With fantasy storylines like those found in “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” intriguing the masses, it seems any form of magical realism is a recipe for success. With this assumption in mind, “Eastwick,” based off the John Updike novel “The Witches of Eastwick,” seemingly sets itself up for the ratings of a lifetime. Its premiere, though, contains a series of predictable events and stereotypical characters. For good measure, let’s just say the magic wasn’t there.


Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Eastwick is a small town with a history filled with magic and supernatural myths. The opening scene sweeps the audience through a festival on a crisp day reminiscent of Halloween. After wishing on a fountain, three women find themselves drawn together by a mysterious force and begin to discover powers they never knew they had.

Roxie (Rebecca Romijn, “Ugly Betty”), Joanna (Lindsay Price, “Lipstick Jungle”) and Kat (Jaime Ray Newman, “Made of Honor”) find themselves strangely linked to Eastwick’s new businessman, Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross, “Slings and Arrows”). Van Horne unleashes each woman’s inner powers, which does absolutely nothing except completely give away every aspect of the unsurprising plot. Roxie is the developing psychic; Joanna plays the uptight-nerd-turned-seductress; and Kat nurtures her motherly character with the power to call upon nature.

A plot in which three witches deal with the unknown forces of a man who seems to know more about their powers than they do themselves has some appeal to it. Even so, it cannot be stressed enough that every scene is either predictable or literally predicted earlier in the show. They are, after all, witches.

The writers of “Eastwick” must have forgotten that fact. While psychic powers are fascinating, there’s something to be said about a surprise here and there. Each woman’s deepest desire manifests itself in the witch’s individual power, and the plot insinuates that trouble will ensue. Of course, as a townswoman blatantly implies, the fate of Eastwick will undoubtedly be in the hands of the women and puppeteer Van Horne.

As for a bright spot in the program, the ambiance is delightful. The deep autumn colors presented throughout most scenes create a sense of fall nostalgia, the kind that easily slips into the childish fun of anything magical. “Eastwick,” though, isn’t trying hard enough to become the mystifying show it could be. The three witches don’t question their newfound powers as much as they should and Darryl Van Horne isn’t nearly as creepy as he should seem, being a man who has control over the trio. It’s safe to say the witches’ individual characteristics are banal, but perhaps the series will develop each of the characters more deeply, eventually pulling more out of the acting than the writing itself.

“Eastwick” isn’t a show that will cast its spell as wide as other magical mediums have in the past. And as for that slight feeling of nostalgia, a bite into a caramel apple will suffice.

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