Due to a severe case of boredom, I’ve decided to give myself a project. After watching the first season of the TV show GOOD WITCH, and seeing it as a guilty pleasure, I’ve decided to catch myself up on the stories that lead up to the show and watch the TV movies:
- THE GOOD WITCH (2008)
- THE GOOD WITCH’S GARDEN (2009)
- THE GOOD WITCH’S GIFT (2010)
- THE GOOD WITCH’S FAMILY (2011)
- THE GOOD WITCH’S CHARM (2012)
- THE GOOD WITCH’S DESTINY (2013)
- and THE GOOD WITCH’S WONDER (2014)
There’s a lot of sap and schmaltz to get through, so let’s get under way, shall we?
Here’s the cast. Starring we have Catherine Bell (THE DO-OVER  and TV show ARMY WIVES [2007 – 2013]), Chris Potter (THE PACIFIER  and TV show X-MEN [1992 – 1997]), Hannah Endicott-Douglas (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), Matthew Knight (SKINWALKERS ), and Catherine Disher (TV show X-MEN and video game RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS ). In support, we have Peter MacNeill (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE , SIMON BIRCH , and the upcoming AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS ), Paula Boudreau (stuff I’ve never heard of or seen), Noah Cappe (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), Rob Stewart (stuff I’ve never heard of or seen), Elizabeth Lennie (stuff I’ve never heard of or seen)
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Craig Pryce, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of. Penning the screenplay is G. Ross Parker, known for pretty much just the Good Witch movies. Composing the score is Jack Lenz, known for 34 episodes of GOOSEBUMPS (1995 – 1998). The cinematographer is John Dyer, known for stuff that I haven’t seen or heard of. Finally, the editor is Mark Sanders, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of.
This is my honest opinion of: THE GOOD WITCH’S GARDEN
Middleton’s bicentennial is fast approaching and is expected to take place in newly refurbished Grey House, owned by the beautiful, kindly, yet mysterious Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell), descendant of the original owner of the home, the Grey Lady. Having decorated the house with an expansive and lovely garden, it soon becomes apparent that it’ll cost a lot to keep everything running, so Cassie makes the decision to turn Grey House into a bed and breakfast. So far, she only has one guest. The mysterious, yet dashing gentleman, Nick Chasen (Rob Stewart). This causes some tension with Cassie’s new boyfriend and Middleton’s police chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter), who might be a little jealous of the alone time they spend together.
You know what? I might actually like this one a little better than the first. I mean, it’s still corny and schmaltzy, but at least there’s a bit more conflict this time around.
There are still aspects to the story that I didn’t like. For one thing, I don’t like how easily Jake’s jealousy is triggered. Seriously, just because another dude is in Grey House should never be enough reason to do a background check on a man who has done nothing wrong, especially for a police chief. It’s not like his suspicions were wrong in the end, but he didn’t know that and it took him a long time and had to jump through quite a few hoops to get to being right, but the start of it all was pretty unlikable. Deeply rooted insecurities, bro. Not good to have those when you’re about to tie the knot. Just sayin’. Also, I saw the whole “Brandon and his punk friends” thing a mile away. Didn’t Brandon deal with punk jerks from the first movie? Why is this being rehashed? I get it, don’t make friends from a bad crowd, but Lori hasn’t had all the development in the world yet. Maybe that’s a plotline that should have been reserved for her. And yes, Martha still annoys the crap out of me. I should just assume that her annoyance is going to carry over to all of the films and throughout the show, so I won’t bother mentioning how annoying she is anymore. Just assume that none of these movies and the show will never be perfect strictly because of this character.
But other little aspects that I enjoyed watching are just how close Lori and Brandon are. Like, when she drops a book, he’ll pick it up and carry it for her. This is surprisingly refreshing where siblings are usually portrayed as either jerks, or are snarky to each other. Not that this is a bad thing, and cynics will certainly call this a little too perfect and overly sentimental, but I think it’s a welcomed shift in the portrayal of this kind of relationship.
At long last, Cassie isn’t presented as the penultimate Mary Sue. She actually has problems this go around that actually make her frown and feel hopeless. Yes, you heard me right. Catherine Bell does indeed have facial capacity to not smile. That’s one of the biggest issues I had with the first movie, none of her problems seem to really phase her. She’s just always smiling to the point where even the Joker looks depressed. But here, while that’s still a thing, when Grey House is threatened to be taken right out from under her, she looks genuinely upset. I won’t lie, I kind of felt for her. All that work she put into, sprucing up the place, planting her garden, it legit feels like wasted effort.
Of course, by this point in the film series, it’s painfully obvious how and why it eventually got turned into a TV series. These films are clearly written like elongated episodes of a TV show. While Cassie is being threatened with eviction, we have side plots involving Lori learning to work with a partner during a school report, and George aiming to get a girlfriend, these are clearly padding to meet a feature length runtime, so I should probably expect this for the rest of the movies. I wonder how many plotlines will be rehashed when I get to them. Oh well, I never expected genuinely good movies, but like the show and the first movie, it’s weirdly engaging and charming, despite the clear and present manipulation. Hallmark Channel. Sentimental savages.
Anyway, better than the first, but not by much.
My honest rating for THE GOOD WITCH’S GARDEN: 3/5