By now, we are all used to the magic of the movies, and in this era of quarantine and streaming services, we expect no less magic from our television shows either. But when season one of A Discovery of Witches premiered, there was something more than just the magic of film-making; they had managed to adapt a very full and lengthy fantasy novel into a concise, engaging, romantic and faithful series in just eight episodes. Now, with A Discovery of Witches season 2 coming out in just a couple of days, they’ve exceeded those expectations. This is a season of television that beautifully mixes romance with pure magic.
Season 2 starts off where the time-walking cliffhanger of season one left us: Peter Knox (Owen Teale) and his Congregation cohorts are looking for evidence of where Matthew de Clermont (Matthew Goode) and Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) have disappeared to. The couple pop in, quite literally, on the streets of the Blackfriars in 1590 London. Due to his status as a wealthy and connected immortal vampire, Matthew is able to step into his old life without much problem. In fact, in the early episodes the only problem seems to be his connection with Diana and his lack of beard and earring. (At least two of those problems get solved pretty quickly).
The magic of season 2 is in the ease with which we believe this time-traveling storyline. Gone are the genetic science talks and the speeding car trappings of the first season; we are now fully ensconced in neck ruffs and deference rules and witch hunts. The good(e) news is Matthew Goode looks even more excellent in a doublet and leather breeches than he does in blue oxfords.
It all works. The show is gorgeously Elizabethan: costumes, sets, tiny details and large scale historic events all line up to make this fantasy show an historical adventure one as well. Matthew’s best friend is a prickly jealous Christopher Marlowe (Tom Hughes), and his 16th century vocation is Queen Elizabeth’s spy. Diana and Matthew meet up with other important, but less historical, characters of Matthew’s past, including his nephew, Gallowglass (played expertly by Steven Cree) and his father, Phillipe (James Purefoy). These fan favorites are favorites for a reason, and their screen versions do not disappoint.
With ten episodes in season 2, there is more time to delve into the hunt for the Book of Life that Matthew and Diana embarked upon. And at least, in the first seven episodes that were made available for review, the series does this without getting too mired in the intricacies the past. The most potent of encounters comes with Sir Phillipe, as they work to get him to accept Diana, and as Matthew deals with coming face to face with the father he hasn’t seen in decades and from whom he will have to try to hide the truth of his future. The season does an excellent job of not falling into the pattern of An Adventure A Week With Time Traveling Creatures, but instead weaves a storyline that keeps punching and driving towards a conclusion that will, no doubt, leave us very glad that they are almost finished shooting season three.
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Beth is the proud sponsor of two little women and a huge fan of fandom. She took 3 years of Latin in high school and now speaks fluent pretension, which fully explains her current preference for gay wizard regency novels. She will roll over for a giant book with a map in the front. She takes comic book recommendations every day but Wednesday and TV recommendations never (she knows what's good).