TV Surf Report: Witches Are On Fire, Um, Trending And Audiences Are Spellbound

 

     

Santa Monica, CA — Move over Vampires, Zombies, and Donald Trump, Witches are making a big comeback on the small screen(s).

That Hollywood Zeitgeist strikes again as broadcast networks, streaming services, and cable all seem to be whipping up the same sort of witchy brew. Coincidence? (Or perhaps, it’s the result of very intricate piece of spellwork that would make J.K. Rowling proud!)

It wasn’t too long ago that Charmed, True Blood and Midnight, Texas were casting spells and brewing potions. Still, what’s old is new again these days in TV.

Let’s take a look at those shows coming up that are more or less, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered:

  • A Discovery of Witches at SKY (and now AMC).  Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this adaptation of author (and USC professor) Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy.  Book One is ADOW. Series premiered already in the UK, and broke records for Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. AMC will air S1 starting April 7th. This is a big hit! Series has been renewed for S2 and S3 ahead of US debut. Oxford locations! I’m in. Here’s the very enticing Trailer.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform) This drama is set in an alternate reality where witches cut a deal to avoid persecution and now work for the government. Sounds terrible! Will Ferrell and Adam McKay EP. Eliot Lawrence (Claws) scripts.
  • American Horror Story: Apocalypse (FX) The crossover (details here) of two seasons, Murder House and Coven, bring the story back to New Orleans where Sarah Paulson is The Supreme, the witch who runs that coven house which doubles as a school for wayward girls. Here’s a Re-Cap of the First Episode, per Vulture
  • Charmed (The CW) This re-boot from the EPs of Jane the Virgin ditches the San Francisco setting of the 10-year-old original hit and transplants the Sisters back East (or is it Vancouver?!). Now, the Charmed Ones are three Latinx sisters, each of whom shares a different father. Am thinking the timeslot is great (following Supergirl) on Sundays, so The Power of Three may triumph yet again despite the lack of support from original cast members Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, or Rose McGowan.  Deadline Hollywood Agrees With Their Review. Decent ratings for S1 and  has been renewed for S2 (but with a new showrunner), which is a win. Here’s the Trailer which Explains It All
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) was to have been a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, however, the tone of this re-boot is much darker and in the vein of The Omen. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) stars as Sabrina. No word yet on a cameo by Melissa Joan Hart, who starred in ABC’s hit sitcom adaptation by Nell Scovell. Series has a 2-season order which bodes well, and has recently been picked up for two additional seasons. Also, I think Netflix has beaten the Buffy re-boot to the proverbial punch. Here’s the Trailer via EW
  • Bewitched (ABC) The EPs of Black-ish have garnered a big pilot production commitment for this re-boot which finds Samantha Stevens involved in an inter-racial marriage. More importantly, who gets to play nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz or mother-in-law, Endora?  I have a bad feeling about this one. Project has been rolled over to next year.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) The Scooby Gang is coming back but with all new Scoobys and an all new Slayer. Presumably, one or more of the gang will have some Wiccan powers, or maybe, Alison Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) will return to advise. I miss Anya.  Just me?  Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) scripts. Joss Whedon consults. Also, have a bad feeling about this one, as well.  Money Grab. Sorry, fans.

                       

  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces.  Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!

 

  • His Dark Materials at BBC and HBO. Phillip Pullman’s books are quite supernatural as main character Lyra and her best friend travel the multiverse along with their daemons. It’s quite bewitching without really ever using the word, Witch. Two seasons are ordered for this expensive adaptation that features Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now Shooting in Wales, Per Deadline
  • The Witching Hour (TBD) Anne Rice’s 1990 influential masterwork is the first book in a trilogy set in a mysterious house on First Street in the Garden District of New Orleans, the ancestral home of The Mayfair Witches. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Warner Bros. optioned the book in 1990 when it was first published, then NBC picked it up for a 12-hour miniseries. Expect this property to get hot again once The Vampire Chronicles goes into production at Hulu. Here’s a Summary of the Novel via Wikipedia

WITCHING HOUR BOOK

  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Showtime) John Logan’s wonderful series gets revived with a new storyline set in 1930s Los Angeles, so expect lots of witchy hijinks and perhaps some magical realism. Can’t wait! Natalie Dormer and Nathan Lane are set to star.
  • The Magicians (SyFy) Now in S4, this adaptation of Lev Grossman’s wonderful trilogy has really moved on from the source material and expanded into some serious exploration of its characters. At first, I was not really into the casting or the Canadian locations, but the audience has found it, loved it, and made this show into a hit for SyFy.

N E X T   U P :

 

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

 

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things TransMedia from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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