The Mayfair Witches
A young doctor believes she has a terrible superpower and longs to find her birth family.
Spoiler Level: None
At first glance, the new AMC+ series based on Anne Rice’s trilogy of books Lives of the Mayfair Witches, appears to be a lush, richly adorned series with some interesting characters, but as the first episode progresses, we are led on a journey that is more confusing than illuminating. There is a fine line the first episode treads where the audience must be given enough information to understand what is going on, but not too much information which creates a feeling that the exposition is forced and disingenuous. The pilot episode of The Mayfair Witches errs on both elements, not giving us enough information to really understand what is happening and giving us too much information that could have been exposed later. With the amount of jumping around, the flow of the episode is jarring and we never settle in one place long enough to connect with any character.
The plot for the series centers around the Mayfair family, a group of women gifted with superpowers. Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario) is a gifted neurosurgeon who believes she just has really good instincts. She knows she is adopted and longs to find her birth family. What she doesn’t know is that she is part of the Mayfair dynasty and that a powerful entity named Lasher (Jack Huston) is bound to the family with some nefarious goal of his own. When she begins to suspect that she has powers, her adopted mother (Erica Gimpel, Fame The Series), tries to quell these feelings unsuccessfully. The first episode jumps around in time quite a bit, from the modern day to the recent past (within the last 30 years), and I believe in the coming episodes will travel back to 17th century Scotland. The problem in the first episode was, we aren’t really informed of what time-period each scene is in. This may have been done on purpose to keep the audience intrigued and not to give away too much too soon, but I just found it confusing (and I am normally good at following and understanding a time jumping plot).
I have not read the book series but am curious what the fans will think of the episode and the series taken as a whole. What is unfortunate is that the actors are all cast very well and seem to be doing the best with the material they are given but, in my opinion, the script is just too confusing. The production value is also a bit mixed. The settings are all lavish and appropriate for the story with some beautifully shot scenes and stylistic camera shots, but some of the special effects weren’t what I would expect with today’s technology. They weren’t bad, just not up to par with other similar series. Some critics have been given the first 5 episodes to preview and most reviewers agree that the leads, Alexandra Daddario and Jack Huston are great, but the plot is a bit overloaded with “too many derivative elements to conjure a compelling spell of its own”. Having only watched the first episode, from what I saw, I would have to agree.
Not a terrible show, but I found it confusing without focusing long enough on any character to really form a connection.
The Mayfair Witches will debut on January 8, 2023 on AMC.
The Mayfair Witches: Conjuring Confusion
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 8/108/10