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Primetime Picks… 1/17/19

Jan 17 Posted by in Features | Comments

Today A Discovery of Witches makes its U.S. debut on streaming services Sundance Now and Shudder. The series, which aired on Sky TV this past September in the UK, is based on the bestselling All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Historian Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer, Hacksaw Ridge) is a witch who refuses to use her magical powers—not that she really knows how to control them anyway. After her parents were murdered, Diana was raised by her Aunt Sarah (Alex Kingston, ER, Doctor Who) and her partner Emily (Valarie Pettiford, Being Mary Jane) in their farmhouse in Madison County, New York. Sarah is upset that Diana denies her magical heritage, and wants her niece to embrace being a witch, but Diana is more concerned with her academic career. While she received tenure at Yale, Diana has now returned to Oxford in hopes of obtaining a professorship.

While doing research for a paper on Alchemy, Diana accidentally discovers a bewitched manuscript that had been thought to have been lost for hundreds of years. When she opens the book, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous world of witches and vampires, with many parties eager to get their hands on the manuscript. Vampire/geneticist Dr. Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode, The Crown, Downton Abbey) has been trying to figure out why his breed are dying out and are having trouble siring new vampires. He has been looking for The Book of Life for over 100 years, and believes the manuscript contains information about how the vampires were created—this information may be the key to their survival. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Diana after she opens the book, but must try to control his urges. Meanwhile, power-hungry witch Peter Knox (Owen Teale, Game of Thrones) is also after the book, but he has other, more nefarious purposes in mind.

This series is beautifully shot, with some really great production value. The pilot quickly establishes the main characters and some of the rules of this world, where vampires, witches and other demons hide in plain sight among the humans, always fearful of being discovered. The first season is 8 episodes, and covers the events of the first book of the trilogy. The series has already been renewed for two more seasons, and the plan is to cover one book per season, so there’s plenty more to come for fans! I’m not sure if there are plans to eventually air the series on the linear Sundance TV network, but today the entire season will be available on both the Sundance Now and Shudder streaming services.

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I got the chance to speak with some of the cast and creators of the series, and hold the actual book itself! Check out my interview videos here.

Tonight I’ll also be watching/recording Grey’s Anatomy, A Million Little Things, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Fam, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Gotham, and The Orville.

For additional suggestions on what to check out tonight, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Orville, check out the If We Controlled Your Remote… 1/17/19 post at TVisMyPacifier.com.