A Discovery of Witches (Season 1)
“It begins with absence and desire,
It begins with blood and fear,
It begins with a discovery of witches.”
These lines at the beginning of the novel, aptly sums up what it is all about. A “Desire” for what isn’t. A “Fear” of the unknown and finally a “Discovery” that blurs the lines of what we see and what there is. I am a huge fan of what people prefer to call the “fantasy” genre. And when I see a series that is based on a book, I go for it.
I started watching “A Discovery Of Witches” to just get rid of my Game of Thrones cravings (I did not have much time to binge on the show).
You see, I get crazy excited when I realise there is yet another fantasy book series that I haven’t read yet but it is good enough to be made into a movie/TV series. That is exactly why I started watching this particularly series. The story follows Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), DPhil., a tenured historian at Yale University and a reluctant witch and Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a professor of Biochemistry and, guess what (let us not play the three guesses game), a vampire to boot. Now before you go ahead and judge me and blame my previous addiction for all things “Team Edward Cullen”, this one is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE THE TWILIGHT SAGA!
The first season focuses on how Diana, during the course of her research, calls upon an ancient text that was thought to have disappeared. Now, if you ask me what is so special about this text, I will tell you that I try to keep my reviews spoiler free. Following Diana’s summoning of the text, creatures (witches, vampires and daemons) are all racing to get their hands on the text. During the course of it, Diana meets Matthew, who is also looking for the said text. However, in the quest for finding the text, again, Diana and Matthew form a friendship of sorts (read: develop an undying love for each other). The rest of the first season follow the two as they try to understand Diana’s powers, fight evil witches, jealous vampire ex-lovers and convince some reluctant family members of their love for each other and find a teacher for Diana.
The show has been shot in some exceptionally beautiful venues and the cinematography, music and the VFX go a very long way in taking the viewers over to a magical and fantastical land. The show does not stick to the plot of the book (I didn’t know it back when I watched it, but now I do). And, to some extent that is a good thing (for this season, at least). The first season is eight episodes long, each running for an average of 45 minutes. The supporting cast have done a stellar job. The chemistry between the characters is electric, the tensions between them palpable and they have done an absolutely wonderful job, in making this mystical, magical world, a beautiful, real entity.
No matter, when I had started the series, I had decided that I would not read the books before finishing the show. But that is the thing with ongoing franchises, I am bound to slip! And as is the case for every franchise I have encountered, the books are always better. But in this case, I think the makers have done a commendable job. A Discovery of Witches is indeed a perfect binge worthy material, in case you are into watching on-going series that end on a cliffhanger and often leave you wanting for more. Or you can always read the books to know how it all ends (I sure do)!