E is for Witches of the East End

Reviewed by Kerry E.B. Black


Lifetime produced a series loosely based on Melissa de la Cruz’s bestselling book by the same name. It aired from 2013-2014. It is another series inappropriate for younger audiences, but only in spurts.

Julia Ormond portrays Joanna, head of the Beauchamp family, witches or supernatural beings from Asgard. Ages previous, a rebellion took place against King Nikolaus in Asgard, resulting in the expulsion and punishment of several witches and wizards. These being appear like humans, but their brains are structured differently, they are immortal, and they possess magic.

For her supposed involvement, Joanna Beauchamp is cursed to watch her two daughters die at a young age and be reborn in an unyielding cycle. Their Aunt Wendy takes the form of an adorable black kitty, complete with the nine lives. To protect her children from a premature end, Joanna decided to raise her girls without knowledge of their true natures and inheritances. Thus Ingrid (Rachel Boston) becomes a scholar and a librarian and wild-hearted Freya (Jenna Dewan Tatum) a bartender ruled by her heart.

To begin the action, Freya attends a party in honor of her engagement to Dr. Dash Gardiner (Eric Winter). While there, she encounters a dark, handsome stranger about whom she had dreamed. They give in to a moment of passion in an upstairs room. Surprise! The dream man is her fiancé’s brother, Killian (Daniel DiTomasso) who has a history of seducing Dash’s girlfriends.

A “shifter” assumes Joanna’s form and commits murder. The investigating officer Adam Nobel (Jason George) and Ingrid tragically fall in love. Aunt Wendy arrives from New Orleans and warns them of danger and teaches the girls about their powers.

Codes guide witches and wizards. The world demands balance in all things. For every resurrection, the life of another loved one is lost. Rules declare a fiery and lethal end for any supernatural being who reveals her true nature to mortals. (Think Salem witch trials.)

A clever novelist, ancient evils, ghosts, revenants, and a touch of Norse mythology provide interesting plot points. The East End library, the Beauchamp’s Victorian home, the grand Gardiner estate built by the shady Archibald, catacombs, a portal to Asgard, and the town bar provide intriguing settings. Why, there’s even a meeting with Edgar Allan Poe. Secrets, lies, and mistakes plague the families. Although a bit soapy, the series kept my attention with its “nothing is quite as it seems.”

The series had two seasons and twenty three episodes. Fans protested its abrupt end. When canceled, fans petitioned for its return.