Regardless what your feelings are about supernatural romance novels or television adaptations of bestselling books, one thing is for certain: the upcoming A Discovery of Witches TV series is stacked with talent. Based on the bestselling fantasy All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, the show is being adapted by Bad Wolf Television, a company run by former Doctor Who producers Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner. The writer and showrunner will be Kate Brooke (Mr. Selfridge, The Forsyte Saga), and Harkness herself will executive produce.
In fact, it seems that the author is deeply involved in the adaptation, as she assured her fans in a Facebook message on Saturday. “I have been part of every decision made, and support each and every direction we have taken thus far even when we have had to diverge from something in the books in order to tell you a good story in a broadcast timeframe.” And Harkness made the first casting announcement herself via social media this morning:
The central pair of mystical lovers will be played by Matthew Goode (who has been in a lot of great things but will always be Osymandias from Watchmen in my head) as Matthew Clairmont, the scientist/vampire, and Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge, Warm Bodies) as the scholar/repressed witch Diana Bishop. The books start in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where Diana’s research uncovers a mysterious manuscript and sets off a chain of events that takes her through time in a quest to unravel the secret origins of magical creatures (including vampires, witches and daemons). And obviously she hooks up with Matthew along the way, which leads to extra danger and drama.
The books are the ultimate beach read with pretensions, balancing romance and fantasy with historical figures (Christopher Marlowe is a dick, FYI) and science. Harkness is a history professor at the University of Southern California, and pulled from her own experiences as a scholar (though presumably NOT her experiences as a witch, obviously) to craft the tale. It’s better written than Twilight, for what it’s worth, and Diana is thankfully not a damsel-in-distress stereotype. But be warned: vampire yoga happens. Seriously.
A Discovery of Witches will begin shooting on location in Great Britain this fall. It will air on Sky 1 and streaming service NowTV in the UK and Ireland, and a U.S. broadcaster should be announced soon.