It Begins With Absence And Desire. It Begins With Blood And Fear. It Begins With… A Discovery Of Witches!
A Discovery of Witches – Season 1 Premise
The Season 1 starts in Oxford, England on Autumn Equinox as we see Mathew telling us,
“Once the world was full of wonders, but it belongs to humans now. We creatures have all but disappeared-demons, vampires, and witches…hiding in plain sight fearful of discovery, ill at ease, even with each other. But, as my father used to say, in every ending…there is a new beginning.”
These words set up the Pilot Episode of the series in an excellent manner and we get to know what we are about to watch in the rest of the series.
A Discovery of Witches – The Storyline
Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), a historian, a witch, who has always rejected her true nature and lineage, orders Ashmole Manuscripts in Oxford Library for some research on Alchemy. She discovers that at least 3 pages are missing from Ashmole 782 (called “The Book of Life” by other creatures).
Suddenly, the lights go off and the whole library and surrounding areas witness something unusual at that very moment. Among the affected is Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a 1,500 years-old vampire, who also happens to be a geneticist and a professor of Biochemistry. Matthew has been looking for Ashmole 782 for over a century and according to the known knowledge that particular manuscript is missing for centuries. He thinks that Ashmole 782 covers the secrets of Vampires and other creatures’ early creation and origins. Having that knowledge would help him know the reason why gradually vampires are losing their power of siring while other creatures too are losing their powers. More importantly, he believes that Witches at no cost be allowed to have that knowledge. Because he fears that some wicked witches would use that knowledge to wipe out the Vampires from existence. As the story unfolds, in later episodes we see it clearly that his doubts are real and some Witches are planning to exterminate Vampires.
Here starts a deadly game of cat and mouse, where Matthew is trying to get close to Diana to get hold of that book and Diana is trying to get herself away from Vampires, Witches, and Demons to concentrate on her career as a historian at Oxford. But as destiny would have it, she falls in love with Matthew and they pose a threat to the all-powerful “Congregation”, a group originally formed by Matthew’s late father that has an equal number of members from each of the three creatures. To make things worse for her, Diana is unaware of the fact that the Congregation has a ‘covenant’ which expressly forbids inter-species love. The punishment for violating the covenant can be death.
But ignoring this medieval covenant, Diana agrees to accept her heritage and decides not to leave Matthew at any cost. In the process, she learns that her powers far exceed than any other witch in the history of the world. As the word about Diana’s unmatched and unknown powers spread among the creatures, the Congregation decides to bring her for inquiry and possibly execution for breaking the convent. In the last episode, we see that some congregation members are out to take on Diana and Matthew while the couple is ready to travel through time (thanks to Diana’s newfound time-traveling power). To know what happens to them, we need to wait for the second season.
So, the Season 1 of A Discovery of Witches revolves around the romance of the most powerful witch of all-time and a passionate, high-class vampire. The story develops slowly but keeps you on your toes till the end. The show has no blood and gory as you would often associate with shows featuring vampires. Instead, it has mild action but a very mature plot with lots of exciting, romantic, and thrilling moments.
My Final Words On The Series
All things considered, A Discovery of Witches has the potential to become one of the biggest shows from the United Kingdom. The TV series possesses an enthralling and engaging storyline, filled with strong performances by the entire cast especially Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, and Malin Buska. The overall direction from Alice Troughton, Sarah Walker, and Juan Carlos Medina is commendable, entertaining, and engaging. The most important thing about this series is its pacing, which is extremely consistent from Episode 1 to Episode 8. The theme music and the overall background score is quite phenomenal.
I would especially mention the Episode 4 end scene with “Separation Brings – the Witch Rain” soundtrack. This soundtrack touches every emotional string of your heart.
Season 1 was fantastic, but I would have to wait until the next season to find out if Mathew and Diana travel backward in time or they are caught. I am giving A Discovery of Witches a flat rating of 10! It is now going to be one of my favorites for a long time to come.
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The World of Movies Rating 10/10
Title: A Discovery of Witches
Year of Release: 2018
Directed by: Alice Troughton, Sarah Walker, Juan Carlos Medina
Cast Members: Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop, Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont, Edward Bluemel as Marcus Whitmore, Malin Buska as Satu Järvinen, Aiysha Hart as Miriam Shephard, Owen Teale as Peter Knox, Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop, Valarie Pettiford as Emily Mather, Trevor Eve as Gerbert d’Aurillac, Lindsay Duncan as Ysabeau de Clermont, Gregg Chillin as Domenico, Elarica Johnson as Juliette Durand, Trystan Gravelle as Baldwin.
Written by: Kate Brooke, Tom Farrelly, Charlene James, Sarah Dollard
Genre: Romance, Drama, Web Series, TV Series, Fantasy
Number of Seasons: 01
Number of Episodes: 08
Episode Length: 43-46 minutes each; just under 6 hours in total
Original Network: Sky One, Sony Liv (India)
Production Companies: Bad Wolf
Distributed by: Sky Vision
Image source: Images taken and created from the TV Series.
Reviewed by: Absar Ahmad