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July 28, 2014

ABC sets up shop in Eastwick

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 12th 2008 8:23AM
The Witches of EastwickWith Maggie Friedman (Dawson's Creek) behind it, I have to imagine that The Witches of Eastwick ABC pilot project just announced may feature a younger cast than the 1987 film on which it is being based. The announcement specifically states that it is a variation on the film as opposed to the controversial John Updike novel. The book has been blasted for being misogynistic, while the movie offered more in female empowerment.

This will be third time someone has made a go of adapting the film for television. I can't help but think think of this as a more serious Charmed. Will the male antagonist, played by Jack Nicholson in the film, remain throughout the series, or will he just be an early problem dealt with by the three witchy leads? Considering Friedman's resume also includes the horridly under-appreciated Jack and Bobby and the brilliant Once and Again, there are a lot of ways she could go with this.

The latter series was a brilliant "fortysomething" look at life, and I could see an excellent supernatural Desperate Housewives come out of this. Or she could go the teen route and make it high school witchery. Either way, if she takes a more dramatically serious tone to the show than Charmed did with its witches, then she could create a pretty unique atmosphere for dramatic exploration. And since then it would be serious supernatural drama on a major network, it would have to be promptly canceled.

While the original film and novel dealt with these three women conjuring up a devilish character who proceeds to seduce and manipulate them, I'm not so sure in our modern era such female weakness would be allowed as a centerpiece. Maybe one (two at most) character could fall to his spell, but wouldn't you think then the others would just take care of the problem?

And again, I'm not sure if this devil-like menace would be effective as an ongoing antagonist, unless he weren't the featured "problem" in every episode. To succeed as a series, I'd think they'd have to move beyond such a focused and limited premise and explore the lives of these witches beyond their "man" issues. What do you think is the best approach? Who would you cast in your version?

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