The Worst Witch: The new theme music sounds like something from Tales From The Crypt more than it does Worst Witch, but it's kind of snazzy, and it's what we hear as we watch Mildred (dressed like somebody's conservative grandma and still with her plaits) fly up to Wyrdsister College. We also see our new heroine, Cas (or maybe Caz) riding there on her bike. Ethel shows up in a limo. And as an aside, I'll say as one girl to another, Ethel looks better than she ever did in the first three years of Worst Witch. She died part of her hair bluish gray and she has much cooler clothes.
Anyway, there's this plucky little woman named Dewdrop working in the tower, and there's some invisible boy poking around. "There's something you have to remember about invisibility," she says, trying to get him with a sword, "I've seen it all before."
Mildred shows up and the boy escapes. Dewdrop introduces herself and promptly fines Mildred for flying around the school. Mildred says they always flew at Cackles, and Dewdrop says that they don't do that here. They don't want a witch-hunt started.
She shows Mildred to her new room, and Mildred meets her roommate. Ethel Hallow. Ethel complains that she worked hard to get into Wyrdsister, and Mildred did nothing but draw a good picture. Mildred says she looks different (oi, she looks like Felicity Jones, she does) and Ethel says Mildred looks the same.
Meanwhile, there's a sword fight in their little common room. Some girl trying to chop this dark bloke's head off. The dark bloke's called Hobbs, and he has a haircut that dates back to Little House on the Prairie. He's supposed to be really cool (you can tell 'cause he's wearing black). Ethel and Mildred save him from the girl, who turns out to be Deirdre Swoop. She's been there a year, I guess (don't ask how, I didn't).
The guy says he's going out for coffee and asks if anyone wants to go. Mildred's the one he wants to talk to, but he settles for Ethel when she invites herself along. They go out for their coffee while Mildred and Deirdre catch up.
Hobbs tells Ethel that there's a test first year students have to pass. Something called the All Seeing Eye. It can see into your past. He says he knows neither of them will pass (or he insinuates it... I didn't really notice) but that there's only one person who can fool the eye.
Cut to Mildred looking sulky in her room. Ethel comes in and apologizes for being such a jerk before. Says she wants to make a clean start of it. Cas comes in (they met during the sword fight, I think) and tells Ethel off somewhat. Ethel says she's sorry about cutting off Cas' bike with her limo.
Meanwhile, a bunch of professors whose names I didn't catch have a chat about the eye. They open a box and look at it less than fondly, but we don't get to see. The two women professors say it's creepy and they don't think the students should have to go through that. The old man, who seems to be a few centuries old in fact says they've had this discussion before, only when different people were working there. It's tradition (Dewdrop backs him up on this) and if only one greedy, selfish student gets through and uses the magic taught at Wyrdsister for evil ends, all is lost (or the usual spiel to that effect).
Everyone heads down to the great hall and listens to a speech about facing the eye. They've just had eggs cooked by Ethel (which were burned). Oh, by the way, Cas is Canadian Francais - even in the show, which is cool. They also have two weird little blokes as friends. They went to wizard school together and they don't really fit in here. They met Cas at some part of the show I forgot to mention, and they thought Ethel was a duchess or something.
Anyway, Deirdre tells them all there's nothing to worry about. The eye sits above a door, and if it turns green you can walk through. Nobody gets turned away. Almost nobody.
Ethel tells them all that she has a plan. It involves Mildred. Mildred doesn't want any part of it, and she doesn't even stay to listen. She walks outside and meets Hobbs. He says he's sorry he won't get to know her better - he really wanted to, you know. She asks why, and he says he made this one stupid mistake and he won't be able to get through the gate when it looks into his past.
Mildred shows up for the eye thing, and everyone's hanging about in their best clothes. They all look really nice, and Cas asks Mildred if she's going to go get dressed. Mildred wants to know what she means. Cas says nothing, but mentions that Mildred's hair makes her look like a little girl. I wouldn't be talking about anyone's hairstyle if I were you, Cas.
Anyway, they start the parade of people going through. As Mildred steps up, the eye glows red, and Miss Hardbroom appears in a puff of smoke. She tells Mildred off, and says something about her having potential but being about to throw it all away. Mildred says she's old enough to make her own decisions, and Miss Hardbroom wishes her luck before smiling and disappearing. I yell "Miss Hardbroom come back! I miss you, I miss you!" in some strange parody of The Wizard of Oz, but, like in the Wizard of Oz, the image fades and leaves me with naught but the munchkins.
People keep going through the door, and getting told off by someone they know before they do. Hobbs talks to Mildred through a hole in the wall and tells her he's going next. The plan was to go last, but he says it would be too obvious. As he steps up, Mildred unfolds a drawing and it comes to life. It's a picture of the eye that rests over the door, glowing green. The picture fits itself over the real eye, and no one is the wiser as Hobbs and then Ethel step through.
Everybody's celebrating, and Mildred asks them if they've seen Hobbs. Yeah, they say, but she might not want to. Mildred steps outside and sees Hobbs having a sweet tete-a-tete with Ethel. "Silly girl," Ethel says, eyeing Mildred coldly.
Mildred runs up to her room crying and destroys her drawing. Cas comes up to see what's the matter and finds that Mildred is hacking off her plaits with scissors.
And so ends episode one. It's aimed at a much broader audience than the first three seasons were, so maybe we'll get some marketing and promotion out of this. It's really too early for me to decide if I like it. There are some interesting paths the storyline could take from here, though.