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This review is from: Bewitched: Season 1 [DVD]   (DVD)
I firmly believe every home should have at least one series of Bewitched in the collection. No, make that four or five. This particular one is colourised so I always turn the colour down to zero before watching it. I have no idea why tv and film executives choose to add colour to old shows, because it never really works. Light and colour are too complicated to fake, so why do they even try? It's a process which makes everything look plastic and sterile, especially on the actors and actresses. It's a crime for which execs deserve to be publicly flogged by every man, woman and child around the world. And then shot. And then hung.
But aside from that minor gripe, I had never seen this series before. It has a style and endearing quality which I find impossible to dislike, and even the not-so-successful episodes pass me by with barely a ripple of annoyance. It's also a great slice of mid-60s middle class Americana (except for all the witchcraft).
There have been times over the years (since watching this as a kid in the holidays) when I wondered about the back-story to Bewitched, I mean how did Darren, a mortal with hair you could cook chips in, manage to land an über-babe wife like Samantha? How did they ever meet, where did she come from, what was she doing in the mortal world, why is he so hung up on her magical abilities, and what's the big problem with the mother-in-law of all mother-in-laws? And what does Samantha do all day?
Sadly these aren't really addressed. I would have liked to have seen a few episodes of tricky dating, and then meeting the respective families... and Darren gradually suspecting and then finding she's a witch, of course. According to a brief mention in an early episod, a couple of quick retro-scenes and the moment when she tells him she's a witch (after they're married), all we are shown is that they simply bumped into each other a couple of times, saw each other a couple more times and then got married without a word to either set of parents, relatives or friends. All the difficult moments of meeting the new families happen after they're married, which bearing in mind both leads are perfectly decent people and don't seem to be estranged from their families, struck me as a bit weak on the behalf of the writers. But overlooking that quibble (it only annoys me because I wondered as a child about it when the repeats of later episodes would start to grate) the series is good fun, easy viewing and Elizabeth Montgomery is stunning throughout.
Extras are limited to a few fairly harsh 'mistakes' someone has spotted, and with so many of the cast no longer with us I wasn't expecting any extras of note at all. And there aren't.
There is something 'right' about Bewitched in black and white, and I was surprised to find it so. I don't know why that should be, but it just looks more surreal, dreamlike and detached than later series. Without the colour, it's like a family-friendly version of The Twilight Zone.
Throughout all 30 episodes or however many there are here, the writing has moments of excellence and some very clever turns of phrase that wouldn't be out of place in any 'grown up' comedy, which was a surprise. And whoever thought of introducing a nosy neighbour across the road who is the only person who gets to see Samantha doing magic deserves a medal. I think she must be heading for a nervous breakdown by the middle of Series 2, I'll wait and see.
I'm not going to bother with Series 6 and beyond, because without Dick York as the much put upon, borderline neurotic Darren, it just won't feel right. I remember when Miss Ellie changed in Dallas for a season or two. That never sat properly. Or when Lucy Robinson changed in Neighbours after having visited France. I'm still too scared to go there. So for me Series 1-5 will do nicely and for the price Amazon are asking, it's great value for money!