By Erin Clarke
In the “golden age” of television the genres have gotten wider and deeper as we move along from season to season. There are the usual suspects of course: procedural dramas in police departments, hospitals and government offices but in the last few years the uptick in “fantasy” shows has been at a premium with vampires starting it off, then zombies and now it’s the witches turn.
The fascination with these types of shows could arguably be the huge success of HBO’s True Blood which in its run has had all facets of creatures and monsters in the fantasy realm possible. There are werewolves, shape shifters, witches and demons throughout the town of Bon Temps and viewers have loved watching the supernatural every week, even if viewership has dwindled as the show’s run continues into its 7th and final season.
The tween/teen/YA channel, the CW quickly followed suit with The Vampire Diaries, a story of 2 vampire brothers in the modern world in a love triangle with a beautiful, young, curious human and has already spawned a spin off called The Originals. AMC’s The Walking Dead brought us into the world of zombies and, in my opinion, does it brilliantly. Next to FX’s Sons of Anarchy, it is my favourite show on TV. I love the way it makes me root for these people to stay alive – and let’s be honest – some of the zombie attacks and the way the survivors kill them are some of the most pulse pounding and heart stopping moments on the show. I know that the argument against TWD is that it’s an hour TV show that starts out with drama, lulls in the middle and ends with drama, but the character development is so good and with the 4th season starting, the stakes are higher than ever, nobody is safe on The Walking Dead.
So with the emergence of the supernatural on our home screens, the next force is going to be witches. There are 2 shows this year that seem to be on the road to success that revolve around the world of witches. First up is Lifetime’s Witches of East End. This drama is based on the story of a family of witches and stars Julia Ormand as lead character, Joanna Beauchamp, a witch and mother of Freya and Ingrid, who are part of the next generation of witches. Madchen Amick co-stars as Joanna’s mischievous witch sister Wendy. Freya and Ingrid are unaware of their magical powers or heritage but of course the secret does not stay quiet for long and I’m sure coming to terms with being a witch is going to make for some interesting and compelling stories.
FX’s American Horror Story is a show that is quite different in that unlike its predecessors on TV, it is in its 3rd season and unlike other shows, each season has a new plot, new characters and a whole new look. From its opening credits to its tone twists, it uses mostly the same cast from season to season (American Horror Story/ American Horror Story Asylum). This season is going to focus on a school for witches that protect and teach them in the modern world while revisiting the time of witches in the 1830’s where, let’s be honest wasn’t a good time for anyone suspected of being a witch, or even of having red hair, Salem would have been a crazy, scary time for a pale, redhead like myself. Jessica Lange, who by the way is a
genius and should be labeled as a National Treasure, is absolutely killing it on this show and in the past 2 seasons has won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her role, a streak I suspect will continue in her portrayal of Fiona, long-absent Supreme and mother of the
So there you have it, supernaturals are everywhere, on every channel and the genre is as deep as a witch’s cauldron so the success of these new shows are almost guaranteed. Quality TV in the last 5 years or so have set the bar high, but I think that these ladies are gonna fly right over it…..probably on a broom. Do you like supernatural themed shows, what is your favourite? Tweet me at erinl_clarke and let’s talk TV. headmistress of the school Cordelia played by AHS alum Sarah Paulson (ps if you aren’t on the Paulson train, you are missing out, check out her imdb and enjoy). Not one to shy away from horror and controversy, AHS Coven is digging into themes include witch hunts, slavery, mothers and daughters, and witchcraft versus voodoo. I loved Season 2 (AHS Asylum) so I for one will definitely be tuning in for this season.