Book vs Screen Review: A Discovery of Witches Season 1 vs Book 1

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It begins with absence and desire.

It begins with blood and fear.

It begins with a discovery of witches.

Both the book and the TV series A Discovery of Witches begin with this short poem, the key to the mystery that the All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness, spends solving. A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the urban fantasy series, which has now expanded beyond the original trilogy to include a fourth book. According to Deborah Harkness, several more installments, focusing on other characters and mysteries, are on the way.

A Discovery of Witches tells the story of Diana Bishop, a witch from a family of powerful witches in a world where there are three types of humanoid magical creatures: witches, vampires and demons. The creatures live secretly among humans, blending into normal human society. Under normal circumstances, members of each species spend time only with others of their own species. Intermarriage is strictly forbidden and even interspecies friendships are severely frowned upon.

Diana Bishop has always had difficulty wielding her magic. She turned away from the magical world almost completely after her parents died tragically when she was a child. She was raised in upstate NY by her mother’s sister, Sarah, and Sarah’s partner, Em. As an adult, she’s become a historian who is on the faculty and studies alchemy in the US at Yale and in the UK at Oxford. She sees herself as a non-magical person, but it overflows out of her at times when something unexpected happens, even though she is untrained in its use.

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Mindhunter Season 1: Review

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In Which the FBI Learns to Think Like a Serial Killer

Mindhunter is a new 10 episode original series from Netflix based on the true crime book of the same name by John E Douglas and Mark Olshaker. Douglas spent 25 years in the FBI, many of them developing the science of criminal profiling. The series is a fictionalized account of  Douglas’ time with the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit, where he worked with Dr Ann Wolbert Burgess and Robert Ressler to study and categorize the behavior of psychopathic criminals.

The first season starts before Holden Ford, the stand-in character for Douglas, and Bill Tench, the stand-in for Ressler, meet. Ford is an FBI hostage negotiator and instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. Tench travels the country teaching FBI methodology to local law enforcement agencies. He listens in on local concerns and occasionally assists with cases at the same time. Ford feels he’s wasting his time teaching a subject that’s too limited to students who don’t care, while Tench wants help carrying his slide projector, so their supervisor pairs them up.

While Shepherd, the supervisor, originally pairs the two as a way to get both to stop hassling him, it proves to be a stroke of genius. Local officers frequently approach Tench and Ford during and after their presentations with unique cases that seem unsolvable. These spark Ford’s instincts, leading him to seek out more information about crimes involving fetishes and repeat offenders: what would come to be known as the work of serial killers.

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