Eastwick (season 1) - Paul Gross as a very sexy villain


"Eastwick" (USA, 2009-2010)

Finished Viewing: Monday, 10th May 2010
Runtime: 13 episodes around 40′ each
Director: David Nutter, Michael Katleman
Cast: Jaime Ray Newman, Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Paul Gross
Production House: Bonanza Productions, Warner Bros. Television
Plot: Loosely based on “The Witches of Eastwick” (a novel by John Updike which was also the source material for the 1987 Jack Nicholson movie), it’s the story of three modern day witches, who are discovering their powers with each other’s help and support.

Scene from the Series

Rating: +2 (Adored It.)
Would have probably had it at +1 or even +0 initially, but I really warmed up to it after a few episodes and I’m totally obsessed with Paul Gross in this part *grin*

Impressions In Short
Even though it features witches and all kinds of supernatural events, at its core the series is a story of three women, who are trying to turn their lives around and are gradually realizing their true potential. It has many colourful female characters, a hilarious villain and all kinds of quirkiness.
I’m really bummed that the show was cancelled *sigh* They didn’t even finish the story, it’s just broken off at a cliff hanger :-/

More About the Film
Initially Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne was the main reason the series appealed to me. It gradually gets better, however, and eventually I got so hooked that I didn’t even notice his absence in episode 11 (I was racking my brains why imdb said that he was only there in 12 episodes rather than in 13 ;)). Nonetheless Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne remains my favourite aspect of the show.
The rich, good-looking and powerful industrialist type of villain is, of course, nothing new. But despite that I feel Darryl is a slightly unusual character. Firstly, he’s lewd to the point of ridiculousness, which makes for some very amusing scenes. There’s a line in the film when Roxie tells Darryl that it’s like he stepped out of a 70s porno and into her life and I think that’s one of the most accurate ways of describing Darryl ;) Not in the sense that the series is in any way explicit - it isn’t (it’s American TV we’re talking about ;-P), but the constant flow of innuendo that Darryl keeps up is totally exasperating ;) He’s also a bit of an exhibitionist *grin* (again, sadly this is American TV, so the shots and object placement are very strategic ;), but the skin show is still kind of nice *grin*).
But what makes Darryl into a rather unusual villain is that even though he’s clearly corrupt, manipulative and constantly on the lookout for sex, there are plenty of times when he seems very honest and sometimes even vulnerable. Hardly ever does he hint at any sort of cruelty (the embedded scene is one of few where he does) and it doesn’t go much further than hints. He’s certainly not your typical domineering villain.
The relationship between Darryl and Roxie is particularly weird. While she’s initially totally exasperated by all his lewd attempts at getting into her knickers (with good reason *grin*), it gradually becomes evident that that’s not all Darryl is after. In fact he does a much better job at comforting and supporting her (through conversation, not sex ;)) than her boyfriend does.
Villains are usually jealous, forceful and possessive kind of characters, but with Darryl hardly any of that seems to surface. On the contrary - for Roxie, Kat and Joanna he is an empowering and liberating force. He doesn’t judge them the way most of the village seems to, but merely cheers them on in whatever they want to achieve and encourages them to let their feelings run wild without worrying about the consequences. And the way Paul Gross plays it, there’s this beautiful and very genuine acceptance and love of all their quirks and flaws. A pretty weird villain, huh?
Of course, as he is a villain, he does try to manipulate and push them into doing certain things, but it’s all done relatively sweetly and if they refuse he backs off (at least temporarily anyway ;-P). Darryl is charming, stylish and sexy and these qualities never seem to leave him. Of course it helps that Paul Gross is still physically a very attractive man *grin* and he’s far from looking his age (he generally looks more like he’s in his 40s than in his 50s and they even managed to get him looking 30ish for a flashback scene, though I think they were aiming for 20ish ;-P).
But onto other aspects of the series ;) I loved that there are so many developed female characters in this. It’s not just the three witches, there are plenty of supporting female characters of all shapes and sizes. Each of them has a distinct personality of their own and they’re all so feminine! *grin*
The humour of it and the way they keep mixing it with darker undertones really appeals to me and there’s some great melodrama in it as well. I also love the directness of some of the dialogue and situations. The three leading women are all quite direct in how they phrase things - especially Joanna, who seems to say the weirdest and most embarrassing things to men she fancies. It’s not just what she says, but the way she says it as well. One of my favourites was her admitting to a guy that she has “gooey fantasies” about him. Just the choice of the word “gooey” totally cracked me up and there were a lot of lines and situations like that. The way they phrased things made a lot of the situations feel a lot more inappropriate to me (which happens to totally be my sense of humour *grin*) and I felt it was somewhat unusual to have the women saying and doing a lot of the inappropriate things (not that Darryl didn’t join in ;-P but still ;)).
All in all I loved it and I’m really bummed that they cancelled the show :-/ I’m not sure they’re even going to release it on DVD (I’ve found nothing that suggests they will). I totally would buy it if it was, but unfortunately it looks like I will have to make do with the illegal route :-/ There is a whole campaign to try and get ABC to revive the show btw, so if you’re inclined to support it, you can sign the on-line petition and vote for Eastwick on this poll.

Absolutely :) I suppose it’s more of a girly thing really, but I don’t see why men couldn’t enjoy it. Paul Gross fans really should see this and generally anybody who likes a sexy villain will probably be very happy with this version of Darryl Van Horne *grin* Those who like very female-centred films will probably enjoy this as well.
It does take a while to warm up (you’ll find a lot of the comments on imdb also say that the later episodes are much better), but it’s worth the wait *grin*

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