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Mayfair Witches Lacked Mystery and Magic in Season 1

With Interview with the Vampire and Mayfair Witches, AMC is creating the “Immortal Universe,” based on the work of Anne Rice. Interview with the Vampire was a stunning show, based on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. Combined with The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, there’s 18 titles in total that AMC now has the rights to. While the first season of Interview with the Vampire was a compelling watch, a lavish and bold story with extravagant settings and characters, Mayfair Witches lacks the same magic that Interview created. It seemed like a reasonable assumption to think that Mayfair Witches would be similarly excellent, but after this first season, that’s currently not the case.

Mayfair Witches tells the story of neurosurgeon Rowan Fielding, played by Alexandra Daddario. When Rowan’s mother passes away, Rowan, who knows that she is adopted, sets out to find out more information about her birth family — information her adoptive mother had worked hard to keep from her. Rowan learns that she is from a family of witches in New Orleans. The family has been haunted for generations by a supernatural entity, one that she’s forced to contend with and that she’ll find out she’s very unprepared to face.
Rowan is contacted by Ciprien Grieve (Tongayi Chirisa), a field agent of the Talamasca — a powerful secret society that helps to protect the supernatural and record their histories. Ciprien had been tasked with observing and protecting Rowan, first helping to keep her history secret from her, and then protecting her from the malevolent spirit Lasher and helping her to learn about her history and her abilities. Ciprien has supernatural abilities of his own; he has visions related to his sense of touch, an ability that seems as much a blessing as it is a curse. Ciprien and Rowan develop a relationship that’s central to the first season’s plot, and it’s one of the more sincere-seeming relationships of this season, thanks to Chirisa’s performance.

After watching the first episode of Mayfair Witches, I felt as though the show was not living up to the standards AMC watchers have come to expect — instead, it felt more like a show that would be on The CW. Melodramatic, a bit cheesy, a bit tame. I really hoped that I was wrong — the show did have elements that seemed promising. Watching this show was a roller coaster ride, and my mind kept changing about how I felt about it. Impressed after episode 2’s cliffhanger, I was excited about where the show would go. By the end of the third episode, though, I was bored.

Mayfair Witches premiered to a larger audience than Interview with the Vampire did; I don’t know how much more popular the Lives of the Mayfair Witches book series was compared with the Vampire Chronicles, but I do know that Alexandra Daddario has 23 million Instagram followers and is likely a big part of why so many folks tuned in. While many people watched Mayfair Witches week to week as it aired on AMC or AMC+, I think that it would make for a better binge watch (which is, admittedly, how I watch most shows). The ratings for Mayfair Witches have been pretty decent; maybe, like me, people kept watching the first season in the hopes that it would live up to our expectations. If you choose to binge-watch this though, you can tune out for the middle of the season and start paying attention again when things get interesting near the end.


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