From TV to films, we couldn't get enough of women with magical powers

By Tim Stack
Updated December 20, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST

What’s a five-letter word for an assertive, powerful woman who’s also a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood today? W-I-T-C-H. Now, this isn’t just a mean gal with a major case of the grumps — we’re talking spell-casting ladies who lunch and then maybe levitate. Witches became the supernatural entity of 2013, demolishing some stiff competition. Vampires? They just suck. Werewolves? Never really happened, and no one likes that much hair. Zombies still make a killing but are just so damn messy and incoherent. Witches swept the pop culture landscape with a string of major projects and general fabulousness.

Admittedly the year got off to an iffy start with the wan teen saga Beautiful Creatures and Sam Raimi’s big-budget (and big bummer) Oz the Great and Powerful. It was the fall that delivered the most witching hours (everyone knows enchantresses enjoy the changing foliage) with American Horror Story: Coven and Witches of East End, as well as the magical supporting characters on The Originals and Sleepy Hollow. Even the animation world has hopped on the bandwagon: Disney’s sorceress musical Frozen, featuring an Idina Menzel-voiced conjurer who uses her magic to whip up a spacious ice palace and decent cleavage, has made $165 million at the box office. It’s not entirely surprising that witches have come back around, since the conceit is also a natural opportunity for actresses of all ages and races to sink their teeth into deliciously juicy roles. Look no further than AHS: Coven, which has become the most popular iteration of the franchise to date thanks in part to a stellar roster of award winners, including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe, playing modern-day witches who wield killer vaginas and closets full of Gucci.

And the covens aren’t departing Hollywood anytime soon. There are already two Salem-set dramas in the works, one being developed by Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black). Plus, CBS is rebooting The WB’s cult-classic sister-witches soap Charmed. My theory on the witch-palooza? Everyone wants magical powers…except maybe a killer vagina. But who hasn’t dreamed of being able to take flight or move things with their mind? I mean, as a child I dressed up as a magician for Halloween five years in a row. In fact, why let the ladies have all the fun? #wizardsin2014.