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Bewitched: The Complete Third Season
Look, I'm getting really sick and tired of this whole "colorization" thing! Why take a perfectly lovely B&W show and then ruin it with splashes and splotches of ... limp-looking... what's that?
You say that beginning with episode one of Bewitched's third season, the series graduated from black & white to a color broadcast? So this isn't a case of colorization at all, and I should quit my complaining and be grateful that the S1/S2 DVDs were offered in B&W in the first place?
OK, fair enough. Now on with the Bewitched series review that you've already read twice before.
I have a lot of fond Bewitched memories from my long-ago childhood days of watching TV in huge, 4-hour blocks. Like just about every male person of my approximate age, I fostered a deep crush for Ms. Elizabeth Montgomery, and I had a ball with all the nifty little tricks that she could do as a domestic housewife witch-woman. So when I sat down to dig through Sony's DVD collections of Bewitched, I found myself a little bit psyched – and a little bit worried.
Keep in mind that, in addition to Bewitched, I also grow up in love with sitcoms like Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Green Acres, and The Brady Bunch -- programs I now consider somewhat painful to watch. I was worried that seeing Bewitched through my now-(somewhat)-grown-up eyeballs would take a little luster off of the series, and that my now-inescapable cynicism would have me reaching for the STOP button within half an hour.
I needn't have worried, because Bewitched is as charming, amusing, and quaintly adorable as it's ever been. Oh sure, you'll find a lot of outdated "wifey belongs in the kitchen" material scattered amidst the chuckles, but hey, society was just a little bit stupider in the mid-60's. Putting aside the antiquated, yet never overtly off-putting, sexual politics aside, Bewitched is basically as sweet as an old sitcom gets.
Plus Elizabeth Montgomery, now forever immortalized on DVD, is just as beautiful as I remembered.
The plot is precisely as you remember, and if you're a newcomer to Bewitched, then the plot is simplicity itself: Darrin Stephens is a hot-shot advertising exec and newlywed husband to Samantha. And Samantha is, of course, a witch. A pretty, young blonde witch who promises her new husband that she'll absolutely try to curtail her nifty witchcraft practices – a promise that, of course, manages to get broken in each and every episode.
There's a colorful menagerie of supporting characters that continue to pop up throughout the third season's festivities: nosy next-door neighbor Gladys Kravitz and her long-suffering husband Abner, Darrin's likable boss, Larry Tate, Samantha's goofy old Aunt Clara, nutty Uncle Arthur … and then there's mother-in-law Endora. A true royal witch if ever there was one, Endora is constantly at odds with her daughter's befuddled husband and perpetually causing some sort of static in the Stephens household. (Agnes Moorehead is quite simply hilarious as Endora, stealing almost every episode she appears in.)
One might suspect that a TV series beholden to one relatively clever gimmick – Samantha's witchery and the silly old tricks she's always playing – would lean on that gimmick to a desperate degree. But this is where Bewitched transcends simple silliness. You'll find as much wit and good cheer from the simple dialogue and acting performances than you will from the antiquated-yet-still-effective special effects showcases. Bewitched is a warm and witty series, and one that holds just as many giggles today as it did during its 1964 debut. The witch-tricks might have been enough to entertain me as a 7-year-old, but it's the good humor of the material, and the effortlessly charming performances by Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York, that I found most entertaining as a crusty ol' 30+-year-old.
But that's not to say that Bewitched is nothing but tasty fluff. Believe it or not, this is a series that actually blazed a few trails in its day: Darrin & Samantha were among the first TV spouses to share a single bed, Endora and her estranged husband were clearly divorced (or at least separated), the idea of Sam & Darrin being a "mixed" couple raised its head a few times, and there's one Halloween episode that displays a lot of insight into the way in which those who are "different" are often categorized in horribly stereotypical ways. (Anyone out there think that Samantha Stephens looks like your typical wart-nosed, hunch-backed, cauldron crone? Didn't think so.)
Chugging along quite smoothly during its third (all-color!) season, Bewitched still offers some sweet, wholesome fun that (oddly enough) still holds up pretty well today. (Well, at least better than most of the 1970s sitcoms, anyway.) Those who rushed out to the store to purchase the first two season sets should have no problem doling out another 25 smackers on the third edition. The show began to decline just a bit in subsequent seasons, but never too outrageously.
Bewitched - The Complete Third Season includes the follwing 33 episodes on four discs:
- Nobody's Perfect - Tabitha revelas her magic powers, which delights Endora but worries Samantha as she must figure out a way to break the news to Darrin. (Original airdate: 09/15/66)
- The Moment of Truth – Following a floating toy pony to Tabitha's crib, Darrin finally learns his daughter is a witch. (09/22/66)
- Witches and Warlocks Are My Favorite Things – Endora and her sisters Hagatha & Enchantra test Tabitha's powers and insist the child be educated at Hagatha's school for withces. (09/29/66)
- Accidental Twins – While trying to entertain Timothy Tate, Aunt Clara accidentally turns him into twins, a spell she can't remember how to undo. (10/06/66)
- A Most Unusual Wood Nymph – Samantha travels to the 14th century to lift a 600-year-old curse placed upon Darrin the Bold and his descendants. (10/13/66)
- Endora Moves In For a Spell– Samantha tries to put an end to a puarrel between Endora and her brother, Uncle Arthur. (10/20/66)
- Twitch or Treat – When Endora decides to hold her gala Halloween party at the Stephens' house, chaos ensues. (10/27/66)
- Dangerous Diaper Dan – Diaper Dan, a secret employee of the AJ Kimberly Advertising Agency, bugs Tabitha's rattle so he can steal Darrin's ideas. (11/03/66)
- The Short Happy Circuit of Aunt Clara - Believing one of her magic spells has inadvertently blackened out the entire Eastern Seaboard, Aunt Clara asks Ocky the Warlock to help turn them back on. (11/10/66)
- I'd Rather Twitch Than Fight – When Samantha decides to see a psychiatrist, Endora insists she should have the best and conjured up Dr. Sigmund Freud. (11/17/66)
- Oedipus Hex – Endora hexes a bowl of popcorn with a goof-off spell that ensnares Darrin, Larry, the milkman, a policeman and Samantha's entire fundraising committee. (11/24/66)
- Sam's Spooky Chair – Samantha buys an antique chair, unaware it's really Clyde Farnsworth, a lovesick warlock who's obsessed with her. (12/01/66)
- My Friend Ben – When Aunt Clara summons Benjamin Franklin to help Samantha repair an electric lamp, he decides to tour the city alone and ends up under arrest. (12/08/66)
- Samantha for the Defense– TAccused of stealing a fire engine, Benjamin Franklin is put on trial, but is acquitted when Samantha pleads his case. (12/15/66)
- A Gazebo Never Forgets – Aunt Clara decides to indulge Tabitha's demand for a toy elephant, but produces a live, polka-dotted baby pachyderm instead. (12/22/66)
- Soapbox Derby – Samantha helps 12-year-old Johnny Mills reach the Soap Box Derby finals so he can win a college scholarship. (12/29/66)
- Sam in the Moon – Returning from a Tokyo tea-buying spree, Samantha tells Darrin she really went to the moon, a fanciful tale he readily believes. (01/05/67)
- HoHo the Clown – When Endora hexes TV host HoHo the Clown into giving all his prizes to Tabitha, the sponsor cancels the show and Darrin is fired. (01/12/67)
- Super Car – Endora conjures up a futuristic car prototype from Detroit and gives it to Darrin as a gift. (01/19/67)
- The Corn is As High as a Guernsey's Eye – Misinformed that Aunt Clara transformed herself into a dairy cow, Samantha transports the guernsey to her living room in hopes of changing her back. (01/26/67)
- Trial and Error of Aunt Clara– When Aunt Clara goes on trial to determine if she should be banished from the witches' community, she asks Samantha to defend her. (02/02/67)
- Three Wishes – Hoping to trap him with "another woman," Endora grants Darrin three wishes and nearly wrecks her daughter's marriage. (02/09/67)
- I Remember You ... Sometimes – Endora casts a spell on Darrin's watch, so whenever he wears it, he becomes an insufferable know-it-all. (02/16/67)
- Art for Sam's Sake – Unimpressed with Samantha's entry in a charity art exhibit, Endora changes the painting into a Monet. (02/23/67)
- Charlie Harper, Winner – Tired of seeing Darrin upstaged by his college rival, Charlie Harper, Samantha resorts to witchcraft to help build him up. (03/02/67)
- Aunt Clara's Victoria Victory – Fondly recalling her days as lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, Aunt Clara inadvertently causes the monarch to appear in Samantha's living room, complete with throne. (03/09/67)
- The Crone of Cawdor – Darrin wines and dines a pretty, prospective client, unaware she's really the Crone of Cawdor, a ragged old hag whose kiss will age him 500 years. (03/16/67)
- No More Mr. Nice Guy – Annoyed that everyone finds Darrin so likable, Endora turns him into the most hated man in town. (03/23/67)
- It's Wishcraft – Now that Tabitha can levitate her toys, Darrin is worried his visiting parents will discover their granddaughter is a witch. (03/30/67)
- How to Fail in Business With All Kinds of Help – Darrin nearly loses an important account when he orders a client out of his office, erroneously beliving she's Endora in disguise. (04/06/67)
- Bewitched, Bothered and Infuriated – When Aunt Clara conjures up the next day's paper, a report that Larry broke his leg convinces Darrin and Samantha to do everything they can to prevent the accident. (04/13/67)
- Nobody But a Frog Knows How to Live – Fergus F. Finglehoff threatens to expose Samantha as a witch, unless she finds a way to turn him back into a frog. (04/27/67)
- There's Gold in Them Thar Pills – Darrin and Larry see dollar signs when Endora conjures up Doctor Bombay, a witch's physician whose pills can cure the common cold. (05/04/67)
Video: The episodes are presented in their original full-frame (and color!) splendor, with picture quality a lot more impressive than what you find on Nick at Night or TV Land.
Audio: Dolby Digital 1.0 no-frills, in your choice of English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Subtitles are available in the same languages.
Not a one.
By its third season, Bewitched was getting just a bit sillier, what will at the transformations and time-travelings, but things weren't too desperate just yet. (Wait for seasons 6 and 7!) So while the Stephens' honeymoon was definitely over, they were still just getting settled ... and tickling quite a few TV viewers on a weekly basis. Fun, kitschy stuff I call it.