A Discovery of Witches is based on the first book of the ‘All Souls Trilogy’, by Deborah Harkness. We’re in a world where witches, vampires and demons all live among us, carrying out normal human jobs and duties. Obviously these creatures are all aware of each other, and it becomes clear that there is a long, complex and very tense history between them all. While us humans remain blissfully unaware.
The show begins in Oxford, England with Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), a witch working as a historian. While carrying out research in the local library she discovers a book which had long been considered missing, and mysteriously only shows itself to Diana. It’s return triggers a lot of interest within the supernatural community and she finds herself attracting a lot of unwanted attention, beginning with Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a local geneticist and vampire. They eventually forge a romantic relationship and begin working together to try and solve the mysteries within the book.
My wife absolutely loves this show and looking at some of the reviews for it on IMDB I know I’m in the minority here, but I mostly found A Discovery Of Witches to be a bit dull. The whole thing is very stylishly done, highlighting Oxford as the beautiful city it is, and we also spend a lot of time in Venice, and various other exotic international locations. But it’s the slow burn and the characters themselves that didn’t really do it for me. The vampires are mostly moody, throwing their weight around and showing off their lightning speed and reactions along with their heightened senses. The witches are generally wise and supposedly more powerful, but rarely exhibit any more power than setting something on fire, rattling something, or making it a bit windy to the point where people get knocked off their feet. And the demons… well, the demons don’t really seem to do anything at all, acting and appearing just like normal humans throughout the entire show. There’s a lot of dodgy acting, and as much as I’ve loved Teresa Palmer in other roles prior to this, I don’t really feel she’s well suited here. It’s all just slow burn and forbidden love. Twilight, but with grown-ups and less special effects.
It’s just been granted another two seasons, so I’m definitely in the minority with my opinions. To be fair though, there have been some enjoyable moments, and I’m certainly interested in the direction the show appeared to be heading in. The finale cliff-hanger definitely opened up some fun and interesting potential for next season too.