Ten Deep 10.10.13: Top Ten TV Witches
Posted by Mike Gorman on 10.10.2013
From Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Adalind in Grimm to Jesus in True Blood, Charmed's Halliwell sisters and more, 411's Mike Gorman counts down the top 10 TV witches of all time!
"Top Ten TV Witches"
A few years back it seemed every time you turned around a new vampire themed TV series was hitting the airwaves, and then it was zombies. This week it is the witches turn as Lifetime's The Witches of East End and FX's American Horror Story: Coven premiere. And while your DVRs will now be flooded with some more wonderful witches there have been many before this new crop that cast a spell on audiences. In this week's Ten Deep I attempt to divine which witches were most worth watching… and practice my alliteration.
10. Witch Hazel from Disney & the Looney Tunes
Witch Hazel fascinates not just because she is a prominent animated TV witch but because she was voiced by the same actress for two different companies. The first Witch Hazel was created by Disney and was a relatively benevolent witch. Then famous creator Chuck Jones was so enamored with the character that he created a witch of his own inspired by the original with the same name as he knew Disney could not trademark it due to it being the same as the product on store shelves. The new Hazel had a bit of a darker slant and was a riot. You can check out both takes and pick a favorite for yourself in the clips below.
9. Adalind Schade from Grimm
While technically not a witch per se but a Hexenbiest, Adalind Schade certainly cast spells and is up to no good on NBC's Grimm. Adalind is the proverbial bad penny that keeps turning up just when you think she is gone for good causing all kinds of trouble for the show's titular hero, Nick the Grimm. She is the witch at the root of the storyline that carried the series through its last season. Her spell to cause Nick's love Juliette to fall in love with another lead to some challenging situations. And as we were beginning to think she was out of the picture permanently herself, Adalind showed back up bringing a whole new wrinkle to the show's plots. I am certain she will be around for as long as the series lasts.
8. Cassie Hughes from Hex
Unlike most American television shows, Hex shows us once again how the BBC is very flexible with their programming and will make changes as a show progresses if an actor leaves or a plot change is needed. My point is they are more likely to disrupt the status quo of a series than we are here in the USA; which is the case with Hex and its main character Cassie Hughes. In the series Cassie discovers she is a part of a long blood line of witches and has a destiny set out before her. The first season of the show features Cassie's adventures with her best friend, a lesbian ghost, and her relationship with an ominous character played by Michael Fassbender. Cassie does not actually last that long on the series and the show's tone definitely changes after departure but her time discovering her true heritage and mystical abilities make for great television.
7. Jesus from True Blood
Jesus is the only male witch, or brujo as he would say, to make this week's list. He is introduced as a potential love interest for Lafayette on True Blood and before long we discover his connection to the supernatural side of the series. In most instances witches and their powers are described as being primarily female and tied into the expression of feminine power which makes Jesus' case extremely interesting. He is also not the only brujo in his family. Jesus' tenure on True Blood is not long but his impact on the "Wiccan storyline" was deeply felt.
6. Sabrina from Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Sabrina The Teenage Witch leapt from the pages of Archie Comics and in the very capable hands of the young Melissa Joan Hart became a smash hit that was on the much watch list of many homes. Sabrina's misadventures trying to discover how to control her powers and the responsibility they entail led to many comical situations with the assistance of her two witch Aunts and her magical cat Salem.
5. Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf
Witchiepoo was one of the fantastical creations to come from the minds of Sid and Marty Croft in the 60s. She was the main antagonist on the series H.R. Pufnstuf and often tried to procure Freddy the Magical Flute with the help of her henchmen and rocket powered Vroom Broom. Witchiepoo was brought to life by the actress Billie Hayes who mastered Witchiepoo's signature cackle and hilarious physicality. Though the show only ran for 17 episodes, it was broadcast for many years and Hayes went on to reprise the character in TV specials and in similar roles on other shows.
4. The Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time
Lana Parrilla, who plays Regina the Evil Queen on Once Upon a Time, is truly the queen of making us care about a character that we do not like. As is often the case in Once Upon a Time we learn that the reality of the fairy tales are quite different and this is true in the case of Regina. We get to see how circumstances and her own choices brought her to where she is today, and we get to see how this most wicked queen found love as a mother which has since driven her to seek redemption, for the most part. Parrilla absolutely chews the scenery in Regina's flashbacks and tempers her performance in the modern setting. She leaves us questioning who we are rooting for many times as the show progresses.
3. Willow & Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The top three in this week's countdown are kind of cheats, in that they each contain more than one witch but when breaking this list down I felt like I didn't want to force out some other great selections by splitting these characters up. So I grouped them together by series and am ok with the results. Up in the third slot this week are the young witches in love from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow and Tara. For all of her magical powers Tara was one of the most grounded and plainly spoke characters on the series, which makes sense as she became the foil for the ever brighter Willow Rosenberg. It is funny that in many ways Willow started out in the quieter roll but as the series progressed and Alyson Hannigan's talent became more apparent Willow's prominence grew. Together they were magic and then Tara's tragic death drove Willow to the dark side and crowned her season 6's big bad. Willow did eventually rejoin the good guys and move on but Tara's impact remained an important part of her development.
2. Samantha & Endora from Bewitched
Really there are so many witches on Bewitched who deserve a spot on this list including Uncle Arthur, Doctor Bombay, Aunt Clara and Tabitha but I am choosing to give the recognition to the mother – daughter duo Endora and Samantha. Samantha tried time and time again to keep the magical side of her life under wraps preferring to lead a simple human existence while Endora would keep popping up to throw that plan to the wind. Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead gave unforgettable performances as Samantha and Endora that were, as clichéd as it sounds to say, quite bewitching.
1. The sisters of Charmed
At first I was going to give this to the "Halliwells" of Charmed but then Paige would be left out as she was a Matthews, and then I realized that it would also imply the entire bloodline of the Halliwell clan including the sisters' mother, grandmother, and their children would be included. As a fan of Charmed I wanted to be sure that I focused on the sister's at the heart of the story. In the featurette below the show's creators talk about how they were not making a show about witches who were sisters but sisters who happen to be witches, which I think makes their adventures all the more interesting. Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Paige kicked ass and took names when it came to fighting the demons from the underworld and somehow still tried their best to have "normal" lives outside of the magic. The show was at its best in my opinion when it delved deep into its own mythology and explored the dynamics of the sisters' relationship.
Are you a fan of my selections this week or fervently searching for the proper curse to show your displeasure?? I'd love to hear about it and your own favorite witch in the comments below!
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