It's the season of the witch... again!
Lifetime's new drama Witches of East End tells the story of Long Island single mom Joanna Beauchamp (Mad Men's Julia Ormond), who looks on with trepidation as her adult daughters Freya and Ingrid (American Horror Story: Asylum's Jenna Dewan-Tatum and In Plain Sight's Rachel Boston, respectively) discover that all the women in their family are witches. The truth comes to the fore when Freya becomes engaged to a wealthy newcomer (Eric Winter). Twin Peaks alum Madchen Amick co-stars as Joanna's saucy sister Wendy.
"What makes it different from other witch shows is it's very much centered on this family," executive producer Maggie Friedman said at the network's Television Critics Association fall TV preview panel Friday. "The title is similar to Eastwick, but it's a book that is its own thing... We didn't want to change the title because we wanted to embrace it for what it is."
But the show will stray from the Melissa de la Cruz-written book on which the series is based. "It is a little bit different," Friedman said. "The Wendy character is brand-new and she's very dear to my heart. She's that crazy aunt that we all either have or wish that we had. Another big difference with the book is that when we begin, the girls don't know what they are." Instead, Friedman said, it'll be about seeing them learn who and what they are.
"Each character has their own distinct gift and curse," said Friedman, citing Joanna's immortality and the short life expectancies of her children. "Joanna doesn't want her daughters to explore their power because there's a dangerous aspect of that," Ormond said, noting that Wendy wants the opposite. Adds Amick: "It's like two parents that are at odds."
Because the senior Beauchamp sisters are essentially immortal — Amick's Wendy has nine lives — "We get to tell stories in all different time periods," Friedman said. We will also see them face the elements in a different way than prior witchy series. "On Charmed, there was the monster-of-the-week kind of thing, but this is more of an ongoing story. In the pilot, we meet a shapeshifter who looks like Joanna. We don't know who that person is, but they're out to get our family. The ongoing story is to find out who this person is and why they're going after the Beauchamps."
Witches of East End premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 on Lifetime. Will you be watching?