Oh my stars… Mother’s turned you into another actor.
Those are pretty much the words one should have expected to come out of Elizabeth Montgomery’s mouth at the start of season six of BEWITCHED. After portraying the role of a mortal married to a witch for five seasons, actor Dick York was forced to relinquish the part due to a chronic back injury that made it impossible for him to continue working. Season six began without much fanfare, actor Dick Sargent was Darrin Stephens and life continued at 1164 Morning Glory Circle… in its typical oddball fashion. Sargent certainly brought a different dynamic to the role of Darrin; his performance lacked the manic energy of York, but it was laced with a more sarcastic edge that put him on more even ground- at least, in his verbal sparring with his magically power nemeses.
For the few of you who have never seen an episode of BEWITCHED, the basic premise of this classic sitcom follows on the comic marital misadventures of Samantha (Montgomery) and Darrin Stephens (Sargent)… 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, and Erin Murphy as Samantha & Darrin’s daughter Tabitha. Making guest appearances during season six are Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur, Bernard Fox as Dr. Bombay, Mabel Albertson as Phyllis Stephens and Maurice Evans as Samantha’s father Maurice. Look for character actor Dick Wilson showing up as a drunk, yet again.
BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following thirty episodes that were aired during that year: Samantha And The Beanstalk, Samantha's Yoo-Hoo Maid, Samantha's Caesar Salad, Samantha's Curious Cravings, ...And Something Makes Four, Naming Samantha's New Baby, To Trick Or Treat Or Not To Trick Or Treat, A Bunny For Tabitha, Samantha's Secret Spell, Daddy Comes For A Visit, Darrin The Warlock, Sam's Double Mother Trouble, You're So Agreeable, Santa Comes To Visit And Stays And Stays, Samantha's Better Halves, Samantha's Lost Weekend, The Phrase Is Familiar, Samantha's Secret Is Discovered, Tabitha's Very Own Samantha, Super Arthur, What Makes Darrin Run?, Serena Stops The Show, Just A Kid Again, The Generation Zap, Okay, Who's The Wise Witch?, A Chance On Love, If The Shoe Pinches, Mona Sammi, Turn On The Old Charm, Make Love, Not Hate. During season six, Samantha and Darrin welcome a new son named Adam to the family. Season six also introduced the insecure, magically inept character of Esmeralda (delightfully portrayed by Alice Ghostley) who takes on light housekeeping and babysitting duties in the Stephens’ household.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Like the previous sets, the visual quality of the episodes is really quite good, with the image always surpassing that of syndicated rebroadcasts. There are good levels of sharpness and picture detail throughout. There is some softness, and some of the special effect work is cheesy, but for the most part, everything looks fine. Colors pop very nicely and appear surprisingly fresh. Blacks are accurate, as are the whites. Contrast is just fine for a television series that is forty years old. The film elements used for the transfers show minimal signs of age. Film grain is very mild. Digital compression artifacts remain under the radar.
All of the episodes that comprise BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON feature good sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible defects have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the tracks with a smooth sonic quality. Fidelity is adequate, although the music is occasionally a bit shallow. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. Spanish, Portuguese and French 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 directly related to BEWITCHED included with this set. However, Minisodes for THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY and I DREAM OF JEANNIE, plus some bonus trailers are featured.
I have been a BEWITCHED fan since childhood and the series remains fun all these decades later. Sony’s DVD set offers up fine looking and sounding presentations. BEWITCHED: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON is something longtime fans will want to have. Recommended.
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