Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Book That Wraps Up Bewitched The Right Way


“Does how a television show ends have any impact on its legacy?”

That was the first line of the first Comfort TV blog entry, dated May 22, 2012. Ah, memories.

I still think it’s an interesting question. A few shows from the Comfort TV era were able to depart on a proper grace note – The Fugitive, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Others, like Hogan’s Heroes, disappeared with unfinished business. 



Bewitched didn’t so much end as it just fizzled out. Its eighth and final season was awash in barely rewritten scripts from earlier (and better) episodes. The last show, #254(!) in the run, was “The Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Sam,” a tired remake of “Speak the Truth” from season two. 



It’s debatable as to whether Bewitched had anything left to say, since there was never much forward motion to the show outside of the two additions to the Stephens family. Darrin still had the same job, Endora still didn’t like him, and Samantha’s powers were still a secret from the mortals of Morning Glory Circle.

But one fan wasn’t satisfied.

Adam-Michael James had already demonstrated his encyclopedic knowledge of the series in The Bewitched Continuum, a 600+ page episode guide, and now he’s published a second book that serves not only as a more fitting final bow, but also a greatest hits medley of everything that viewers loved about the series.

Now available on amazon, “I, Samantha, Take This Mortal, Darrin” is a two-part series finale told over 200 pages. 



Fan fiction? No, that’s an inappropriate designation. I never cared much for that stuff. Most fanfic deals in scenarios that would never actually happen on a series (“What if the TARDIS materialized on the Starship Enterprise?”) or it explores in explicit detail relationships between characters that put a very different spin on wholesome entertainment.

James’ book is elevated into a higher class of writing by successfully capturing what made the show successful, and by portraying its characters consistently with how they acted on the series. You can hear his dialogue in their voices.

And, like the series itself, the book explores larger societal issues, and even mixes in a few dramatic moments that add depth and nuance to its world – such as Tabitha’s reaction to Darrin’s worries over what she’d be like when she was born. 



Fans will know which episode inspired that conversation. Indeed, one of the book’s greatest delights is how almost every page contains a reference to an episode that viewers will recall. An index at the end of the book cites every episode reference, for those who want to revisit particular shows.

So if you’ve ever wondered how young Michael’s life was altered by Samantha taking him to meet Santa Claus, or why Endora put so many embarrassing spells on Darrin, or whatever happened to Danger O’Reilly, “I Samantha, Take This Mortal, Darrin” offers answers that are sure to satisfy any series fan.  



2 comments:

  1. Mr. Hofstede, did you see the 2005 "Bewitched" feature film that had Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell? If so, how did you like it?

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    1. I did - I appreciated that they tried to do something different than a straight-up remake, even if it wasn't always successful. Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur were wonderful.

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