We are talking about Mayfair Witches series by AMC +, which debuted last January 8 and ended these days.
We can therefore sum up. This article contains spoilers, so stop reading if you don't want to spoil the surprise.
Those who love the gothic and decadent atmospheres of New Orleans and the stories of elegantly dressed witches, with enviable black lace parasols and the vintage aesthetic so dear to the city as a whole, then they may have found something to look at. But if you are looking for something else, here is where the knots come home to roost.
The series is part of theImmortal Universe created by the network which is based on the novels of Anne Rice and follows the airing of a few months Interview with the Vampire. If the first show has a cast that borders on perfection and enviable chemistry, the same cannot be said of this new series.
Production and Screenplay: two sides of the same problem
Even on the writing, the real weak point of the adaptation, there's a lot to say. Lack of knowledge of the trade. Just take a quick look at the pages IMDb of producers and writers. Their lack of experience is immediately apparent. This is essential to stage a project of this magnitude.
From the two creators, to the writers, not to mention most of the executive producers, the only exception is Mark Johnson (Rain Man, Donnie Brasco, Better Call Saul), which is also the link between Mayfair Witches ed Interview with the vampire, have this title as their first major work.
Well, even then whoever should have supervised the screenplay, and therefore the whole story, lacks experience... and unfortunately it shows. The why is clear.
The story editor is a key figure in resolving narrative inconsistencies and the dreaded plot holes. It often happens that writers take for granted what they already know. Often they don't realize that, unlike them, the viewer is not included in the writing process. One could even go so far as to say that a huge mistake has been made in this series. The story editor participated in the life of the writers' room. Whatever happened, the result is that too often the viewer does not understand what is happening. It happens, sometimes, that his conclusions are opposite to what were the intentions of the series!
ALSO READ: ANNE RICE – ECLECTIC BUT CONTROVERSIAL AUTHOR
What works in Mayfair Witches paper, it doesn't always work on the screen
In Mayfair Witches, it tells the story is that of Rowan Mayfair, Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson, The White Lotus). Rowan is a surgeon who discovers that she has strange powers, with which she manages to kill those who enrage her causing brain hemorrhages, and is told by her adoptive mother Erica Gimpel (Hunger, Veronica Mars) which is only a figment of his imagination.
Upon the death of the latter, still of the Mayfairs, but of the Caribbean branch, she finds herself thrown into a world of superstition and magic for which she is not prepared. As she is unprepared for the legacy of her blood and the entity that from generation to generation has been under the control of the matriarch of the Mayfair family… or at least that's what an already confused viewer is led to believe. It will be revealed in the penultimate episode that Lasher is not on anyone's leash, but she has a plan in mind. Good thing he at least knows what's going on. Lasher, Jack Huston (House of Gucci, Manhunt, The Irishman) he is responsible for the family fortune. But also of the tragedies that have befallen it, not to mention the fact that he is also the lover of every matriarch.
Now, all this works in a book of six hundred and more pages. In fact, there is plenty of time to reconstruct Rowan's story, which we remember in the books as being a subplot. It will also discover why she was torn from her mother deirdre, Annabeth Gish (Midnight Mass, Mystic Pizza, The Haunting of Hill House) and kept in the dark until her adoptive mother died. But it is clear that it cannot work instead in a television transposition. There is no time to go into details and so we prefer not to give the viewer any foothold.
Time is the real enemy of this series. There is no clear timing of when events take place and the introduction of the main characters is also chaotic. More interested in knowing Deirdre's story and why she spent decades drugged to the tip of her hair - it is revealed in one sentence - than knowing why Rowan is able to do what she does more than once, in unnecessary repetition and which slows down an already jolting pace.
Remember that now that I'm awake, so is he.Deirdre to Charlotte
The leaps between past and present, so masterfully made in Interview with the Vampire, they become chaotic and confusing, so much so that at a certain point it is not even clear whether some things that happen on the screen are just dreams or something else.
Ideas thrown away
Certainly not a good start. But things don't get better either going forward!
Let us take the case of the second episode, when the viewers find out more about Cyprien Grieve, Tongayi Chirisa (The Good Doctor, iZombie, American Horror Story). This is one of the characters created specifically for the series, and "unfortunately" also one of the most interesting. We see Ciprien following and photographing Rowan before she even reaches New Orleans. Now, we can only wonder why, as we see him talking to Rowan's adoptive mother (yes, the one who has been lying to her daughter all her life!).
It turns out that Ciprien is a member of a secret society whose name is known to those familiar with the works of the Rice. The Talamasca has been following for centuries, and in the shadows, the Mayfair family and especially Lasher.
Why? It is not said.
Who I am? Supernatural scholars.
If the Talamasca becomes famous through David Talbot, who becomes one of Lestat's sons, it is in this series that it seems to become important. It's a pity that once again the name is thrown into the pile, actually small, of information that the viewer receives without a real explanation.
Ciprien is an empath. He has a sister who acts as a surrogate mother for a gay couple, who Rowan addresses completely inappropriately.
And this is all!
The only information provided about one of the most interesting characters so far!
ALSO READ: INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE – FROM 100 TO 0 IN ONE EPISODE
Everything is taken too much for granted
At the end of the second episode Deirdre dies, garroted in a closed elevator. After decades spent in a rocking chair, at the mercy of her Aunt Carlotta, this is hardly an acceptable end for a character with great potential!
She is the woman loved by Lasher and therefore it is natural for the viewer to think that no one is crazy enough to kill her. What explanation to give, if not to identify the killer in Lasher? It would make sense. Deirdre played her part, she gave birth to Rowan, who turns out to be the thirteenth witch (another name thrown in the pile without explaining anything). Anyone who knows a little about magic knows that the thirteenth witch is usually the most powerful of the coven, the most awaited, a sort of messiah in short. Anyone who is not interested in such topics rightly wonders why it is so important.
And here is the explanation of Esta Spaulding one of the showrunners.
We understand that it was not Lasher…
As? It is not known…
Moreover, the comments at the end of each episode leave both the feeling that Spaulding feel the need to explain everything that is not clear in the episodes. And this is a clear sign of how the writing leaves something to be desired.
Another striking example of things thrown into the meaningless pile is the scene of Deirdre's funeral. At one point, with all the family gathered, and everyone looking at Rowan as if he were a three-headed monster, even if they know who he is, even if there is a plaque with his name on it, the church doors are thrown open by an unseen force and rose petals rain down on the Deirdre's body. Lasher's last goodbye to his beloved. No one bats an eye, even Rowan, still out on family secrets, acts like everything is normal.
Rowan remains unflappable throughout the series. He doesn't change his expression or tone of voice. Not even when someone, part of a group of "witch hunters" puts the news on the internet that they have the heart of a witch. Literally, given that the heart is Deirdre's and that it was the coroner who did the autopsy who stole it. This too has no consequences whatsoever, neither legal nor spiritual.
All in all normal. Apart from the unspeakable boredom experienced by the viewer who still hopes that something will happen on the screen to justify to himself why he is still following the series.
Too many things that don't add up Mayfair Witches
One of the most perplexing things about Mayfair Witches it's like the writers didn't even pretend to engage in historical research. It seems counterproductive, and it is, especially when the series is compared to Interview with the vampire. There, the wealth of detail was almost theatrical in the punctual search for him.
Tessa, Rowan's cousin, and a young woman full of revolutionary ideas, is shown to us as a champion for the rights of witches. Then she opens her mouth and says nonsense:
We are the descendants of those who failed to burn.
Too bad that the stake hardly ever appears in the history of persecutions in America. The most commonly used methods of proving that women on trial were indeed witches were drowning or crushing. It would have taken very little not to make such a gross mistake.
Tessa is only there to be the sacrificial lamb. Unlike Rowan she would like to be the matriarch and have the powers guaranteed by Lasher, and therefore, when Rowan renounces her blood heritage, as if it were a possible thing to do, it is Tessa who is entrusted with the key which in theory represents the bond between the matriarch and Lasher himself.
All beautiful and useless. The one between the chosen one and Lasher is an equal relationship. She does something for him, he promises power in return. What do the Mayfairs who have the key do? Simple, they allow Lasher, generation after generation, to get closer to his ultimate goal, to incarnate in a body.
Tessa is not in the main bloodline and therefore when she is kidnapped by those who stole Deirdre's heart, Lasher does not respond to her invocation because it is not her that he is related to.
Only Tessa's death pushes Rowan to cross the line between using power for good and getting revenge.
Another character who appears for no specific reason and who is not even exploited to the fullest is that of Odette, sister of Ciprien. She is a surrogate mother for a gay male couple living abroad. She reappears in the last episode only to get her brother into trouble by phoning the Talamasca and revealing that their secret has been violated. At the end of the episode we find out that she has already given birth.
How, when, what happened to the baby? We don't know, and it seems pretty clear that the writers don't either…
ALSO READ: MIURA, MARTIN, ROTHFUSS: LET'S STOP TREATING THE AUTHORS LIKE VENDING MACHINES
When CGI Ruins Mayfair Witches
At the beginning of the seventh episode Rowan is seen walking alone in the cemetery, because apparently it is the busiest place in all of New Orleans. She changes expression (MIRACLE!), She sits down and touches her belly (she was with Ciprien in the morning NdA). Meanwhile, thanks to the CGI we see a ping pong ball that stops in her uterus.
There is nothing more to say about this scene.
And the end comes.
Thus we discover what the prophecy that unites Lasher to the Mayfairs is about.
The thirteenth witch is the gateway.
And after a dreamlike sex scene, we find out that Rowan is about to give birth to Lasher. Yes the one he had sex with!
Putting aside the absurdity of trying to condense an entire pregnancy into hours, the Rowan finally gives birth to a boy. A child as white as milk, despite Ciprien, who in any case has put something of him into it, is a black character. A baby who is already able to crawl after the first Mayfair, now spirit, somehow manages to cut the umbilical cord.
If the reader has comments to make, he is welcome, because the author of the article has nothing left but unthinkable words…
Choices that turn against the authors
The Mayfair Witches was born as a female and feminist response to Interview with the Vampire. We wanted to necessarily create a female series that compensated for the fact that in the first story the focus was on two gay men and there were practically no female figures.
The choice is forced. The Mayfair family are powerful and independent women, yet this doesn't translate to the screen. Rowan does not become aware of himself and his powers. It's Lasher who allows her to use hers. Lasher is the one in control, even now that he's a rapidly growing baby.
This is not the story of how a woman frees herself from patriarchal power to live life on her own terms. In reverse, The Mayfair Witches it ends up being the story of how the Rowan embraces Lasher and his power and somehow becomes his toy. He's still in control. Now more than ever!
A failure across the board that does not entice the viewer to want to watch the second season already scheduled.
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