Bewitched - The Complete First Season was an interesting experience for me for a few reasons. Mainly, I think it has to do with how much more educated I am about TV then I was when this show first aired. Having had the benefit of TV LAND ringing in my ears for the last 10 months, I have become well versed in this show courtesy of the Top 10 shows that TV LAND likes to broadcast (I had never really watched Bewitched until I was asked to screen this 4 disk DVD set). How these shows work is they have a countdown of the top 10 people in TV history who have been known for doing something or other on a TV show. Needless to say, after watching Bewitched - The Complete First Season, I can completely see why so many of the characters from this show have made it on these lists. From the ethereal beauty that Elizabeth Montgomery projects as Samantha, to Dick York’s earnest “dogooderness” as Samantha’s husband Darrin, to Agnes Morehead’s Monster-In-Law portrayal of Endora and Alice Pierce’s piercing performance as the neighbor from hell Gladys Kravitz. There other characters I could list here but I think my point is well made.
The reason why Bewitched - The Complete First Season works so well is because aside from being a witch, Samantha and Darrin really are normal. Yet, they have enough quirks to blend in perfectly with the rest of the superb ensemble cast. Sure, Samantha may be a witch but she seems like a pretty typical housewife. Darrin is seen as the ideal husband and when you add in the other members of the cast, they more then make up for the “squareness” of the two leading characters. Overall, I really enjoyed Bewitched - The Complete First Season. I found it to be genuinely entertaining and quite ahead of it’s time. Through the idea of Samantha being a witch and Darrin being an average white male, I feel that this show was able to examine certain social issues of the time without overtly seeming like it was doing so.
The Magic Unveiled and Magic and Mishaps Featurettes
These pieces were quite revealing. I think the most interesting tidbit I got from these featurettes was that Darrin and Samantha were the first TV couple to sleep in the same bed!! Now, I know that by today’s standards this must seem pretty tame, but I am sure that that back in 1964 this must have caused quite a scandal. Add to this the element of witchcraft and I think one has to wonder if the current TV audience might be more offended by that then they are by other things about this show. I think that these two extras offer a great look at this film, while not going too overboard. Also, with 4 disks full of all 36 episodes I think that there is more then enough content to satisfy consumers.
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio. I would have liked to watch these episodes in black and white, simply because I love the way shows from that time look, but at the same time I think there is a solidness to the colors that adds a little something extra. Why people have a hard time watching a show if it is in black and white is beyond me, but if coloring something makes it more palatable to more people then why not give it a go? I was also quite impressed with how solidly the colors held up episode after episode. I know that these shows are handled by professionals so that everything will always look top notch, but the overall coloring process must be quite tedious and time consuming. There is also something very “clean” about shows from the 1960s. A lot of people bemoan the fact that they are almost too perfect, but I think that a show like Bewitched - The Complete First Season revels in the fact that the dirtiness comes across within the material. Whereas today’s shows look a tad too real, it is a show like Bewitched that used the subtext to create an environment of subversion while everything on the outside looks perfect.
English - Dolby Digital 2.0. All the episodes sounded really good to me. Even watching these shows on my one speaker television set, I had no problems hearing anything the characters were saying. I even had the sound levels on my TV set down pretty low and I didn’t have to adjust them. I didn’t even have to mess with the sound levels for the extras, which was really surprising simply because they were recorded at two extremely different times. I love the music for the opening sequence. It lets you know right away that the show you are watching is going to be fun. Yeah, there are going to be some “heavy” issues to look at, but those issues are mainly there when you look for them. For people that just want to pop some disks inside the DVD player, turn on the TV and tune out, this 4 disk set more then affords you the luxury of being able to do that. For others that want to watch this show and see certain things between the lines, character relationships, deeper contexts, etc..., then that is there for them as well. It is rare to find a TV show that does such a good job at juggling so many different themes so close to the surface.
With a blue and soft white motif as a background, we get the three main characters from the show emblazoned on the cover. The picture of Elizabeth Montgomery is so vivacious and so winning, that it isn’t surprising that this show is as popular as it was. The back cover features some information about the show, an extras listing and some tech specs. Inside are the 4 disks that make up this DVD boxset. There are also more pictures scattered inside the layout. Basically, this is a pretty solidly well done box set. With economical packaging it won’t take up much space in your DVD collection, but at the same time should encourage new and old fans to purchase this indelible piece of pop culture.
Bewitched - The Complete First Season is something that should make fans of TV on DVD very happy. I am sure that there are legions of people out there who have been “chomping at the bit”, as they wait for these show to be available in the digital video disk format. I am sure that there are going to be some complaints as I know that they will want the extras to be more in-depth. As someone who was new to this show, but certainly not a diehard fan, I found everything about this DVD set to be well done. As I stated above, I feel that there is just the right amount of material to make the fans and the uninitiated happy. In the end, these disks strike a very happy medium much like the show itself.
Bewitched was released .