As many are well aware, "Bewitched" is the popular 60's sitcom that starred Elisabeth Montgomery as Samantha, a lovely young woman who found herself married to ad exec Darrin Stephens (Dick York, who reminds me a little of either Bruce Campbell or Jim Carrey, who would have been good picks for the recent movie version) After they get married, she lets him in on a little secret - she just happens to be a witch.
The first season is generally amusing from the get-go. I'd never seen the early episodes before, and they're mostly fun. The early episodes have Darrin and Samantha meeting on multiple occasions, finally falling in love and then getting married. His only problem is her mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead), who isn't exactly thrilled that her daughter is dating a human.
Darrin and Samantha love one another, but he tells her that there's no room for witchcraft in their marriage, even though she's fairly new to the whole thing. Despite the fact that she promises to put the spells away, she still finds herself in situations where it certainly comes in handy. One of the reasons that that the show succeeded as well as it did were the performances, as York and Montgomery had chemistry and played off each other well, while Moorehead was good at creating comedic conflict. Despite the fact that the whole series seemed rather one-note, the creators were able to get a lot out of the premise, with many of these early episodes still getting their fair share of chuckles.
The second and third seasons continued the show's magic, with a bunch of very funny episodes, the announcement of Samantha's pregnancy in the first episode of season two and the introduction of Uncle Arthur (Paul Linde). In the third season, Uncle Arthur continues to appear, becoming a regular character. Baby Tabitha also reveals her magical powers in the first episode, "Nobody's Perfect". However, while Samantha tries to find the best way to break the news to Darrin, he ends up finding out when he follows a floating toy horse in episode two, "The Moment of Truth".
After five entertaining seasons, star Dick York decided to leave the series after sustaining an injury that was increasingly difficult to recover from. Given that the series was still a success at the time, he was replaced soon after by Dick Sargent. The series continued on for three more seasons, but the concept started to lose steam towards the end, as the series just wasn't the same without York's delightfully funny effort playing off Montgomery's hilarious trickery.
Despite this being the last season with York playing Darrin, the actor certainly went out on a high note, as he remained as energetic and hilarious a performer as ever throughout these episodes. Some of the highlights found here are: "Samantha Goes South For A Spell" (a jealous witch sends Samantha - mistaken for Serena - back to 1868 New Orleans, so Darrin must go back to rescue his wife from a scoundrel), "It's So Nice to Have a Spouse" (While Samantha is off at a witches' condition, Darrin mistakenly takes Serena on a second honeymoon, unaware that she is standing in for her cousin.)and "Samantha's French Pastry" (Uncle Arthur conjures up the real Napoleon by accident instead of the French pastry that Samantha needs for desert). The series even proves to be surprisingly ahead of its time with "Marriage, Witches Style", where Serena tries out a computer dating service in order to find a potential mate.
#141: "Samantha's Wedding Present" - Sept. 26, 1968
Endora shrinks Darrin down to size after he refuses to allow Samantha to accept a gift that her mother conjured up by witchcraft.
#142: "Samantha Goes South for a Spell" - Oct. 3, 1968
A jealous witch sends Samantha (mistaking her for Serena) back to 1868 New Orleans, so Darrin must also go back to rescue his wife from the hands of an amorous scoundrel.
#143: "Samantha on the Keyboard" - Oct.10, 1968
Thanks to a little coaching (and magic) from Endora, Tabitha becomes a virtuoso at the piano, much to the dismay of her parents.
#144: "Darrin Gone and Forgotten" - Oct. 17, 1968
Vengeful witch Carlotta holds Endora to a promise she made long ago that Samantha marry Carlotta's son.
#145: "It's So Nice to Have a Spouse Around the House" - Oct. 24, 1968
While Samantha is off at a witches' council meeting, Darrin mistakenly takes Serena on a second honeymoon, unaware that she is standing in for her cousin.
#146: "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" - Nov. 7, 1968
After Samantha argues that Darrin has not a vain bone in his body, Endora casts a spell that transforms him into the most conceited and self-absorbed man in the world.
#147: "Samantha's French Pastry" - Nov. 14, 1968
Uncle Arthur accidentlly conjures up the real Napoleon instead of the French pastry Samantha needs for dessert.
#148: "Is it Magic or Imagination?" - Nov. 21 , 1968
Samantha's brilliant slogan wins her and Darrin a trip to Tahiti, but Darrin thinks that his wife used witchcraft and another brain to win the contest.
#149: "Samantha Fights City Hall" - Nov. 28, 1968
Samantha fights to save a neighborhood park, unaware that the man who wants to destroy it is a client of McMann & Tate.
#150: "Samantha Loses Her Voice" - Dec. 5, 1968
Uncle Arthur's latest practical joke has Samantha and Darrin switching voices, while at the same time the Stephenses are trying to resolve a fight between the Tates.
#151: "I Don't Want to Be a Toad" - Dec. 12, 1968
Tabitha's first day in nursery school turns into her last when she grants a friend's wish to be a butterfly.
#152: "Weep No More, My Willow" - Dec. 19, 1968
Samantha is in tears when she gets caught in the fallout of Dr. Bombay's spell to save her ailing willow tree.
#153: "Instant Courtesy" - Dec. 26, 1968
Claiming that Darrin is never anything but rude, Endora casts a spell that transforms him into a perfect gentleman.
#154: "Samantha's Super Maid" - Jan 2, 1969
Darrin's mother insists that Samantha hire a maid, but Samantha must find a way to politely let her go before the maid discovers she is working in a witch's house.
#155: "Cousin Serena Strikes Again" - Jan. 9, 1969 (Part One)
Serena changes an overly affectionate client into a monkey before the client has the chance to make her move on Darrin.
#156: "Cousin Serena Strikes Again" - Jan. 16, 1969 (Part Two)
Samantha frantically searches for the missing monkey who Serena must change back into Darrin's client in time to attend an important business meeting.
#157: "One Touch of Midas" - Jan. 23, 1969
Endora casts a spell over a doll called "The Fuzz" that causes every mortal that touches it to fall in love with it and causes Darrin to mass market the toy.
#158: "Samantha the Bard" - Jan. 30, 1969
Samantha's in trouble, it's her words this time, 'cause each time she speaks, it comes out in rhyme.
#159: "Samantha the Sculptress" - Feb. 6, 1969
Samantha tries her hand at sculpting, but it's Endora who deserves the credit when busts of Darrin and Larry are brought to life.
#160: "Mrs. Stephens, Where Are You?" - Feb. 13, 1969
Serena turns Darrin's mother into a cat after the meddlesome mother-in-law makes disparaging remarks about Samantha and her family.
#161: "Marriage, Witches Style" - Feb. 20, 1969
Fed up with the witches' social scene, Serena turns to a computer dating bureau to find a mortal man to marry.
#162: "Going Ape" - Feb. 27, 1969
Samantha turns a stray chimp into a man who ends up appearing in an ad campaign for Darrin's client.
#163: "Tabitha's Weekend" - March 6, 1969
Samantha and Endora accompany Tabitha on a bewitching weekend with her mortal grandparents.
#164: "The Battle of Burning Oak" - March 13, 1969
Endora turns Darrin into a snob just in time for him to accept a membership in an exclusive country club owned by his clients.
#165: "Samantha's Power Failure" - March 20, 1969
The Witches' council strips Samantha of all of her witchcraft for refusing to give up Darrin, and Serena and Uncle Arthur also find themselves powerless for pledging their loyalty and support to Samantha.
#166: "Samantha Twitches for UNICEF" - March 27, 1969
Samantha can't resist using witchcraft to settle the score with a man who withdrew his $10,000 pledge to UNICEF.
#167: "Daddy Does His Thing" - April 3, 1969
Maurice turns Darrin into a mule after Darrin refuses to accept a birthday gift from his father-in-law.
#168: "Samantha's Good News" - April 10, 1969
Samantha's parents seem to be headed for divorce, but Samantha is able to reconcile the bickering couple just in time for her own announcement that she is going to have another baby.
#169: "Samantha's Shopping Spree" - April 17, 1969
Samantha makes a big mistake when she allows her prankster Cousin Henry to accompany her and Tabitha to a department store.
#170: "Samantha and Darrin in Mexico City" - April 24, 1969
To impress a new client, Darrin must make a speech in Spanish, but thanks to Endora's spell, he disappears every time he utters a word of the language.
VIDEO: This fifth season of "Bewitched" is once again presented in color after the first two were presented in B & W (although colorized versions of the first two seasons also exist.) The picture quality is actually quite nice, aside from a few concerns here-and-there. Sharpness and detail were never examplary, but definitition at least remained consistently satisfactory throughout most of the episodes.
The presentation did show some minor signs of age at times, as some slight specks, marks and minor dirt were infrequently seen. No edge enhancement was spotted, but a few very minor instances of shimmer were spotted, as was a trace or two of pixelation. Colors looked bright and nicely saturated, with no smearing or other issues. Flesh tones also appeared accurate and natural.
SOUND:The mono soundtrack fares fine, as dialogue, sound effects and music remained a little primitive-sounding and flat, but still clear and easily understood.
EXTRAS: Sadly, nothing. A look at Dick York's career, given that this was his last season on the series, would have been nice.
Final Thoughts: "Bewitched"'s fifth season is the final one for star Dick York, but the superbly funny star goes out on a high note, as there are quite a few greats on this set. The DVD set doesn't provide anything in the way of supplements, but audio/video quality is fine. Recommended.