On TV: Eastwick

If audience members can invoke John Updike's fabled witchcraft to magically cauterize the area of the brain that stores any memory of his Witches of Eastwick novel or the 1987 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson, then ABC's Eastwick has a chance at lasting an entire season. Instead of Nicholson's witchy triumvirate (Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher), television viewers will have to settle for Rebecca Romijn, Lipstick Jungle's Lindsay Price and the relatively unknown Jaime Ray Newman. If you can get past this downgrade in star power or complete the aforementioned selective amnesia procedure, then you might just find yourself enjoying this breezy, small town drama.

Eastwick's redhead, brunette and blonde are less-than-satisfied women in a quaint, terminally autumn town brought together by their shared wish: that a rich, powerful man will appear in their picturesque hamlet and save them from mediocrity, dead end jobs and abusive relationships. Before you can say abracadabra or Rebecca Romijn Stamos, a mysterious, handsome man (Paul Gross) manifests and gifts the women with the self-confidence magical powers to demand raises, bully donuts out of co-worker's hands, stand up to their previous abusers and entertain psychic visions.

Admittedly, you could write an entire college thesis about the decision not to make the present day television adaptation of Updike's novel more empowering to women. But there is also a large female demographic who tears through Joan Collins novels, enjoys ABC's Desperate Housewives without any guilty afterthoughts and fantasizes about their own handsome hero plucking them out of their disappointing obscurity. If you're looking for female characters with a modicum of self-respect, TiVo The Closer.

The jokes aren't particularly funny ("I need a man with a huge...appreciation for art") but I would rather listen to Rebecca Romijn discuss her fertility sculptures than watch another one of Jay Leno's teleconference interviews. Sara Rue is shamelessly underused as the suspicious townie and in tonight's pilot, the lady witches get bombed on magic water and dance around in the town fountain (pictured above). Eastwick is an escape though, whether it's from your 9 to 5 job or society's value of women.


  • it came from the tar pits says:

    Better or worse than Charmed?
    I realize answering that requires an admission of having watched Charmed.

  • Julie Miller says:

    Believe it or not, better. It doesn't hurt that Eastwick uses the same small town set used by Gilmore Girls. I'm anxious to hear what you think of the show.

  • CDevene says:

    I watched the premier, liked it and will watch for balance of the season. The characters have a good outline with enough depth to keep it going. It's good drama AND funny! Gross has captured the best of Nicholson, but appears he'll still make the character his own. Good for him! As for the comparison to Charmed... am/was a big fan and have all the DVD's. If they keep the gore and screaming to a bare minimum, they'll probably have a hit.