just once would I like to see some YA without it. It does end on a huge cliffhanger and the series has been picked up for two more seasons so I expect the second and third books to be the next two seasons.