The Good Witch Series: A Review from a Real Wiccan Witch
A Movie like Real Witchcraft?
For some people, their only frame of reference for Wicca or Witchcraft comes from entertainment (don't know the difference between Wicca and Witchcraft? Read about it here). I've been asked more than a few times if Wicca is anything like Charmed, or if Witches can do things like in The Craft. Sadly, some people have even accused my life of being something like Daughter's of Satan.
I don't actually mind 'Witch fiction'... I don't usually get offended by Wicca being misrepresented or by Witchcraft being depicted as evil. It's meant to be entertainment, and so I give it a lot of leeway as long as it's not claiming to be an accurate depiction. I don't understand why people think that real life Witchcraft or Wicca are anything like shows and movies made for entertainment. After all, it's pretty rare for fiction to depict something accurately.
When people do need a frame of reference, though, my new favorite film (or series of films) to point them toward is the Hallmark channel's The Good Witch series.
I don't outline the plots, but some details of the show are revealed in this article. If you're waiting to watch the series and would rather be surprised, you should stop reading here.
See bottom of article for series updates!
The Good Witch
The Good Witch
About the Good Witch Series
The series debuted in the first made for TV movie, The Good Witch, in (2008). Catherine Bell stars as Cassandra "Cassie" Nightingale, a charming but enigmatic woman who is a new resident in the small town of Middleton. Not all of the residents approve of her or her shop of oddities, 'Bell, Book and Candle'. Cassie manages to earn acceptance and some respect from her new neighbors, and finds a home where she can finally settle down.
The series continues with The Good Witch's Garden (2009), in which Cassie almost loses her historic family home to a con man. In The Good Witch's Gift (2010), Cassie gets the gift she's always wanted for Christmas: a family. By the fourth installment-- The Good Witch's Family (2011)-- Cassie discovers a long lost cousin who also has that magic spark, but is not quite so ethical about it. In 2012, the fifth movie-- The Good Witch's Charm-- was released. Learning to juggle career, marriage and motherhood does not slow down Cassie, or her mysterious ability to fix everyone's problems. The most recent installment, The Good Witch's Destiny, was released October 26th, 2013, and in it we find that while Cassie's family and friends struggle with changes, she has not lost her magic touch.
How would you rate The Good Witch series
Magic in The Good Witch Series
The Good Witch series depicts magic more as I see it in my life than as any other fiction has ever depicted it. There's no obvious hocus-pocus, though there are a few fun implications that make you wonder. For example, an object spotted in one place mysteriously turns up when needed at another place. Did Cassie just happen to bring it with her? Does she have two of them? Did she beam it from one closet to the other with some secret powers? We'll probably never know-- Cassie just gives a knowing wink and plays innocent when asked.
That's not really the kind of magic that you find in the Good Witch movies. Magic in Middleton seems to be more based on a positive attitude, wisdom, natural remedies and using your head. For example, when a girl who is plagued by monster nightmares, Cassie offers a dream catcher to solve the problem. She then tells the girl the real problem would be dreaming of bunnies-- and instructs the girl to prevent this fate from repeatedly chanting "I will not dream of bunnies." With the bunny suggestion implanted, the girl begins dreaming of bunnies instead of monsters. In another instance, Cassie gives an aphrodisiac oil to a woman who's marriage has been struggling due to their frustration with infertility. Cassie assures her the concoction will inspire intimacy, and it does-- the couple becomes so relaxed and begins enjoying the intimacy so much, that they find themselves pregnant as a result.
The show does not give the idea that the dream catcher or oil blend could poof away people's problems. The people had the power to resolve their own problems all along, they just needed something to put their faith in -- something on which to focus their goals -- in order to bring about that internal change.
What Say You?
Witches and Wiccans of the world: how do you think The Good Witch portrays magic and Witchcraft?
A Model Wiccan Witch?
I don't mean to over-romanticize The Good Witch; it is a movie, after all. It's very saccharine, with more than a hefty dash of 'too good to be true' in a modernized Brady-Bunchy style. In real life, no one is perfect, and situations don't always work out quite so perfectly.
Though Cassie's life is by no means realistic or a model for every Wiccan or Witch's life, her characteristics are what I see as a model. She's confident, without being cocky. She's spiritual without being dogmatic, she a woman of faith (in herself, in the universe, in other people) yet she's practical. She's trusting and shows people compassion, without being gullible or allowing people to take advantage of her. She's found that healthy balance that we all seek.
Unlike Witches (or even Wiccans) in other shows and movies, Cassie doesn't get what she wants by drawing down some extraordinary, superhuman powers from the universe-- she utilizes her own personal power to the best of her ability by being patient, kind, observant, understanding, perceptive and trusting her intuition. She's creative in coming up with simple solutions, she makes good choices, and she faces the future with optimism and without regret. Just think of how much more we could all do in our lives if we learn to believe in ourselves, and in those we care about.
Cassie never directly answers the question as to whether she's a Witch or not, and the word "Wicca" never makes it into the series. The show doesn't go into religion or beliefs (although she has a very subtle and casual air of spiritual enlightenment about her). Cassie is an example of those high ideals for which Wiccan and/or Witches aspire, as well as an example of what we really try to accomplish through our magical arts. For fiction, it's a nice change of pace.
Got an opinion of The Good Witch series? Tell me about it!
If you're curious about what's going on with the Good Witch series, check back here and I'll post new info as it arises.
The Good Witch's Wonder is the seventh and most recent made-for-tv movie set to premier on October 25th, 2014
This past weekend, Hallmark showed a Good Witch marathon and announced the popular family movie series will be turned into a new weekly television series in 2015. The Good Witch TV series will continue starring Catherine Bell as Cassie Nightingale, and so far the network has signed up for 10 episodes.
UPDATE - 2015:
The Good Witch TV show was renewed for a second season.
UPDATE - August/2016
The Good Witch TV series has been renewed for a third season
In October 2016, a 2-hour Halloween special will air.