Well my regular readers will know it has been several years since I did full adaptation reviews, however since I combined my monthly books and adaptations wrap-up posts, I have a little more free posting space. So I thought, now and again, it would be nice to re-instate these full reviews for adaptations of books I have read. Please let me know if you like the idea!
First up for the in-depth treatment is series one and two of the supernatural drama A Discovery of Witches, about a world where witches, vampires and demons live secretly among us, which is based on Deborah Harkness’s popular All Souls trilogy of books. Having enjoyed reading the whole trilogy a few years ago, it was a no brainer that I was going to watch this show.
I originally watched the first series when it premiered here in the UK in 2018 (wow was it really that long ago?!), but I decided to avail myself of a re-watch when NowTV made the boxset available. The first series introduces us to historian and reluctant witch, Diana Bishop, who inadvertently discovers a lost bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. This discovery brings her to the attention of the mysterious geneticist and vampire, Matthew Clairmont. Despite a long-held mistrust between their species, they team up to protect the book and solve the mysteries hidden within.
This pretty much follows the first book almost down to the T – If anything was missing I didn’t notice or was bothered by it. I also loved the casting for the show with the little known Australian actress Teresa Palmer as Diana and the handsome English actor Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey) as, coincidentally, Matthew. I also think the rest of the cast is spot on too! With a special shout out for Alex Kingston (Doctor Who) and Valarie Pettiford as Diana’s aunts.
After my re-watch I was all set to start watching the newly released series two, which premiered here in the UK just this January gone. This second series kicks off just where the second book does, as Diana and Matthew seek refuge from their dangerous adversaries in the past and continue their mission to get their hands on the complete Ashmole 782 manuscript, which is believed to contain information on the origin of all supernatural species. While their friends and families battle to help and protect them in the present.
Much like series one I think this stuck pretty faithfully to the book, although I perhaps noticed where edits had to be made a little more, as this was my favourite book from the trilogy. Again the casting continues to be great, especially with the edition of the excellent English actor, James Purefoy (Rome) as Matthew’s stepfather, Philippe de Clermont. This series also had the added bonus of some sumptuous Elizabethan costumes.
All in all I found series one and two of A Discovery of Witches to be thoroughly enjoyable watches, that faithfully brought alive the magic, danger and romance of the books. I very much look forward to a third series, which is rumoured to have begun filming already. Good watch ⭐⭐
Now I would love to hear from you: Have watched this? Or read the books? Also would you like to see more of these full adaptation reviews?