When I was growing up, BEWITCHED was amongst the sitcoms that was syndicated on a daily basis and one that had me glued to the boob tube during my after school hours. Over the years, I continued to BEWITCHED because the show continues to be funny, and for some reason, the shows never seem to get stale, even though I seen every episode more times than I care to admit. Originally broadcast between 1964 and 1972, BEWITCHED was very much a sitcom of a transitional time in American culture, although the series always retained much of the innocence of the era in which it was conceived, and not the era upon which it ended its network run.
For the few of you who have never seen this classic sitcom, the basic premise of BEWITCHED follows on the comic marital misadventures of Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Darrin Stephens (Dick York)… whose lives are anything but ordinary. After getting married, Darrin discovers that his lovely bride Samantha is a witch, and not the variety to which many a man claims to be wed. Instead, Samantha is the genuine article… a magical, broomstick flying sorceress, who willingly gives up her otherworldly existence for the domestic bliss of suburbia with the mortal advertising man she loves. Darrin being a self made man, he is, of course, against any type of hocus pocus around the house. However, despite her trying to abstain from witchcraft, Samantha and Darrin’s lives continue to be replete with magic, as there is no escaping Samantha’s heritage nor her eccentric relatives- witches and warlocks all, who seem to like nothing better than magically messing with Darrin’s mortal existence.
The cast of BEWITCHED also features Agnes Moorehead as Samantha’s meddlesome mother Endora, who delights in tormenting Darrin every chance she gets, David White as Darrin’s boss Larry Tate, Kasey Rogers as Larry’s wife Louise, Sandra Gould as nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz, George Tobias as said nosy neighbor’s long suffering husband Abner, Marion Lorne as Samantha’s dotty old Aunt Clara and Erin Murphy as Samantha & Darrin’s daughter Tabitha.
BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following thirty-three episodes that were aired during year four: Long Live The Queen, Toys In Babeland, Business, Italian Style, Double, Double, Toil And Trouble, Cheap, Cheap, No Zip In My Zap, Birdies, Bogies, And Baxter, The Safe And Sane Halloween, Out Of Sync, Out Of Mind, That Was No Chick, That Was My Wife, Allergic To Macedonian Dodo Birds, Samantha's Thanksgiving To Remember, Solid Gold Mother-In-Law, My, What Big Ears You Have, I Get Your Nanny, You Get My Goat, Humbug Not To Be Spoken Here, Samantha's Da Vinci Dilemma, Once In A Vial, Snob In The Grass, If They Never Met, Hippie, Hippie, Hooray, A Prince Of A Guy, McTavish, How Green Was My Grass, To Twitch Or Not To Twitch, Playmates, Tabitha's Cranky Spell, I Confess, A Majority Of Two, Samantha's Secret Saucer, The No-Harm Charm, Man Of The Year and Splitsville.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The shows look great on DVD, besting syndicated rebroadcasts by a nice margin. Sharpness and detail are quite good- or at least everything one should expect from a sixties vintage sitcom that was shot on film. Colors are strongly rendered, which makes some of the flamboyant costumes look even better, plus the flesh tones are generally attractive. Blacks are accurately reproduced throughout the set and the whites are crisp. Contrast is a good, but the photography demonstrates the expected mildly flat appearance of a sitcom. Grain is noticeable in places, but isn’t excessive. The film elements are generally well preserved on this vintage sitcom.
All of the episodes that comprise BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON feature perfectly fine sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. As expected, most of the background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up during the mastering process, leaving the individual tracks with smooth sonic quality. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and easy to understand. Fidelity has some limitations, but that is to be expected from forty-year-old recordings. The music holds up well enough, without any brittleness. Portuguese and Spanish language tracks have been included on the DVDs, as have Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Animation and the unforgettable BEWITCHED theme music, serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features. Unfortunately, there are no supplements included with this set, other than some bonus trailers.
BEWITCHED is another delight from my misspent youth that is as much fun to watch today as it ever was. Sony’s DVD set offers the episode in fine looking and sounding presentations, which makes BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON a worthwhile addition to anyone’s personal classic sitcom library. Recommended.
reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.