Eastwick -- TV Review

Before committing yourself to ABC's new hour dramedy "Eastwick," try to turn off your brain. Forget the 1987 movie and its four big stars; forget that "Charmed" ran for eight seasons; forget that TV translations in 1992 and 2002 of the same source material died early. Once you're into it, try and forget the two boob and one vibrator "jokes" that materialize during the first five minutes.

If you can do all that, there's a good chance you'll enjoy ABC's "Eastwick," a breezy, bright trip to the dark side in which star Rebecca Romijn's hair magically stays well-coiffed and Paul Gross has a devil of a time making his smoky tones not recall Jack Nicholson's in the movie.

Gross is Darryl Van Horne, a self-declared "demon" who has brought together three women of the town of Eastwick -- a "flaky" sculptress (Romijn), a shy newspaper reporter (Lindsay Price) and an overworked mom and nurse (Jaime Ray Newman) -- after they make a wish on found coins. Having met Darryl, their potential (and libidos) soar, and unexpected powers emerge including calling lightning from the sky, foreseeing a date rape and obtaining powdered doughnuts on command.

Although Veronica Cartwright reprises her character from "The Witches of Eastwick," the producers wisely have not tried to compress the entire film into the pilot. That said, it also means the writers get to coast for the first few episodes on high-octane plot, and they've got Romijn and Gross, who have a surprising chemistry that makes their scenes pop.

Gross is truly engrossing as the devil who might have an ounce of good in him; sadly, there's little magic emitting from the other witches, who seem wan and wrung out.
So light a candle; "Eastwick" shows promise, if not actual wizardry, at this stage. But with fewer body parts/bodily fluid attempts at humor and a few more pointed zingers on the nature of evil and the lure of the forbidden, it could turn into a truly potent potion.

Airdate: 10-11 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23 (ABC)
Production: Warner Bros. Television, Bonanza Prods.
Cast: Ashley Benson, Jon Bernthal, Veronica Cartwright, Jaime Ray Newman, Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Sara Rue, Johann Urb, Paul Gross
Executive producers: David Nutter, Maggie Friedman
Creator-writers: John Updike (based on his book), Michael Cristofer (based on his screenplay), Maggie Friedman
Producer: Marc David Alpert
Director: David Nutter
Director of photography: Bill Roe
Production designer: Maria Caso
Costume designer: Chrisi Karvonides
Casting: Susan Edelman