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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Book vs Screen Review: True Blood Season 1 vs Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

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But First, A Brief, Non-Exhaustive Tour Through My Favorite Romantic Vampire Media

Though I have been writing reviews on this blog for more than three years, I have been keeping a dark secret from you, dear readers. I haven’t really been keeping the secret on purpose, but a lie of omission is still a lie, so please, try to forgive me. I don’t think this reveal will come as much of a shock to my regular readers.

The truth is, I have a deep, lifelong love of vampire romance. I’m open minded, and can consider other supernatural romances as well, but werewolves are so packminded that I question their devotion to their beloved. Ghosts seem so thin and superficial. Zombies are interested in brains, but I want more than just a relationship of the mind. Angels and demons both have to leave their beloveds in the lurch when they get called into service by the higher- and lower- powers they serve. A shapeshifter is an inconstant lover in so many ways, how could we ever develop trust?

There are exceptions: Oz from Buffy. The medieval ghosts of Lynn Kurland’s paranormal romance novels. The sentient zombies of In the Flesh. The married angel-demon couple from Midnight, Texas, another Charlaine Harris story. And no one is more trustworthy than True Blood’s own shapeshifter, Sam Merlotte.

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Charmed Season 2 Episode 2: Things to Do in Seattle When You’re Dead Recap

In Things to Do in Seattle When You’re Dead, the Vera-Vaughn witches and Harry continue to cope with the loss of their powers and the demons’ war on witches. This week, a dream about the demon with Harry’s face leaves Macy troubled, Maggie discovers that everyone in Hilltowne thinks the sisters died in a house fire, and Mel struggles to bring a sense of order back to her life. They all deal with trust issues.

Macy and Harry go on a mission to rescue a witch from the demons. Maggie decides she needs to work on growing up more by taking on more responsibility and facing hard truths. Mel tries to reconstruct spells from the Book of Shadows to start bringing their magic back. They all find some success and a bit of their individual powers shine through in the process.

Recap

It’s night and Macy is wearing a silky, low cut nightgown and robe as she walks toward her bedroom mirror. Harry appears behind her, also wearing a robe. He says her name. She startles and turns, telling him he scared her. He asks if she’s happy to see him.

Macy closes her robe tightly around herself and asks what Harry wants. Sexy as this all is, even in a dream, she’s subconsciously figured out that it’s not the real Harry.

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Charmed Season 2 Episode 1: Safe Space Recap

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The CW’s reboot of Charmed reinvents itself again for season 2, thanks to new showrunners Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro. The Charmed Ones, Macy, Mel and Maggie, along with their Whitelighter, Harry, and their magical house, are whisked off to Seattle to be placed in the witch-ness protection program for their own protection from the latest round of evil that’s declared war on them.

This reinvention takes the show fully into the Buffy the Vampire Slayer realm of supernatural fantasy fighters. The witches may have a secret lair in one corner of the coworkspace basement, but you just know there’s a hellmouth in another corner and most of the other tenants of the building are also supernaturals on the run. The everyday, normal aspects of the characters’ lives are relegated to the edges of the show, while their roles as supernatural superheroes who are saving the world from evils large and small become the center of their lives.

With the Elders gone and evil running rampant, it makes sense for the Charmed Ones to put their magical duties first, but I hope they’re able to go back to their schooling and chosen careers eventually. And that they develop personal lives, though I doubt that will take long on a CW show.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 2: Camera Wheelbarrow Tiger Pillow Recap

ALEXA SWINTON

This week on Emergence, the truth about Piper begins to be revealed to Jo and the people around her. As the title suggests, all she, and we, learn are little tidbits that are as confusing as they are intriguing, and right now the pieces don’t fit together. Jo is still figuring out what kinds of puzzles she’s trying to solve, though she knows that there’s more than one puzzle.

There’s the mystery of the strange technology, the mystery of the orphaned girl, the mystery of the electromagnetic/zero gravity anomalies and the mystery of who’s hunting all of the other mysteries down and trying to cover them up. There’s also the mystery of the strange pattern that appears on tech screens and Piper’s tracker, but Jo isn’t aware of that one yet.

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Evil Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap/Review

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Evil’s Mike Colter, star of Netflix’s recently canceled Luke Cage, and his costar Katja Herbers, from Divorce, have a lovely working and romantic chemistry together. However, I had a little trouble moving on from his romance with Rosario Dawson/Claire Temple. After everything they went through to be together, it’s still just a little too soon.

Such are the perils of watching too much TV.

Not that Colter’s new character, David Acosta, will be getting up to anything overtly romantic with Herbers’ character, Dr Kristin Bouchard, anytime soon, since he is a Catholic priest in training and she is the married mother of four young daughters who is also the sole financial support of her family. Even though a seminary student like David, who’s only 2 years into his 5 year training program, can still walk away, especially if he entered the program out of grief and guilt over a lost loved one, as is strongly implied in the pilot. And even though a lapsed Catholic such as Kristen can break her marriage vows, especially to an absentee husband who barely contributes to the support of his family while he’s pursuing his own selfish goals.

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Always a Witch Season 1 Episode 3: Ouija Recap

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Episode 3 begins with Johnny Ki explaining the threat he made to Carmen at the end of episode 2. He shows her a video his mom made the last time he saw his parents, then explains that his parents were killed in a boating accident. He was learning to drive and lost control of the boat, so he blames himself for the crash. He wants Carmen to help him talk to his dead parents so that he can get their reassurance that they don’t hate him and that they forgive him.

Carmen can’t speak to the dead, so she can’t help him. But she assures him that real love is unconditional, so, wherever his parents are, they still love him and have forgiven him.

Carmen tries to leave, but Johnny questions why she can levitate, but she can’t speak to the dead.

Because those are two really different powers?

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Always a Witch Season 1 Episode 2: A University Witch Recap

Always A Witch:Siempre Bruja 102 Carmen Takes a Nap and Levitates

In episode 2 of Always a Witch, Carmen settles into the 21st century as she makes an arrangement with Adelaida to stay at the hostel while working there. She also gets acquainted with a new group of friends, while searching for clues about Ninibe’s disappearance and trying to stay one step ahead of Lucien. Carmen audits biology classes as part of her modern cover story, which brings her into contact with many of the people she needs to meet and increases her knowledge about the 21st century and witchcraft.

It’s so refreshing to watch a show about a witch who fends for herself, without an older male handler acting as a father figure to “guide” her actions and education. Carmen has various friends, advisors and mentors in her life, as any normal person does. But there’s no one in her story whose opinion she allows to take precedence over her own, such as a vampire slayer’s watcher, the Charmed witches’ whitelighter, or the male partner of virtually any fictional woman. In both time periods, Carmen listens to the opinions of others, then makes her own decisions. Not even Cristobal can sway her opinions or decisions for long.

Since I hate the trope that a powerful/magical woman always needs a male handler or she’ll become out of control (looking at you right now, Roswell, New Mexico), I’m thrilled to see Carmen able to think for herself at 18. Once Cristobal teaches her to read and write, she adds those skills to her supernatural powers and begins to leave the mindset of a slave behind. During her arrest and trial, it’s clear that existentially, her mind is already free. The Inquisidor even accuses her of seeing herself as equal to her master. It’s not an attitude she develops in the 21st century.

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Always a Witch Season 1 Episode 1: A Leap in Time Recap

Always a Witch Carmen with Christobal & Esteban

This is a recap. My review of Always a Witch S1 is HERE.

Always a Witch is the story of an enslaved, time-traveling young witch who escapes the danger she faces in Cartagena, Colombia in 1646 by jumping to the Cartagena of 2019. In the present day, Carmen Eguiluz, the young witch, must perform a mission for the wizard who helped her time travel. Then she can go back to her own time to save the man she loves from being shot and killed when he attempts to defend her, and stop her own execution as a witch by burning at the stake. But once she gets to 2019, completing her mission is more complicated than she expected. She makes friends and enemies as she navigates the future, and it takes teamwork to achieve her goal.

Recap

The episode begins with a seaside vista of sailing ships anchored off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena, Columbia, in 1646. On the shore, a young, dark-skinned woman is chained to a cart, pulled by soldiers. She is being brought to her execution in a coastal fort made from local stone. Soon, the woman, Carmen Eguiluz, is tied to a stake, with a pyre beneath her feet, ready to be burned as a witch.

The Inquisidor reads a heavy-handed list of charges against her:

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Always a Witch (Siempre Bruja) Season 1 Review

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Always a Witch, or Siempre Bruja, is a Netflix Original from Colombia. This Spanish language show (with English subtitles and dubbing) is a time travel fantasy about a young 17th century slave named Carmen who is also a witch. She uses magic to escape execution and travel to the present day. Much like the series Outlander, she travels between the two time periods, fights evil foes in both, tries to save the man she loves, must adjust to her new time period, and works to make life better for the people of the past.

Always a Witch is a fresh take on the time traveling witch concept, with a young cast and storytelling that’s grounded in Latin American culture. This show avoids the graphic nature of Outlander, keeping its content more suited to younger audiences, while still addressing the harshness of Carmen’s life as a slave, and the realities of the modern world.

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