The second entry into AMC’s Anne Rice universe stars Alexandra Daddario as a neurosurgeon with a witchy household historical past.
AMC is creating an Anne Rice small-screen universe. No less than, that’s what the channel appears to be trying with Mayfair Witches, the second adaptation of a Rice sequence in as a few years. Final fall, AMC introduced viewers Interview with the Vampire, a decadent and deliciously melodramatic adaptation of the writer’s most well-known work. But when the TV powers-that-be plan to create what’s been dubbed the Immortal Universe, they’re off to a bumpy begin. There are not any vampires right here but — except the sequence is haunted by an invisible vitality vampire that slowly drains it of life. In its first 5 episodes, Mayfair Witches is thus far a little bit of a misfire, beginning with an thrilling premiere earlier than rapidly languishing.
Alexandra Daddario, whose newlywed character was one of the compelling within the first season of The White Lotus, right here performs neurosurgeon, Dr. Rowan Fielding. The present’s first episode units up Rowan’s intriguing story effectively. We study that she’s adopted, hardworking, and never into relationships, however we additionally study that she has a startling superpower: Rowan, she’s shocked to find, can see peoples’ probably life-threatening medical circumstances or perhaps even trigger them. She’s disturbed by the invention, pushing her towards a journey to uncover her lineage.
A lot of the present’s first 5 hours comply with Rowan on this journey. Although some narrative components of the sequence are extraordinarily compelling, the present has an odd limpness that contradicts Rice’s vibrant creativeness. As alluded to within the title, the sequence is definitely about witches, particularly a household of them whose powers appear darkly intertwined with a presence named Lasher (Jack Huston). Lasher’s connection to Mayfair girls seems as if it’s meant to be each horny and malevolent, however thus far, it’s principally simply muddled. He exhibits as much as whisper of their ears however is in any other case a imprecise antagonistic drive, one which’s not fascinating sufficient to carry collectively a whole present.
Sadly, Daddario’s character will not be both, at the very least not the best way she’s being written. The sequence lays glorious groundwork for Rowan, revealing her to be principled and intelligent, however it quickly begins throwing her into mysterious, logic-defying, sometimes-deadly conditions that make her really feel extra like a pawn than a protagonist. Greater than as soon as, she results in conditions with chauvinistic males, and the present appears to have one thing on its thoughts with regard to male vanity and starvation for energy, however these themes have but to come back to fruition. There could also be complicated concepts across the fringes of the sequence right here, and there’s some probably nice Gothic fashion too, however it’s all trapped beneath a wierd blandness that permeates the present’s visuals, scripts, and even some performances.
To be clear, Mayfair Witches isn’t a complete loss. Daddario does the very best she will with the fabric, and the present contains a promising supporting forged, together with Annabeth Gish, Beth Grant, and Harry Hamlin. There’s additionally some cool lore inside the world of Mayfair Witches, from flashbacks to ancestors from the 1600s who suffered by patriarchal paranoia to trippy, neverending illusions to a gaggle of Mayfairs with largely as-yet-unexplained powers. If given an opportunity, it’s completely attainable that the present can course appropriate. Nonetheless, its gradual, energy-sapped begin means it’s already unlikely to be talked about in the identical breath as its immediately fabulous vampiric counterpart.
Principally, the present lacks any severe chew. Rice’s oft-controversial writing is nothing if not over-the-top in its drama, but Mayfair Witches feels subdued. The e-book on which the present relies, Lives of the Mayfair Witches, is rife with violence and taboo-shattering content material that most individuals wouldn’t wish to see on display even when Esta Spalding and Michelle Ashford’s sequence did attempt to adapt it. Nonetheless, the present additionally appears to steer clear of something even flippantly edgy and successfully neuters itself within the course of. Rice’s works are usually horny, scary, or an advanced mixture of each, and this present, at the very least thus far, manages to be neither.
I sofa these criticisms in qualifiers like “thus far” as a result of even 5 episodes in, Mayfair Witches nonetheless feels prefer it’s barely beginning. That could be probably the most unlucky half; the sequence begins with a promising pilot that can get viewers tentatively invested, then languishes in a bizarre limbo made fully of disjointed, mysterious goings-on and seemingly limitless exposition. It’s unlucky that AMC’s Immortal Universe was seemingly in jeopardy earlier than it even started, due to restructuring that’s led to layoffs and cancellations. It’s much more unlucky that Mayfair Witches doesn’t depart a robust impression, both alone or in distinction with the channel’s far-superior Rice-inspired counterpart. Alas, there’s nothing notably bewitching right here.
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches is at present airing on AMC. Watch the sequence trailer right here.
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