Netflix review: GOOD WITCH (Season 1)

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For my reviews of seasons 2 and 3, click the following links:

Bored out of my mind, no idea what it’s about, all I know is that the show co-stars Bailee Madison, whom I was a fan of in her other TV ventures, such as ONCE UPON A TIME and the criminally short-lived TROPHY WIFE, as well as her one movie that I’ve seen, STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT (2018).

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Catherine Bell (BRUCE ALMIGHTY [2003], and a ton of Good Witch TV movies), Bailee Madison (STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT, and the upcoming OFFER AND COMPROMISE [2018]), James Denton (FACE/OFF [1997]). In support, we have Catherine Disher (a ton of Good Witch TV movies), Kylee Evans (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), Rhys Matthew Bond (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), and Sarah Power (SAW V [2008] and THE GOOD WITCH’S FAMILY [2011]).

Now for the crew. Craig Pryce has both written and directed the most episodes in the series and has helmed the Good Witch franchise since the beginning. 

So yeah, this is news. The Good Witch started off as a TV movie back in 2008, which also starred Catherine Bell, and it seems there has literally been a sequel to this movie every year since. The final movie was back in 2014, but guess why they stopped. Because this TV show got premiered in 2015 and is currently ongoing as of 2018. Well, damn, I might have to make this a priority now to watch all of these TV movies… if I like this show enough.

This is my honest opinion of: GOOD WITCH (Season 1)

 

(SUMMARY)

Set in the small town of Middleton. Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) is a kindly, charming, helpful, and wise woman, but is certainly mysterious. She runs both a bed and breakfast inn called Grey House, and a local shop, the Bell, Book, and Candle. She lives with her teenage daughter, Grace (Bailee Madison), as well as her other step-children. They soon get a new neighbor, Dr. Sam Radford (James Denton) and his trouble-making teenage son, Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond), who both become enamored with the Cassie and Grace.

(REVIEW)

By heavenly God, this show is cheesy, schmaltzy, and every bit the definition of a “Hallmark Channel” cliché that you could possibly associate with something attached to this property.

So why in bloody hell could I not stop watching this blasted show?!

Well for one thing, boredom is a killer, and when you’ve got the house to yourself with a burning desire to down a small pizza, cheese-stuffed bread sticks, and a lava cake all from Dominoes, I really wanted to watch something easy to get in and out of. Turns out, I binged this entire first season in one night. Ten episodes wasn’t really all that bad. Went to bed around, what, two in the morning?

And admittedly, this show had a bit of charm to it. Pun intended? As much as overly perfect characters annoy me, there does seem to be a sincerity to the characters that are presented. Do I like that Cassie doesn’t seem to emote that much when it comes to the passing of her late husband? No. But the more of this show that I watched, the more I sort of just accepted that this was her character. It’s not all that interesting as a whole package, as this show is clearly not comfortable with showcasing harsher emotions and keep everything all smiles and whatnot, but somehow I still find myself watching and getting invested. So I guess more than anything, this show fascinates me on just how much I’m drawn in.

Another big highlight is that this show never truly lets on if Cassie really is a witch or not. I know, the show is called “Good Witch,” so maybe that should be my first and only indicator, but the show never acknowledges this. To anyone else, she’s just at the right place, at the right time, and believes in new age stuff. And certainly there’s some word play, like in Episode 6: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES, Cassie and Abigail (Sarah Power) have an exchange that’s like, “Well if you don’t stir the pot,” which goes on for a minute, but it’s never explicitly said, so I’m sitting on my sofa waiting for that moment where someone admits to being a supernatural being, but it never happens. So… what the hell?!

The only things that I legitimately don’t like about the show are a couple of things.

Mayor Tisdale (Catherine Disher) annoys the living crap out of me and I’m pretty sure half her actions cross the lines of what a mayor is, and is not allowed to do, constantly sticking her nose in everyone’s business, interfering in things that are fine on their own, I really have to wonder how any why she got her position. Second, magical or not, the first couple episodes seem to hint that Grace might have her own set of powers, seeing into the near future, but this concept seems to drop faster than it’s developed. By the end of the season, I’d swear she was just a normal girl.

Also, I really dislike this double helping of romantic triangles, Cassie between Sam and Ryan (Anthony Lemke), and Grace between Nick and Anthony (Shane Harte). Sam’s proven to be a little unreliable, though that’s not entirely his fault as a doctor, but communication doesn’t seem to be his strong suit, and Ryan feels way too desperate. Hell, I’m not even sure if Cassie should be with anyone, considering how she totally screwed Ryan over by telling him that she doesn’t want to be with anyone, but is in Sam’s arms by the end of the season, so… yeah, she should be single until she’s squared her feelings away for her late husband. And as for the teens, Nick may be just acting out, but he needs serious encouragement to do the right thing, as opposed to coming to the conclusions himself, and Anthony is just a jealous and possessive boy. Hell, his romantic chemistry between him and Grace feels so random that it’s a wonder why it’s even a plot point at all. Like mother like daughter? I don’t buy it.

Overall, I admit that I don’t hate this show. I guess I should call it a guilty pleasure. I enjoy how it rolls with it’s good vibes and how mysterious it can surprisingly get, but it’s corny levels would end world hunger and I can see some casual viewers not liking this. But… I enjoy this show enough, so I’m going to go on and watch the movies that led up to this show first before continuing on. So keep an eye out. As a recommendation… if your a fan of Hallmark Channel stuff, then I can see this being your thing. Were it not for Madison, I likely wouldn’t have thought twice about this show and would never have watched it. You’ll know if this show is worth your time within the first couple of episodes. Beneath the unending smiles and obnoxiously good vibes, there’s a genuine sincerity that I weirdly grabs me.

My honest rating for THE GOOD WITCH (Season 1): a strong 3/5

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