Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, but I’ll watch it if it’s good and doesn’t stray into horror. Sometimes I’ll go for the light stuff, like Buffy; other times I’m looking for Blade or Underworld. So when I saw A Discovery of Witches was about witches and vampires, and wasn’t aimed at the teen set, I thought I would give it a try. It is really solid.
The premise is that the main character, Dr. Diana Bishop, has returned to Oxford doing research on alchemy. But she’s also a witch whose parents were killed for being witches, so she has renounced her power. She refuses to use it, although it has been manifesting on its own of late. She goes to the library and asks for a specific volume of a series of texts, v.782, a book that has been missing from the collection for some time. Except this time, it appears and she reads it. As she opens it, it unlocks some ancient powers and even transfers some of the writing to her hand. But the mere touching of the book has alerted others that she has found it. Other witches and covens, for example. And a very persistent vampire who wants to read about how vampires were first created. Apparently, they’re having trouble siring new vampires, and Professor Clairmont thinks the text will tell him how to “fix things”. The other coven thinks it will tell them how to kill all vamps.
Oh, did I also mention both the witch and vampire are attracted to each other? No? Oh, well, they are. And so romance is likely to bloom in the midst of a coming storm.
Somewhat ironic, but the female lead is Teresa Palmer, who in 2010 was the female lead in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice…guess she really likes magic! She’s pretty solid, coming across as a mature serious business woman, able to easily handle the vamp who has entered her life although she doesn’t want anything to do with him or magic. The vamp is played by Matthew Goode, and it is a LONG way back to having seen a much younger version of him in Chasing Liberty (2004). He’s dark, he’s serious, he speaks quietly and formally. Very good impression on the witch.
The rest of the characters are ho-hum, but the two main ones are solid. Almost makes me want to run out and buy the Deborah Harkness books they are based on, but I’ll settle for watching the rest of the episodes.
And I’m not only going to watch, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict RENEWAL.