This coming Tuesday sees the UK TV premier of the new US show, Eastwick . On The Hallmark Channel at 9pm, Eastwick is brought to us by ABC and based on John Updike’s novel The Witches Of Eastwick.
Updike’s 1984 novel is in my view a nasty counter-feminist tale of three uninteresting suburban women who acquire magical powers when a new all powerful man appears in town. However, most of us will remember the 1987 movie The Witches of Eastwick starring Jack Nicolson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Susan Sarandon which adopts the stronger more comical empowering aspects of the book and translates them into a dark, comedy which I loved.
Eastwick takes the story one medium further into the realms of prime-time Television. The comic drama once again about three New England witches whose powers are awakened when a mysterious man moves to town. It is the cleaner, softer, more family friendly made for TV version of the preceding movie and very much mimics the production of Desperate Housewives, one of ABC’s most successful shows but lacks any of the the dark undertones of the Witches of Eastwick movie or the quirk or innovation of the Desperate Housewives seasons.
Paul Gross, Due South’s Constable Benton Fraser plays Darryl Van Horne. (Do you remember Due South?) Van Horne the egomanical millionaire and quite possibly the Devil incarnate arrives in Eastwick to unleash the powers of three of the town’s frustrated and remarkably hot “average” women.
Roxie (Rebecca Romijn – Mystique of X-Men & That Bloke from Ugly Betty) plays the a flaky new-age artist & single mom who discovers she has developed psychic powers. Then there’s Joanna a shy clumsy newspaper reporter (Lindsay Price of Lipstick Jungle) with a new ability to make men do whatever she commands and finally Kat, the overworked,under-appreciated mom (Jaime Ray Newman of Veronica Mars & Eureka) who commands the natural world.
The TV premise allows the producers licence to stretch the story out however seven episodes in and the “powers” are still only materialising which is frustrating to watch. It’s all terribly fluffy and predictable a but the trick to the show is to turn off your brain before the opening credits. It’s also very difficult not to sit there for an hour comparing and contrasting the characters, plot and development to the far far superior Movie. If you are the type who can disengage your brain cells when it comes to TV and I am (*ahem*Smallville) then it’s not all that bad. It’s silly, breezy and best of all, wonderfully laden with pop culture references.
However, before committing yourself Eastwick you should know that on 9th November 2009 ABC declined to order any additional episodes of the show effectively cancelling the series. Seven episodes have been aired and while the remaining ordered episodes are due to be shown it is not know when they will air.