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. While Sargent offered a respectable effort against Montgomery, he just didn't wasn't quite as engaging or funny as York was on the series.
The 8th season of the series still has some very funny episodes, but the series had begun to show signs of wearing thin, as the concept had grown a little tired (two of the first 12 episodes revolve around Endora trying to test Darrin's loyalty to Samantha) by this point. The season does offer up a set of guest stars such as Julie Newmar, Will Geer, Bernie Kopell and others, but without much in the way of "magic", some of the episodes fall flat, most notably the opening several episodes, which see Darrin and Samantha headed to Europe.
The only highlight of this set of episodes is "Samantha's Not So Leaning Tower of Pisa", which - while not one of the best episodes ever, at least has a clever plot (Esmeralda makes the famed tower stand up straight, correcting a mistake she'd made centuries prior.) Some additional highlights of this season are: "George Washington Zapped Here" (a two-parter where the former president finds it difficult to adjust to modern life when he's zapped to modern times), "The Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Sam" (a dinner party for a prospective client goes awry when Endora casts a spell on Samantha's pin that causes everyone that comes near it to tell the truth) and "Hansel and Gretel in Samanthaland" (Tabitha zaps Hansel and Gretel out of their storybook so that the kids can enjoy a home-cooked meal.)
Overall, while the season isn't quite the grand send-off the show deserved, there are some amusing moments here and fans who are looking to complete their collection should consider picking up the set on sale.
229. 8- 1 15 Sep 71 How Not to Lose Your Head to King Henry VIII
(1)On a tour of the Tower of London, Samantha gets mixed up with a hateful witch who sends her back in time to the court of King Henry VIII.
230. 8- 2 22 Sep 71 How Not to Lose Your Head to King Henry VIII
(2) Endora sends Darrin back to 16th-century England to rescue Samantha before King Henry adds her to his gallery of late wives.
231. 8- 3 29 Sep 71 Samantha and the Loch Ness Monster
- While visiting the town of Inverness in Scotland, Darrin and Samantha meet the Loch Ness Monster.
232. 8- 4 6 Oct 71 Samantha's Not-So-Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Esmerelda, who originally caused the tower to lean, tries to correct her biggest mistake.
233. 8- 5 13 Oct 71 Bewitched, Bothered, and Baldoni
- In the city of Rome, Endora makes the statue of Venus to life in order to test Darrin's fidelity.
234. 8- 6 20 Oct 71 Paris, Witches' Style
- Samantha's father is furious when he learns that she and Darrin have not visited him while they are in Europe.
235. 8- 7 27 Oct 71 The Ghost Who Made a Spectre of Himself
- A lovesick ghost longing to be near Samantha takes up residence in Darrin and refuses to leave.
236. 8- 8 3 Nov 71 TV or Not TV
- Tabitha becomes an overnight sensation when she magically appears on a puppet show sponsored by Darrin's client.
237. 8- 9 10 Nov 71 A Plague on Maurice and Samantha
- Maurice decides her would like to sample mortal life after he temporarily loses his powers from a virus he caught from Samantha.
238. 8-10 17 Nov 71 Hansel and Gretel in Samanthaland
- Tabitha zaps the storybook characters out of the book and to the dinner table for a home-cooked meal.
239. 8-11 1 Dec 71 The Warlock in the Gray Flannel Suit
- Endora enlists the help of a hippie warlock so that Darrin is free to attend a family wedding with Samantha.
240. 8-12 8 Dec 71 The Eight Year Itch Witch
- Endora transforms a cat into a temptress to test Darrin's loyalty (again.)
241. 8-13 15 Dec 71 Three Men and a Witch on a Horse
- Endora casts a spell that sends Darrin to the horse races, with Endora hoping it will make him a better provider.
242. 8-14 29 Dec 71 Adam, Warlock or Washout?
- Adam's powers need to be tested, but not before he gets some coaching from his grandfather.
243. 8-15 5 Jan 72 Samantha's Magic Sitter
- Esmeralda's babysitting skills are a bit hit with the kids but not with Darren's client, whose son believes that he was entertained by witchcraft.
244. 8-16 15 Jan 72 Samantha is Earthbound
- Samantha is lighter than air after Dr. Bombay's attempt to cure a gravitational pull backfires.
245. 8-17 22 Jan 72 Serena's Richcraft
- Serena flirts with a wealthy client after losing her powers, wanting to prove that "richcraft" is as powerful as witchcraft.
246. 8-18 29 Jan 72 Samantha on Thin Ice
- Tabitha's invited to a skating party, but only if she can skate the mortal way. Endora, with other plans, decides to make her an olympic star.
247. 8-19 5 Feb 72 Serena's Youth Pill
- Serena gives Larry Tate a dose of vitamin V, which was supposed to make him a couple of years younger. Instead, it turns him into a child again.
248. 8-20 12 Feb 72 Tabitha's First Day at School
- Tabitha changes the class bully into a frog, then gets into trouble when she tries to reverse the spell.
249. 8-21 19 Feb 72 George Washington Zapped Here (1)
250. 8-22 26 Feb 72 George Washington Zapped Here (2)
- The former president has trouble adjusting when he's zapped to modern day.
251. 8-23 4 Mar 72 School Days, School Daze
- Tabitha is worried about being smart enough to skip the second grade. However, she exceeds her teacher's expectations with the help of Endora.
252. 8-24 11 Mar 72 A Good Turn Never Goes Unpunished
- Darrin suspects that Samantha's brilliant slogans for a mattress account are the result of witchcraft.
253. 8-25 18 Mar 72 Samantha's Witchcraft Blows a Fuse
-Samantha's face is covered with red strip, but Dr. Bombay's cure requires two very special ingredients.
254. 8-26 25 Mar 72 The Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Sam
- Series finale. A dinner party ends in disaster after Endora casts a spell on Samantha's unicorn pin that causes every mortal that comes near it to tell the truth.
VIDEO: This eighth 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 retrospective would have been nice.
Final Thoughts: Overall, while the season isn't quite the grand send-off the show deserved, there are some amusing moments here and fans who are looking to complete their collection should consider picking up the set on sale. The set provides fine audio/video quality, but it's too bad that the last season didn't provide at least a retrospective featurette.