I make an effort to watch all projects involving Alexandra Daddario. She’s a fantastic actress. When it comes to witches, a beloved theme of mine, I couldn’t resist watching. “Mayfair Witches” is an AMC series comprising eight episodes adapted from Anne Rice’s book. With its thematic approach, the series reminiscent of “American Horror Story” possesses a flaw shared by many promising series I’ve watched lately: an inability to chart the correct course toward its finale. While the content is initially impressive, it loses its way in the middle. For viewers accustomed to the tension in a story on television building as the episodes progress and eventually reaching a climax, “Mayfair Witches” may come across as somewhat dull.
Let’s briefly touch upon the premise… Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario) begins investigating the source of unexplainable emotions, only to discover her witchy past. As she tries to unlock her new powers, she also uncovers the truths about her long-lost mother and a sinister entity fixated on her family. While Rowan delves into her past, this malevolent entity makes her its new target.
The series’ “American Horror Story”-esque approach is quite successful. It maintains a mystical and enigmatic atmosphere throughout the season. In this regard, the series is visually striking and effectively captures the desired theme. Especially in the early episodes, the show handles the curiosity element well within Rowan Fielding’s journey of self-discovery. Rowan’s process of self-discovery, her mother’s story of returning from a coma, and the enigmatic shadow of Lasher (Jack Huston), the entity fixated on the family, make the early episodes intriguing. However, the series loses its way towards the end.
A story typically consists of an introduction, development, and conclusion. However, in recent times, the lines between development and conclusion have blurred in many television series. We can see a similar unsuccessful ending, for instance, in “The Peripheral” series. Unfortunately, despite having a promising concept, the series was canceled after its first season because the idea was not executed correctly, and its direction remained unclear. “Mayfair Witches” faces the same issue. It’s unclear where the story is heading, and, even worse, we can’t decipher what to expect in the series finale. When watching a series from the very first episode, we should be able to anticipate where it’s going and what we’ll encounter in the final episodes. The narrative must excite our anticipation. However, “Mayfair Witches” not only fails to predict its conclusion, but it doesn’t even have one.
In essence, “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches,” although initially captivating in the style of “American Horror Story,” falters in bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion. Despite having a talented lead like Alexandra Daddario, the series falls short in terms of storytelling. The core issue seems to be that the series doesn’t know where it wants to take the story and how to advance it. Alternatively, the root problem might be that some books are not well-suited for adaptation. This is because books that establish the dramatic structure correctly and introduce the reader to different cultures may not necessarily achieve the same impact when translated into a series or film. The reason is quite clear; while series require a rising tension towards the finale, books sometimes merely open the door to a new culture or offer a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, this structure often does not translate effectively in series, as evident in “Mayfair Witches.”
Cast & Crew
starring: Alexandra Daddario, Tongayi Chirisa, Jack Huston, Harry Hamlin, Hannah Alline
USA | 2023 | 8 EPISODES |