Sony // 1971 // 677 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // July 14th, 2009
Oh, my stars!
Bewitched held true to its original charms throughout the eight years it ran on the air. The setup was always the same -- magical witch Samantha's (Elizabeth Montgomery, Johnny Cool) spells would accidentally wreak havoc on her home life, and inside thirty minutes all would be fixed with a couple of nose twitches and a peck on the lips from her husband Darrin (played in these later seasons by Dick Sargent, Operation Petticoat). Despite being formulaic, the supernatural sitcom remains a favorite in reruns and now on DVD. Finally we have the whole epic tale of Samantha, her hubby, and all her wacky relatives complete for the home format.
This set from Sony breaks things down on four DVDs housed two a piece in slim line cases.
* "How Not to Lose Your Head to Henry VIII: Part 1"
* "How Not to Lose Your Head to Henry VIII: Part 2"
* "Samantha and the Loch Ness Monster"
* "Samantha's Not So Leaning Tower of Pisa"
* "Bewitched, Bothered and Baldoni"
* "Paris, Witches Style"
* "The Ghost Who Made a Spectre of Himself"
* "TV or Not TV
* "A Plague on Maurice and Samantha"
* "Hansel and Gretel in Samanthaland"
* "The Warlock in the Gray Flannel Suit"
* "The Eight Year Itch Witch"
* "Three Men and a Witch on a Horse"
* "Adam, Warlock or Washout"
* "Samantha's Magic Sitter"
* "Samantha Is Earthbound"
* "Serena's Richcraft"
* "Samantha on Thin Ice"
* "Serena's Youth Pill"
* "Tabitha's First Day at School"
* "George Washington Zapped Here: Part 1"
* "George Washington Zapped Here: Part 2"
* "School Days, School Daze"
* "A Good Turn Never Goes Unpunished"
* "Sam's Witchcraft Blows a Fuse"
* "The Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me, Sam"
The final season of Bewitched was never intended to be the swan song for the series. It only became the last hurrah when Elizabeth Montgomery decided the show had lost its steam, and she voted against bringing it back out of hiatus for a ninth year. The television program accumulated two hundred fifty-four episodes, and was one of the longest running half hour comedies at the time. But sadly Bewitched had peaked in the ratings during its first year, and by these episodes from 1971-2 was ranked #72 according to network Nielson surveys. Still, the 26 episodes from the last year included some fan favorites such as Sam's interaction with Henry VIII and George Washington.
Bewitched in later years fell victim to the endless pattern, and we didn't get to see the same struggles the early years provided. What made the show work in the primary seasons was the idea Darrin and Samantha were going through their marriage with the added pressure of her witch powers and family. Darrin often struggled and even feared for his life. Yet, in these last few seasons, he simply accepts all the supernatural shenanigans, and drolly lets things roll on. When Darrin came to terms with Samantha and his in-laws constantly popping in and out of his life, the show lost some of the dramatic tension. It was still trippy, good-natured fun, but some of the sophisticated scenarios were out the door and replaced with more kid-friendly slapstick. We still have Endora (Agnes Moorehead, Citizen Kane), Serena (Montgomery in a black wig), and Esmerelda (Alice Ghostley, Designing Women) to entertain us. Unfortunately there is no Mr. or Mrs. Kravitz, Uncle Arthur, or Aunt Clara in this last year.
I love having this last year finally on the shelves, but Sony holds true to form and provides no extras for these later seasons. It seems a wasted opportunity to have this beloved series on DVD without much more than the episodes intact for these "late in game" runs. They do include Elizabeth Montgomery's invitation to watch the show before each show, but that is the same five second promo before each half hour. It gets tedious, and it adds very little. Is it too much to have someone discuss the production? How about some behind the scenes footage? Oh my stars, but this is so bare bones. The transfers are clear enough, but they look decidedly old school. Simply put, this is a television show from the early '70s and looks like you would expect that to. Plaids and patterns shimmer and pixelate quite a bit, but colors are stable and crisp enough. The sound mix is a clear mono, and it is also true to the source material without any embellishment. We get the finale of the series, but we're offered no magic to help it along.
Bewitched: The Complete Eighth Season provides us with the final season in the delightful sitcom's run. It's as much fun as you remember, although the show itself was running on sheer goodwill after over two hundred episodes and numerous cast changes. The DVD set from Sony is bare bones, but at least we now have the complete half hours with promos all intact for our collections.
Guilty of being bewitching, Elizabeth Montgomery's legacy is intact and complete.
Review content copyright © 2009 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 677 Minutes
Release Year: 1971
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Fan Site