Unusually for me, this is one of those rare occasions where I saw the show before I read the book. There’s no comparisons here to the source material, but today I’m sharing my review on series 1 of A Discovery of Witches.
Programme: A Discovery of Witches | Company: Sky One | Date: 2018
Synopsis: Brilliant historian Diana Bishop is a witch living in denial of her own heritage. But when she unwittingly calls up an age-old bewitched manuscript from the depths of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she finds herself throw into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and the path of the enigmatic vampire Matthew Clairmont.
A Discovery of Witches, Series 1 Review
I hadn’t heard of A Discovery of Witches until I saw several people talking about the first episode on Twitter. A quick Google revealed it also to be a set of books, but I thought I would watch it first as it was airing.
It has been a while since I watched something with the mixture of witches, demons and vampires. In a way, it reminded me of Being Human but on a larger scale, where different species are trying to co-exist despite being told they can’t live in harmony.
Diana Bishop is a witch – but her magic doesn’t work. When a mysterious book reveals itself to her, she is thrust into a world of politics and forbidden love. There are dangerous people after her, but none more so than Matthew Clairmont, a vampire. Love is forbidden across the species but neither can control their feelings and are soon thrown into a situation far more dangerous than just this one book.
With witches and vampires alike both seeking both the book and – when her power manifests – Diana herself, Matthew will do anything to protect her. But the forces they are up against are stronger than them and their best may not be enough.
I instantly liked a lot of the characters. Diana is brave and defiant: she won’t be intimidated, even when she knows those around her have greater power. Matthew is your typical brooding vampire, but proves himself to be loyal and devoted to Diana – the power of their love should not be underestimated.
The secondary characters are also fun: Matthew’s vampire family, both old and young. Diana’s aunts, determined to protect her. Demons drawn into the tangle and loyal to the idea of a new world without discrimination.
The ‘bad guys’ are suitable creepy: Peter Knox was chilling in the early episodes but then seems to fade into the background; he doesn’t do a lot in the second half with more powerful creatures taking centre stage. Satu – a powerful witch – is ambiguous in what she wants. She seeks Diana for her own means and disobeys Knox. Gerbert is dangerous: a vampire wanting to overthrow power with enough strength himself to have kept a witch enthralled for years.
In each episode, there were times of tension and suspense. But the majority was following Diana and Matthew’s feelings for one another: once they had established what they felt, there was at least one scene showing that, despite what else was going on.
The tension, however, only had its moments rather than being present throughout each episode. The plot development actually felt quite slow – there were times where I wasn’t entirely sure what had been accomplished in that episode.
But the show was gripping and I was drawn into this complex world of magic and powers. Despite the slow-pace, I looked forward to each episode and kept up-to-date – which for me is a sign of a good show!
It had a typical cliff-hanger ending, but I’m looking forward to seeing more.
Did you watch A Discovery of Witches? Or read the books?
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