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TV Review: ABC's 'Eastwick'

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Two and a half stars
9 p.m. Wednesday on WLS-Channel 7

It's probably redundant to say that "Eastwick" isn't very original, considering that it's based on the movie "The Witches of Eastwick," which was based on the John Updike novel. Even the series isn't particularly fresh; there have been two earlier tries, in 1992 and 2002 - and that last adaptation boasted a cast that included Marcia Cross.

"Eastwick," in fact, feels like a combination of Cross's "Desperate Housewives" and "9 to 5," both of which already did it better. "Eastwick" is outdated on arrival. The show looks gorgeous, invoking a picturesque, small-town Salem that practically sparkles. The actors are good, the writing's fine, and it's pleasant enough to watch. It's just that it all adds up to a series of pale imitations.

Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman and Lindsey Price ("Lipstick Jungle") aren't stepping into the shoes of Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer directly. Good move. Romijn's new character is a fertility-goddess sculptor - I suppose the world needs those, too - who scandalizes the town with her younger lover (Matt Dallas of "Kyle XY"). Newman is a full-time working mom of many, many children, and Lindsay Price is relegated to writing "fluff" at the local newspaper.

Really? In the 22 years since the movie came out, women still haven't figured out that they can leave their boorish husbands, or that they deserve equal treatment at work? Wait, it gets worse. When these three finally come together and find strength in friendship, what do they wish for?

A man, of course. Presumably to show them the way.

I'm not sure where the female-empowerment journey is going to go from the first episode, or if this is some sort of post-post-feminist irony I'm not picking up on. We will give them the benefit of the doubt. What really distracted me was that so many elements of the show reminded me of better entertainment.

Take the lovely Jaime Ray Newman. She's a dead ringer for Kelly Preston - and wouldn't she be good in this? Her jerk husband looks like he could be Eric Roberts' surly little brother. Any more Robertses at home? "Less Than Perfect's" Sara Rue is wasted as a sidekick, when she'd be much more interesting in a lead role.

And Paul Gross has the thankless job of following Jack Nicholson's act as the devilish Darryl Van Horne. He does ooze a bit of Jack's charm, and he has plenty of swagger. But ultimately, he's just another pale imitation. And Romijn's character is right - he DOES have '80s hair.

I won't tell you not to watch the show. Maybe you'll enjoy another tribute to female friendship. But I'll be spending my evening differently -- "Eastwick" gave me the urge to rent "Practical Magic" and "The Craft." Maybe "The Witches of Eastwick," too.

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Hi this Karl,
My family and I missed watching the show of Eastwick.
We enjoy the story and the cast.We was wondering if the show will come back on tv soon? Why did shoe of Eastwick end?

I have always been a huge fan of Charmed so I was looking forward to Eastwick but sadly I found this show to be nearly unwatchable. The show for me dragged. Although I liked the case the acting felt very forced and phony. Charmed was a semi-cheesey show but it still worked well on Charmed but so far with Eastwick it just felt hollow and not very believable.

I don't watch Desperate Housewives regularly but I have seen the show and the acting there is simply light years ahead of this.

It's sad because Eastwick has a good cast, the storyline is fun, but for me it fell flat in the presentation.

I will give it one more shot next week but I have a feeling I'll be skipping Eastwick in my weekly lineup. I also have a feeling that no amount of magic is going to keep this shows ratings up and I'm betting the network calls off the witch hunt mid season.

I agree with the person who is questioning your credentials to claim you are a critic. How ever, a "fair and open minded reporter" is SUPPOSED to be just that, Fair and Open Minded. Who rightly cares if it has a kid saying "slut" when today's kids are actually, well, SLUTS! My eight year old knows more from GOING TO SCHOOL than he can ever gleam from watching 34 minutes of a show and 25 minutes of damnable commercials.

I thought the show was great, They need to keep it going. Ever since they killed off "Charmed" there has not been a half way decent "Witchcraft" type show on the television. Keep it coming. The pilot was stupendous!

I certainly would never be described by anyone who knows me
as "Prudush" but honestly, I found the show, in its first three minutes, to be a little vulgarly contrived.
First shot is of Rebecca Romjin kissing her husband/boyfriend?
seductivley in front of her teen daughter, second shot is of
whatver her name is, with some dirtball husband, who looks
drunk and is slurring his words, while their young daughter repeats the word "Slut" a few times in the background
Huh? What is appealing about that?
I turned it off soon thereafter.
Shame, it could have been done so well.

I loved the show! Can't wait for next week. Loved Witches of Eastwick too. I think the cast of Eastwick fills the bill!

It wasn't my kind of show, but I saw plenty of elements that would be appealing to other people. The dialogue in the first 10 minutes was great and the acting was pretty good. I though most of the reviews were overly harsh.

i absolutely LOVED the show. I definitely agree that it had a desperate housewives feel; but it was amazing. I think this was something ABC was lacking, and now that it is here, i hope to see a lot more of it! I can not wait for next week!

I've yet to watch the show, but I intend on it (I adore Paul Gross too much to not see it).

I just wanted to say how refreshing it was to read your review and for it to read so educated and contemporary. Very few mainstream critics will come out and say this:

"Really? In the 22 years since the movie came out, women still haven't figured out that they can leave their boorish husbands, or that they deserve equal treatment at work? Wait, it gets worse. When these three finally come together and find strength in friendship, what do they wish for?
A man, of course. Presumably to show them the way"

And for using the word feminist in a non-negative manner. So thank you for doing that.

Your a tv critic? Really? What are your credentials to be a tv columnist? Was that your big promotion? Obviously your taste just sux because this is a fantastic show and the good news is that the people who will be watching it are normal people who dont resent having to give up a party night to stay home and watch something they dont want to. Thank goodness you dont decide what we watch or we would probley be bored to death!

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This page contains a single entry by Paige Wiser published on September 23, 2009 4:02 AM.

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