A Discovery of Witches

8.3 / 10
44 min
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" gives "A Discovery of Witches - First Episode" a 8."
Written by on 25 September 2018.
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A Discovery of Witches - First Episode

If we created them, we could uncreate them – Peter Knox

Based on the best-seller All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, a new series starts: A Discovery of Witches. I have read the books and I'm ready to be swept away by this imaginative and epic story by Harkness. The question is: will this happen?

The adaptation of books to films or series doesn't always go perfectly. Honestly, more times than not this goes wrong. Many attempts have been made to capture excellent books on film, but many times these failed. Harkness's books, in my opinion, are just made for the screen. So far, so good.

In short, A Discovery of Witches revolves around Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer, Berlin Syndrome), a young, extraordinary gifted historian of alchemy from New York. Besides all that, there is one tiny little detail she would like to keep secret: she is a witch. Not just any witch, but a descendant from the first witch ever killed in Salem. This young witch accidentally discovers an ancient book which was lost for millennia. And this makes her a target for several other witches, demons and sure enough, vampires!

The other main part in this series is played by Matthew Goode (The Crown), who portrays the dangerous and exceedingly charismatic vampire Matthew Clairmont. Both leading characters are already surprisingly comfortable in their roles. Teresa is very convincing as the clumsy Diana and Matthew has a particular presence on screen which fits perfectly with his dangerous character.

Walk past me, but don't run. – Matthew

The locations of this pilot are also well chosen and beautifully filmed: from Oxford to the forests of Finland, everything looks perfect. Evidently, a lot of money has been invested in the cinematography and it shows, too bad that the success of a series often hinges on this. One particular shot stands out: when Diana is rowing, a particularly beautiful technique is being used to display the intensity of this scene. You'll see for yourself when you watch the episode!

The story, based on this pilot alone, is a bit slow. There's not a lot of action. Obviously, it was decided to create a real, old-fashioned introductory episode. There is nothing wrong with that, but there's a chance it becomes a bit dull. And guess what, that is what happens here occasionally.

Still, I have to honestly admit that as soon as the episode started, it felt like I was transported into the pages of the book. A lot of care and attention was given to this show, you can see and feel it. The music, locations and camera techniques all form a whole, and this is rare nowadays.

In my opinion, this a good start to A Discovery of Witches. If the creators continue on this course, this series could become the biggest surprise of 2018. But as we have seen before, it could also fail spectacularly, so please don't hold me to it, if you don't mind.

An 8!
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