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Wicked, warped “Eastwick” adds some adult fun to ABC’s 2009 – 2010 line-up

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Wicked, warped “Eastwick” adds some adult fun to ABC’s 2009 – 2010 line-up

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Take a dollop of “Desperate Housewives” and then toss that into a blender with a cup full of “Charmed.” Now whip up elements of these two hit show elements up until they’re light & frothy, then pour the whole thing over the Stars Hollow sets from “Gilmore Girls.”

What do you wind up with? A new TV series that ABC hopes you’ll like a whole more than Leno, “Eastwick.”

I actually got to see the pilot for this new Warner Bros. Television production back in July when it was screened at Comic-Con. And I have to admit that I was rather surprised by how well “Eastwick” (which draws its inspiration from both the John Updike book as well as the 1987 George Miller movie)  translates to the small screen.

If you’re familiar with the movie or the book, you know that “Eastwick” deals with three very different women:

The witches from ABC's new series Eastwick
(L to R) Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijin and Jamie Ray Newman of “Eastwick”
Copyright 2009 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

  • Roxie Torcoletti (played by Rebecca Romijn), a freethinking artist and single mother who is currently bedding the much-younger Chad (Matt Dallas).
  • Joanna Frankel (Lindsay Price) a reporter at Eastwick’s local paper who is frustrated with both her career options as well as her love life.
  • Kat Gardener (Jamie Ray Newman), whose marriage to the chronically under-employed Raymond (Jon Bernthal) is running out of gas.

Paul Gross  from ABC's new series, Eastwick
Paul Gross from the new ABC drama, “Eastwick”
Copyright 2009 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

As the pilot episode of “Eastwick” gets underway, each of these women longs for a change in their life. For something – or someone – to come along and stir things up. But little do Roxie, Joanna & Kat realize that – with the seemingly innocent toss of a coin in the town square’s fountain – that they’d then be summoning up the man of their dreams. Or should I say their nightmares?

That man (man?) is Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross). Whose arrival in town isn’t just the answer to Roxie, Joanna & Kat’s prayers. Though given how freely this enigmatic figure throws his money around (Darryl quickly buys up the town’s newspaper as well as re-opening its long-closed candle factory), every resident seems ready to embrace Mr. Van Horne.

Yes, everyone in this quaint New England village appears to be a Darryl fan. Everyone except Bun (Who – in a nice bit of casting that provides some connective tissue to the 1987 movie – is played by Veronica Cartwright). As the head of the Eastwick Historical Society, Bun knows more than most about Eastwick’s dark past. Which is why she actually comes out of a coma to blurt out a cryptic warning about Van Horne.

Witches from ABC's new series Eastwick
Veronica Cartwright as Bun from Warner Bros.
Television’s new production, “Eastwick”

Copyright 2009 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Yep, that’s the sort of show “Eastwick” is. Characters can suddenly come out of comas, get struck by lightning and/or attacked by swarms of fire ants. Which suggests that something not quite kosher is going on even as the townsfolk gather for seemingly innocent events like Harvest Fest.

Mind you, given that this drama that is intended for viewing after the little ones have gone to bed … “Eastwick” has a racy streak. Not to mention having a rather dark, twisted sense of humor.

All told, the pilot episode does an excellent job of introducing viewers to the show's main characters & its principal setting. Not to mention setting up “Eastwick” ‘s backstory. Which Penny Higgins (Sara Rue) sets in motion in the closing moments of tonight's program by handing Joanna a folder that allegedly proves that Darryl Van Horne is not who he seems.

The main cast members of ABC's new series, Eastwick
The main cast members of “Eastwick”
Copyright 2009 ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

But who exactly is this mysterious Mr. Van Horne? To get the answer to that, you’re going to have to start watching ”Eastwick.” Which begins airing tonight on ABC at 10 p.m. And – if all goes according to plan – this wicked, warped Warner Bros. Television production will be the way the Alphabet network does battle with Jay Leno every Wednesday night from here on in.

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