This past weekend, the third and final season of the fantasy drama series A Discovery of Witches premiered in the United States. The show follows the story of a reluctant witch named Diana Bishop. The daughter of two powerful witches in their own right, the late Stephen Proctor and Rebecca Bishop, Diana chose early on to ignore her magic and decided to pursue a career as a historian of alchemy instead.
However, when Diana accidentally comes across a bewitched alchemical manuscript that sends the creature world into a frenzy, she can no longer keep the world of magic at bay. And to further complicate things, she finds herself entangled with Matthew Clairmont, a brilliant and handsome geneticist who just so happens to be a vampire.
If you’ve yet to get on board with this criminally underrated show, what are you waiting for? We’ve compiled the top five reasons to add A Discovery of Witches to your watch list.
5. It’s not your typical “supernatural” tale
There are plenty of stories about supernatural creatures currently milling about across film and television, especially vampires. While some passionately embrace the genre, others may feel a sense of oversaturation in tales about brooding, blood-drinking love interests. A Discovery of Witches is indeed a tale of forbidden, star-crossed lovers, but the object of our leading vampire’s affections isn’t a helpless human, she’s a witch. For all of the carefully composed danger that Matthew Clairmont exudes, the playing field is quite even between these two lovers, for Diana Bishop is a strong, independent, resilient woman with old, powerful magic flowing through her veins.
Beyond that, there are much “creature world politics” to be discovered in A Discovery of Witches, because vampires, witches, and the third species — daemons — are not meant to fraternize outside of their ancient governing body, the Congregation. The focus of the show lies not only on Matthew and Diana’s story but also the troubled, uncertain future of the creatures.
4. Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode
At the heart of A Discovery of Witches is Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, who are played by Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode, respectively. Separately, they each put on compelling performances, but together, their chemistry is astounding. Palmer’s calm and collected presentation of Diana perfectly rounds out Goode’s hypnotizing, sharp-edged portrayal of Matthew.
In order for a fictional romance story to kick off, one must be able to buy into the charged, captivating dynamic between its participants. Palmer and Goode pull this off flawlessly, quickly brokering dedicated audience investment in the relationship between their characters from the very first episode.
3. There are so many supporting characters to love along the way
A Discovery of Witches not only has two fantastic leads, but the series also has an entire roster of incredible supporting characters to get invested in as well. There are amazing allies, wonderfully despicable villains, and riveting figures that toe the line between good and evil. In season 1 alone, viewers will meet characters like Diana’s aunt Sarah (Alex Kingston) and her partner Emily Mather (Valarie Pettiford), vampires Miriam Shepherd (Aiysha Hart) and Marcus Whitmore (Edward Bluemel), formidable members of the Congregation like Peter Knox (Owen Teale) and Gerbert D’Aurillac (Trevor Eve), and so many others. And as the show goes on, each subsequent season brings forth an array of more excellent characters to look forward to meeting as well.
2. The production quality
Plain and simple, this show is just absolutely gorgeous to look at and a pleasure to experience as a viewer. A Discovery of Witches is a perfect storm, offering up a visual feast by way of cinematography, stunning sets, beautiful costumes that span across multiple time periods, lovely special effects, and a tight script that flows impressively well. The production quality alone makes it baffling how the series still remains so underrated in its third season, because this show truly provides audiences with such a rich viewing experience.
1. It’s based on a book series
A Discovery of Witches is based on the All Souls series by Deborah Harkness, who serves as an executive producer on the show. Book readers will notice that some aspects of the book didn’t make the final cut in the show. This is a common occurrence in television and film adaptations, because not everything translates well on-screen, and there are limitations within the runtime of each episode. But regardless, the show has ultimately turned out to be a successful and worthy adaptation of the source material, finding ways to believably bring a rich and complicated supernatural story to life in a cohesive and coherent manner.
In addition to the three novels that each season of the show is based on, there is also a complete companion guide for them and a fourth novel that focuses on a secondary character’s story (Marcus). Harkness isn’t even finished with the All Souls series either, because she still has more books in the works! Whether you opt to read the books first or to dive into them after watching the show, there’s plenty of written material to quench your thirst and expand upon the All Souls universe.
How to watch
If we’ve successfully convinced you to check out A Discovery of Witches, you may be wondering how you can watch the show now. If you’re located in the US, the series is available to view on multiple streaming platforms, including AMC+, Sundance Now, and Shudder, all of which are currently offering free trials of their services.