TV Review: Despite Sexy Stars, ‘Eastwick’ Has Yet to Cast a Spell

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Clearly inspired as much by the success of “Desperate Housewives” as that of its actual source material, ABC’s “Eastwick” is a mixed cauldron of possibilities, a show with a strong enough cast and concept to warrant a second look but also one with enough deep flaws in its premiere to suggest that perhaps this spell will not be cast over too many viewers. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

Working from the 1987 film “Witches of Eastwick” (itself based on the novel by John Updike), ABC’s supernatural dramedy features three, well-cast, sexy actresses with more than enough talent to work their magic on many a viewer but also features a male lead trying to fill some awfully big shoes and writing that doesn’t crackle like one would hope.

Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman.
Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman.
Photo credit: ABC/Robert Voets

Three women in the small town of Eastwick have their own typical TV problems, amplified when a charismatic, devilish figure named Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross) comes to town and awakens their magical powers. Directed by the excellent David Nutter, the pilot of “Eastwick” should play like a mini-movie but feels often like a half-hearted set-up. Perhaps more than any other show this season, the jury is still out on “Eastwick”.

Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman, Paul Gross.
Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman, Paul Gross.
Photo credit: ABC/Kevin Foley

The women are Kat (Jaime Ray Newman), Roxie (Rebecca Romijn), and Joanna (Lindsay Price), three ladies who never really got along because of their unique personalities and preconceived notions but will come together when they discover that they are alike in a very uncommon way.

Kat is the married mother of five, a beautiful woman stuck with a total jerk of a husband and a very demanding family. Roxie is the single mother, a title that still holds a stigma in small-town America like Eastwick. Finally, Joanna is the awkward, gawky local reporter who has little confidence with men.

Van Horne arrives in town and strange things start happening in Eastwick. Darryl, even more clearly the Devil himself than in the source material, knows the women’s most innermost thoughts and desires and plays them to reveal the hidden powers that they didn’t even know they had. The great Veronica Cartwright and Sara Rue shine in the supporting cast.

It’s almost impossible to adequately say where “Eastwick” will go after one episode. The premiere is packed from front to back with character set-up to the point that it’s unclear what even week two - much less month two or year two - of the show will look like. Will “Eastwick” be soapy like “Desperate Housewives” or more mysterious like “Lost”? ABC clearly hopes it’s a little bit of both but only time will tell.

As for the cast, Newman and Romijn steal the show, the former has the potential to be a breakout star and the latter has always been underrated. Price isn’t bad but she’s completely unbelievable as the awkward one even in dorky glasses and with her hair put up.

The biggest problem with the first episode of “Eastwick” is Gross, tasked with the nearly impossible job of stepping into the shoes of a character once worn by Jack Nicholson. It’s impossible to shake memories of Jack and Gross isn’t up to the task. He needs to go his own way and completely redefine the character instead of so often reminding us of a similar routine done by one of the best actors of all time.

Ultimately, “Eastwick” is a great example of the difficulty of reviewing a series based on one episode, especially one so reliant on setting up several major characters and an unusual concept. Even pilots that knock it out of the park often come back down to Earth in subsequent episodes and it’s not that uncommon for a show to start shakily and improve as it gains its footing.

If this is a case of the former and this so-so first episode is the best that “Eastwick” has to offer than it will be off the air by the time the calendar switches over, but this witches’ brew is still bubbling and I’m not ready to say for sure that it won’t cast a great deal of magic.

‘Eastwick,’ which airs on ABC, premieres on September 23rd, 2009 at 9PM CST. It stars Jaime Ray Newman, Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price, Paul Gross, Sara Rue, and Veronica Cartwright. It was created by David S. Rosenthal. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

Eastwick-Paul Gross

I have enjoyed what I have seen of Eastwick thus far, especially because of Paul Gross. I recognized him from “Due South” and was delighted to see him again. The Van Horne role is so different from Frasure on Due South and I think he is doing a great job in the role.

Emily's picture


I was just getting into this show and its characters and was LOVING IT!! Give it another shot pleaseeeee!!!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • South Side

    CHICAGO – One the brightest comedies set in Chicago is “South Side,” created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. The pair moved the show from Comedy Central to HBO Max, and Season Two dropped for streaming on November 11th, 2021, with the same free-wheeling and hilarious misadventures of Simon and Kareme.

  • Colin in Black & White

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of appears on “The Morning Mess” with Dan Baker on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on November 4th, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Colin in Black & White” – regarding the early years of ex-NFL QB Colin Kaepernick – currently streaming on Netflix.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions