ABC's "Eastwick," based on the John Updike novel that was also the basis for the 1987 Jack Nicholson-Cher-Susan Sarandon-Michelle Pfeiffer movie, attempts to be a fun, frothy enchanting TV show. But it fails to cast a spell.
Tonally, it begins as a grrrl-powered supernatural light drama with romantic undertones as three women in the New England burg of Eastwick unleash their pent-up powers after flipping coins into the town square fountain. (If the town resembles Stars Hollow from "Gilmore Girls," that's because it's the same Warner Bros. backlot set.)
- When: 10 tonight on ABC.
- Starring: Rebecca Romijn.
Widowed artist Roxie (Rebecca Romijn, "Ugly Betty") begins having dreams that are premonitions; shy, bookish newspaper reporter Joanna (Lindsay Price, "Lipstick Jungle") discovers the power of persuasion; and married hospital nurse Kat (Jamie Ray Newman, "General Hospital") connects with the natural world in a new way.
(The only cast member from the 1987 film to appear is Veronica Cartwright, who has a supporting role as a different character this time out, playing the head of Eastwick's historical society. She also narrates the pilot.)
The coin toss is followed by generic let's-get-wasted bonding and a new arrival to the town: A wealthy outsider named Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross, "Due South"), who buys a local mansion and the town newspaper. He quickly proves himself to be just your average, horny little devil, flirting with all three women but most acutely interested in seducing Roxie away from her much younger boyfriend (a miscast Matt Dallas, "Kyle XY").
Gross is a talented actor, but it's difficult to take him seriously as a great lover with what appears to be a dead badger atop his head. Even a joke about his hair can't make it right, and it ruins the character's credibility from the moment he's introduced.
Written by Maggie Friedman ("Related") and directed by David Nutter ("Supernatural"), the "Eastwick" characters are fairly generic types who are too bland and predictable to be involving. Beyond the general inertness of the pilot, casting blunders only make matters worse. Rather than go hocus-pocus, "Eastwick" is mostly hokum.
Contact TV editor Rob Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv.