September 30, 2009

new show review: eastwick

Eastwick is based on a novel by John Updike that was also adapted to a movie in 1987 starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandan. It's tough going for female-dominated shows. We saw the quick demise of Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle in the last year. Desperate Housewives is probably the best success story in recent years. Let's see how this one fairs... it's a little different with some fantasy thrown in.

We first meet the ladies at some sort of Halloween festival in their small New England town. During these scenes, we get a voiceover by town historian Bun Waverly by way of a story she is reading to the kids about the history of witches in the town. Call me cheesy, but I actually think it's a cute and clever way to start the story. By the way, Bun is played by Veronica Cartwright, who was also in the movie. Veronica is one of my favorite character actresses, who's been around forever (though she looks great). You may remember her as Jack's mom on Will & Grace, but I loved her as the mom in Flight of the Navigator.

But I digress... first up is Roxie played by Rebecca Romijn. I think critics are tough on Rebecca, maybe because she's so darn beautiful, but I've always liked her. She played a charming tranny on Ugly Betty. Roxie is an eccentric artist widow with a teenage daughter Mia (Ashley Benson) and a nearly teenage boyfriend Chad (played by Kyle XY's Matt Dallas). Also, I covet her hair.

Then we have shy journalist Joanna played by Lindsay Price who is trying her darndest to be more confident and attract the man of her dreams, photographer Will (Johann Urb). Lindsay was most recently seen in Lipstick Jungle, ill-fated but I did love her clothes, and of course you remember her Janet, the girl who finally tamed Steve on 90210. Joanna's best friend is Penny (played by the lovely Sara Rue), who seems to be there to push her around a little.

Kat played by Jaime Ray Newman. I know her best as Kristina Cassadine from General Hospital during my college days. She's either a nurse with a litter of children and an obnoxious slacker husband Raymond (played by Jon Bernthal from The Class, who has highly unfortunate hair in this role).

The three ladies each come across a coin during festival and are mysteriously compelled to toss them into a fountain with a wish at the same time. As that happens, red ants attack poor storyteller Bun. They end up at the hospital for Bun until Roxie suggests getting drunk at her house. And the ladies bond. As ladies do.

The next day, Roxie gets a wax-sealed invitation (I need to get a wax seal to a mansion recently purchased by a new arrival in town Daryl Van Horn (Paul Gross). This was the Jack Nicholson role in the movie, and I'm not sure how I feel about this casting yet. He's handsome and cocky, but maybe too good looking?

When Roxie arrives, he propositions her for sex and offers her $50,000 to create a sculpture of him trying to appeal to her hidden desire for someone to take control and rock her world. She tells him off and leaves. Oddly, this was the wish Roxie made to the fountain.

Later, we find out that the mysterious Daryl bought Joanna's newspaper, the candle factory where Kat's husband used to work, and the town inn. Low and behold, Joanna meets Daryl the outside the newspaper office where he infuses her enthusiasm for her thankless job by pitching a juicy story... conveniently, also what she wished for in the fountain.

Kat gets to meet Daryl when he shows up at the inn where she's having dinner with the girls. He's thrilled to see the three of them together. She's not impressed by his smooth talking and magic water...until said water starts to get them a little tipsy. Tipsy enough to take a little dip in the fountain. Daryl fulfill her fountain wish when he promises to help with her divorce by taking care of her lawyer.

Through the episode, we start to see the ladies exhibit interesting "powers". Roxie sees the future in her dreams, Kat causes the earth to shake knocking her slacker husband from his hammock (and later gets him struck by lightening!), and Joanna makes her boss (and conveniently Will) say exactly what she wants.

The creepiest scene of the episode comes when Kat is caring for Bun at the hospital, and she suddenly wakes from her coma. She tells Kat "it's all your fault... it's happening again... he's been here before... he's evil... yadda yadda." And someone left a death notice for a Daryl Van Horn on Penny's doorstep...wha what?

So, it remains to be seen. Are they good witches or bad? How much control to they have over their powers? Will they help them or hurt them? Is Daryl there to protect them or control them? Will he stop hitting on them long enough for us to tell?

Maybe I'm just looking for something different, but this show was pretty cute. It also doesn't hurt that they're reusing the lot from Gilmore Girls. Oh Stars Hollow. You get me every time.


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