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Witches of East End - Pilot - Preview

I was excited to watch a screener of the pilot to Lifetime's new show Witches of East End, as it is based on an intriguing book series by Melissa de la Cruz and features a wonderful cast.  Just landing the always-excellent Julia Ormond for the show marks another wise step in Lifetime's current mission to expand their original drama offerings.  The channel's recent breakout hit Devious Maids brought a feisty and quickly lovable group of female characters to life with shamelessly tawdry and soapy plots, and Witches joyously does the same with a supernatural twist.

In fact, fans of Charmed will likely find much to enjoy in the cosily familiar genre hallmarks that are layered luxuriously in the story of the Beauchamp family - mom Joanna (the elegant Ormond) and her two daughters, free spirited romantic Freya (a sultry Jenna Dewan-Tatum) and geek-chic librarian Ingrid (Rachel Boston). They live in the close-knit town of North Hampton, adjacent to Long Island, providing a pleasant "small town of quirky characters" feel to the show.

For complicated reasons, Joanna has chosen not to tell her two daughters that they are actually immortal witches, so in the pilot, the girls get themselves into trouble by edging ever closer to the truth and the dangers inherent in their legacy.  Bringing some welcome laughs to the proceedings is Madchen Amick as Joanna's sassy, long-estranged sister Wendy, who is bemused by the choice to leave Freya and Ingrid in the dark about their true natures.

Freya and Ingrid face other challenges when it comes to their personal lives.  Freya is torn between her impeccable, blue-blood fiance Dash (Eric Winter) and his mysterious-newcomer brother Killian (Daniel DiTomasso).  Meanwhile, Ingrid flirts with the local cop, Adam (Jason George), but their relationship seems equally threatened by her shyness as it is by the inevitability that she will be involved in legally questionable witchy hijinks.

Witches' pilot is quickly paced, mixing love, lies, suspense, and spells with an easy "charm" that is infectious. The special effects look terrific and add a warmly enticing aspect to the show. There are juicy scandals and shocks enough to fill the pilot near to overflow, and a cliffhanger that is sure to keep viewers on the hook for the next episode.  If Witches can keep this fantastic balance of cutely comfy witch genre elements and saucy melodrama going, it will be another rousing success for Lifetime.

Witches of East End premieres on Lifetime on October 6 at 10/9c.  Do you plan on watching?  What are you hoping to see in this new supernatural drama?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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