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a discovery of witches

Starring: teresa palmer, matthew goode, alex kingston, and owen teale


REVIEWER: Emily carter


Historian Diana finds herself immersed in a world of vampires, daemons, witches and forbidden love when she comes across an ancient manuscript forcing her to acknowledge her own magical heritage.

Disclaimer - I am from the generation of Twilight fandom. I know my vampires, I know forbidden love, and I also realise Twilight wasn't made to last. But one can be rest assured that Discovery of Witches is no Twilight (in the very best way). And I'm sorry for putting them in the same sentence, but surely one must admit their background in vampires before passing judgement...


So I held my breath as a sat down to consume season 1 of Discovery of Witches. Impressively starring Teresa Palmer as a witch and Matthew Goode as a vampire. Palmer plays Diana Bishop, a historian at Oxford writing a piece on alchemy. She lives as a regular human, choosing to never master or embrace all her witch heritage has to offer. On happenstance she discovers she is the only one to be able to retrieve certain historical alchemy papers from the Oxford library (BUT WHY - cue intrigue). Judging by the number of whispers and supernatural creature committee meetings, one can presume these papers are of significant magnitude.


She is followed and pursued by the rest of the supernatural community at Oxford, whether witch, vampire or daemon (no, no werewolves as yet). She then meets Matthew Clairmont (Goode), a vampire that creates an instant connection with her. Ordinarily the two should never really desire to be in each other's company, but Clairmont seems to be the only one genuinely protecting her when others will do anything for those papers... 


The season ensues as Diana's powers come into play and we discover the nature and intentions of the witches, vampires and daemons. While there are the classic elements we already know (from, say, Twilight), a few bits are unique to the series. Clairmont for example seems to run a lab for fairly mysterious purposes, with a deep, dark history spanning 1000 years that we are taunted by. He's dapper, mysterious, yet we of course trust him innately from day dot.


Everything about Discovery of Witches had the old English, deeply historical feel - with a lot being set at Oxford University, to hopping around Europe in a series of visually stunning "castles", brown and mustard bookshelves and ivy-covered walls.


We are promised more high drama as the peace agreement between vampires, witches and daemons seems to grow more tenuous with every episode. The pesky humans seem to nicely stay to one side through the series, so as the audience we can well and truly stay immersed in the magic. Daemons are  yet to be delved into, hopefully in the next season (one area this Twilight child is unfamiliar with).


Palmer and Goode are magnetic onscreen, no matter what your opinion is of the fantasy genre. Even when speaking spells and pseudoscience, they're so authentic and interesting.


While yet to stray too far from the fantasy norms, I have high hopes for a spooky season 2!


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A Discovery of Witches is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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