My interest in the genre of supernatural TV shows piqued thanks to the wonderful Romantic Moment of the Week feature on the Silver Petticoat Review blog. I quickly fell in love with the worlds, characters, mythology, friendships, and love stories of shows like Moonlight, The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Bitten, and Teen Wolf, with one of my latest finds being the sublime Discovery of Witches. Falling completely under its spell from the first few frames, I binged it over two days, have memorized more than half a dozen scenes or dialogue, and never tire of entering its world.
It’s based on a book series All Souls. Aussie Teresa Palmer plays the female lead, Diana Bishop, a witch with unstable powers (because of preventative measures taken by her parents to protect her from a power-hungry witch) who tries her hardest to deny her magical heritage after the tragic deaths of her parents. Despite her best efforts, however, she winds up thrust into the middle of a brewing war between creatures (in this universe its witches, vampires, and demons) when she gains access to an important book that has been missing for centuries. This act not only draws the attention of some dangerous witches but Matthew de Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire portrayed by Matthew Goode, who has been investigating the decline of creature powers and searching for the book for over 100 years.
Coming together over their desire to protect the book from people who want to use it for great evil, their interactions rapidly evolve into something more. Though their intense feelings are forbidden under the Covenant (a sacred rule put in place by a governing body called The Congregation to prevent cross-species relationships), they cannot deny their soul connection. At the end of Season One, they use Diana’s newfound time-walking power to travel to Elizabethan England, where they hope to find the book and give Diana a chance to grow more confident in her powers. Their fight for their love has the potential to bring about massive changes in the creature world, and might bring about greater freedom and recognition for the demon species in particular.
Matthew and Diana complement one another perfectly in temperament, personality, and passions. You can see and feel all Diana’s thoughts and emotions through her facial expressions and body language; awe, wonder, fascination, incredulity, and longing. Her emotions show plain as day whenever she looks at Matthew. Everything Matthew feels effortlessly comes across in his magnificent velvet-silk voice. They have intense, captivating chemistry. You completely believe they share an undeniable, uncontrollable, unbreakable connection, like it would cut a piece of their souls out to be separated.
Now, I have seen Matthew Goode in several productions over the years (Death Comes to Pemberley, Leap Year, and He Knew He Was Right to name a few), and love him in every single one, but the moment he appeared on screen as Matthew de Clairmont, it was like I was being introduced to him for the first time. His performance is that mesmerising. Teresa Palmer is an actress I have long admired for her work in such productions as Warm Bodies, Hacksaw Ridge, I Am Number 4, and Ride Like a Girl…. and the fact that she’s a fellow Aussie doesn’t hurt either!
As for the rest of the cast, there is not a single character I don’t love or love to hate. While the main villains introduced in Season One (vampire Gerbert, and witches Peter Knox and Satu) are suitably evil and hungry for more power, Marcus (a doctor sired by Matthew) and Hamish (Matthew’s demon best friend) are the most supportive, loyal friends you could ask for, and Miriam (Matthew’s lab colleague) is a brilliant badass who knows how to take care of business. Don’t even get me started on the awesomeness that is Matthew’s sire mother, Ysabeau. The love she holds for those closest to her is powerful and all-consuming, evidenced by her little murder spree when her husband Philippe gets murdered, as well as the way she eventually accepts Diana because she sees how much Matthew needs her. Although Diana’s Aunt Sarah is a caustic and could rub someone the wrong way, she too is passionate and devoted to protecting her family. Aunt Em is the steadying, accepting, stabilising force their family needs. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Domenico, meddling, sassy little troublemaker that he is.
Hamish mainly represents the demon species in this series, along with the close-knit family of Agatha, Nathaniel, and Sophie. Sophie is the most important. She is the daughter of witches but identifies as a demon, proving cross-species families are possible and turning everything that’s understood at that point about the creature world on its head.
Another aspect I adore is how even with them sharing only a handful of scenes in the last episode, it is obvious how closely Marcus and Nate’s budding friendship resembles that between Matthew and Hamish. They have a great witty, relaxed chemistry I can’t wait to see more of. By the end of Season 1, there is a fantastic example of “found family” that emerges between the main characters as they come together to protect the book and fight to gain the freedom to protect and build relationships with each other regardless of species.
Full to bursting with compelling characters, an intriguing mythology and world-building, mystery, magic, romance, adventure, time-travel, and found families… this is one supernatural show not to be missed!
Matthew (to Diana): I have a different sense of time to you. When humans talk about climate change, that’s the argument they use. The polar ice caps will take so many years to melt, who cares. I remember when the Themes iced over every winter. I used to skate on it. You’re right though, it’s not going to happen immediately, tomorrow, but it’s already begun. One day, they’ll be just one species left; humans. And at first, they won’t notice the difference, because they’ve never noticed us. But gradually, eventually, they’ll come to see that all the magic has seeped out of the world. They’ll look around them, and everyone will be the same.
Matthew (about Diana): I’ve never felt so protective over anyone.
Ysabeau (to Diana): If you have the courage to love my son, you have no need to fear your power. The women of the de Claremont family defend themselves. And you will be no different.
Diana: I want to hunt down everyone who hurt you.
Matthew: My love. With you my life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you’re gone my life will be over.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hopeless romantic, fervent bibliophile, and aspiring word-smith, Kirsty Pearce also has a deep love for fantasy, fairy tales, & history. With a wide range of TV obsessions from Outlander, Bitten, & Grimm, to Dancing With The Stars, Nikita, & Horrible Histories, she enjoys watching as many Hallmark films as possible, knitting, baking, and sharing all her fan-girl thoughts on her blog.