The maturity of Alexandra Daddario's performance in Mayfair Witches is surprising. That said there are also some very real problems that inhibit to show from succeeding, but there are some clever ideas throughout the episode.
This is not just a show about witches. This is really a show about victim blaming and the vulnerability of women being denied the validity of their concerns. It plays with this notion by turning the drama of the show into a denial of concerns. The women in the show are faced with an impossible choice: being denied the validity of their reality or dying to avoid a lifetime of the agony such denial would create.
The show is not beautifully shot, but there are some interesting effects throughout the episode. The small effect here and there makes a world of difference. The reveals of characters relay further mysteries, which is the foundation and appeal of world building.
Certainly, some of the visuals lack a defining element, but the writing and the acting carry the viewer through some of the more conventional visual choices. This show is far from perfect and could be encouraged to swing a little more to the fences. With this in mind, the show doesn't do as much world building as it could be doing, but this is where it balances two genres: horror and fantasy. The two together often have wonderful results, but they are difficult to pull off.
The real problem with the pilot is that it has no direction. There aren't clearly established stakes. As the show obfuscates and play its cards close to the chest, the viewer, as a result, doesn't know where the show is going. The balance of mystery can be effective, but Mayfair Witches doesn't so much balance as bury the story. We want to know more certainly, but for the story to have meaning we need to know more. This is the acrobatics that a mystery must perform well on. More importantly it has to do this if it wants to not only makes sense to the audience but compel them to come back.
Mayfair Witches fails to do this properly, which is more confusing than intriguing. There is too much beneath the surface, but perhaps the show is exactly that: skin deep. There are interesting elements, but they are ultimately unfulfilled. Whether or not the show continues to develop these ideas remains to be seen. There is strong reason to worry about a journey into the increasingly camp that a lack of a strong foundation might present. It's unfortunate, but Mayfair Witches doesn't fully realize or even establish its potential in the first episode.