Good Witch “Starting Over…Again” Review (Season 1, Episode 1)

Good Witch Starting Over Again Episode 1 31

“Hello, Welcome to Middleton!”

Cassie Nightingale (series lead Catherine Bell) greets new-to-town Dr. Sam Radford (series lead James Denton from Desperate Housewives) to the town, late at night as he and his son Nick (series regular Rhys Matthew Bond) move into the house next door to legendary Grey House, where Cassie and her now teenage daughter Grace (series lead Bailee Madison) live with grandpa George O’Hanrahan (series regular Peter MacNeill) on the new Hallmark Channel series Good Witch.

As the episode title makes clear, Cassie is “starting over again” because her husband Sheriff Jake Russell (Chris Potter, who appeared in all of ‘The Good Witch’ franchise movies) is no longer with us, leaving her a widow, raising a magically-gifted daughter on her own.

Sam and Nick are starting over, too, because they are fresh-from-New York due to Nick getting into trouble, repeatedly, at his old school; and being a bit surly in the mix. Nick doesn’t make things much easier for Grace at school while Sam doesn’t necessarily hit it off big with Cassie either.

Meanwhile Jake’s kids-Cassie’s step-children Lori (series regular Hannah Endicott-Douglas) and Brandon (series regular Dan Jeannotte, taking over the role from Matthew Knight, who starred in all of the made-for-TV movies in the franchise) are both back in Middleton for a special tribute to their late father. Brandon has a big surprise for the family – one that, for now, drives his wife Tara (guest star Ashley Leggat, who appeared in the latter three films in the franchise) out of his life while Lori is contemplating what to do with her writing career. Despite getting the opportunity to travel all over the world to cover stories, Lori is discovering that’s she burned-out with her current career path; but thankfully (or conveniently since this is Middleton and magical things always seem to happen in this quaint little town) the local newspaper, where Lori got her start, is on the verge of going under. Instead of that happening, though, Lori decides to go back to her roots, working alongside the long-time editor.

On the other hand, Brandon makes a complete role-reversal, leaving the music world he so seemed to love behind, taking over the mantel of his father: working for the Middleton Police Department. Middleton also has a new Sheriff in town in the form of Derek Sanders (series regular Noah Cappe), who worked as Deputy for the late, great Jake Russell during all of the franchise movies. Derek is a more than capable Sheriff, but of course, current Mayor Martha Tinsdale (series regular Catherine Disher) – in her typical fashion – is still as exacting as ever.

The newbies introduced in the show are local real estate agent and close friend of Cassie’s, Ryan Elliott (series regular Anthony Lemke from Lost Girl and The Listener), who has been a good support system for ‘the good witch’ since losing Jake and Anthony (guest star Shane Harte), who is Grace’s best friend, who obviously sees Grace as more than just her best friend although she doesn’t see it that way.

Needless to say, with all of these people starting over again, it is going to be an interesting time in Middleton. But what I would like to know is what really happened to Jake? What caused his death wasn’t completely revealed and I have to admit to being curious. What will the future hold for Brandon working on the police force? Will his family be able to deal with him being a cop too? What kind of relationship will Cassie have with Sam? She didn’t seem ready to move on from Jake quite yet. The same can be said for Grace and Nick? Opposites do attract so it’s possible that magical mom and daughter could capture the hearts of both of them. Will Brandon and Tara reunite at some point? Will Martha ever learn to just let loose and quit being so controlling?

What are your thoughts on the debut of the new weekly TV version of the popular movie franchise? Did you enjoy the two-hour series premiere? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The next new episode of the debut season of ‘Good Witch’ will air on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, March 7 at 8/7c.