The Witches of East End title card.
Witches of East End is a fantasy-drama television series based on the novel of the same name by Melissa de la Cruz and written by Maggie Friedman. The show aired in multiple countries on Lifetime in the US, Canada, and the UK. On Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, Lifetime cancelled the series.
Lifetime announced its intention to film a television pilot of the series in autumn of 2012, with filming taking place in Macon, Georgia and Wilmington, North Carolina. On January 31, 2013, Lifetime confirmed that they were ordering ten episodes with the intention of airing Witches of East End later that same year. The series stars Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston, and Mädchen Amick The series premiered after Drop Dead Diva on October 7th, 2013.
On August 30, 2012, it was announced that Julia Ormond had landed a main role on the show as Joanna Beauchamp. On September 14, 2012, the role of Freya Beauchamp was officially given to Jenna Dewan. On September 17, 2012, the lead male role of Dash Gardiner was attributed to Patrick Heusinger. And on September 19, 2012, Rachel Boston and model Daniel Di Tomasso were announced to have earned the two remaining main roles, respectively Ingrid Beauchamp and Killian Gardiner. Finally, it was announced on September 25, 2012 that Nicholas Gonzalez would portray detective Matt Torcoletti. On October 9, 2012, two guest star announcements were made: both Mädchen Amick and Glenne Headly would join the cast of Witches of East End - the first one as Wendy (Joanna's sister) and the second as Penelope (the Gardiner borthers' mother). Tom Lenk was later given the role of Hudson Rafferty, Ingrid's gay best friend, as announced on October 16, 2012.
Casting, however, underwent a few changes and the pilot was to be shot again. Indeed, as revealed by Nicholas Gonzalez himself on his Twitter account, a few days after the pick-up announcement, the actor was dropped from the show; and, on June 6, 2013, it was announced that Patrick Heusinger's role as Dash Gardiner would be recast, for creative reasons. On June 26, TVLine revealed that Eric Winter would replace Patrick Heusinger as Dash Gardiner. On July 9, the recurring role of the detective Adam (formerly Matt Torcoletti) was attributed to Jason George. On July 12, Virginia Masden replaced Glenne Headly for a multi-episode arc as Penelope, Dash and Killian's mother.
Other recurring roles were also announced as the series was being filmed. On August 12, Freddie Prinze Jr. booked a guest role on the show, as Leo Wingate, with the possibility that it could become recurring. On August 14, Anthony Lemke was cast as recurring Harrison Welles. On October 2, Joel Gretsch was announced for a two-episode arc as Victor. And on October 9, Enver Gjokaj was confirmed as having received a major recurring role as Mike.
Filming the pilot began on October 16, 2012 in the port town of Wilmington, North Carolina, where several scenes were shot. On October 29, 2012, the crew moved for a week to Macon, Georgia, where they filmed the wedding scenes for the pilot at the historical Hay House. On Monday 5, 2012, the crew returned to filming in North Carolina for a final day of shooting.
When the network Lifetime announced Witches of East End was going to be a series, it was revealed that filming the rest of the series would happen in Vancouver, Canada, instead of continuing in Wilmington, NC. Later on, the filming period was announced as going from July 16 to October 21. On Monday 10, Maggie Friedman announced on Twitter she was scouting locations for the series, trying to "find Fair Haven".
Season two began filming in April 2014 and commenced in August. The final episode of the series aired on October 5th, 2014.
The mysterious Beauchamp family lives in the secluded seaside town of East Haven. Free-spirited artist Joanna Beauchamp is the mother of wild-child bartender Freya and shy librarian Ingrid, who are both gifted—and cursed—with a magic birthright, of which they are unaware. Freya notices bizarre occurrences in her life when she inexplicably finds herself drawn to the troubled brother of her wealthy fiance. But it isn't until Joanna's estranged sister appears with a warning that could change the family's fate that the matriarch must reveal to her daughters that they are immortal witches with untapped powers, a revelation that turns their small-town life upside down.
In November 2013, Rob Sharenow, General Manager of Lifetime, confirmed that the show had been picked up for a second season. "With its great story telling and amazing cast, 'Witches Of East End' is leading a full-blown witch renaissance. The show’s perfect mix of premium execution with content that is in the zeitgeist is drawing new viewers to Lifetime and we’re very excited to be bringing it back for a second season". The series returned later in 2014 with 13 new episodes.
Witches of East End has paired with VIP Fan Auctions to allow fans to bid on memorabilia from the show. The auctions will be held online at: http://vipfanauctions.com/witches-east-end-auctions/. A preview of the auction schedule and what will be offered can be seen at: http://vipfanauctions.com/witches-east-end-auctions-preview/.
Critical reaction to Witches of East End has been mixed to positive, with a score of 50 on Metacritic and 68% for the first season so far on Rotten Tomatoes with a consensus saying "Although it's ridiculously soapy, Witches of East End is often campy fun; it's a supernatural spectacle that's entertaining despite its silliness".
Diane Werts of Newsday gave the show a positive review, saying "What's utterly clear is that the starter hour picks up steam whenever loose-cannon Amick bops around - although Ormond does a nice job of grounding its shenanigans in a semblance of reality". She finishes her review giving the pilot a B rating. Allison Keene from The Hollywood Reporter also praised the premiere, claiming "Witches of East End is up against a number of other supernatural shows, and there becomes a question of saturation. Fortunately or unfortunately, we aren't at that point, yet. It seems there's plenty more room at the table, and there, Witches of East End currently looks like the most fun". Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times also gave the show a glowing review, starting off by negatively reviewing the "humorless" witches on shows such as the 2013 debuts of Sleepy Hollow and The Originals, then going on to say Witches of East End is a welcome relief to those series. He further applauds the casting and characters, saying "thanks to zippy repartee among the stars. Ms. Amick is hilarious, and Ms. Dewan Tatum and Ms. Boston make a pretty amusing pair of mismatched sisters". He ends the review with "there is a lot of heavy fare on television on Sunday nights. If "Witches" can retain its wry tone, it will be a satisfying alternative for viewers looking for a lighter way to end the weekend".
Witches of East End currently airs in multiple countries around the world. The series is also avalible on multiple streaming media services, on sites like Youtube, Itunes, Amazon and Netflix. The Season 1 Dvd was released in Canada & America in June. Whilst Region 2 release is set for October in the UK.