STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MSRP: $39.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 759 Minutes

The Pitch

Magical noses continue to be "In".

The Humans

Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes Moorehead

The Nutshell

Exceptionally gifted nose twitcher, Samantha Stephens (Montgomery), is a witch, living in a humdrum neighborhood on Morning Glory Circle.  Her husband Darrin (York) is always getting caught up in the middle of her magical hijinks, and their young daughter Tabitha has to cope with being the only magical kid in nursery school.  If monkeys, shoddy effects, and twitching noses are your bag, then this was tailor-made for you.

The Lowdown

Dick York is a walking cartoon.  And not in a good way.  Not in a David Hyde Pierce sort of way.  York hams it up from the beginning to the end of every scene he’s in, and from the beginning to the end of every episode.  One could make the argument that his character needs to be as showy and visually different as virtually every other character in the show.  He can’t make things disappear, appear in two places at once, or turn people into monkeys.  One could also make the argument that a guy whose entire family are a bunch of witches and wizards would not really be all that normal.  But I would think that a guy who acts completely normal around all this odd stuff would make for a more compelling character.


Not that the show is all that interested in keeping Darrin’s character consistent.  There are several episodes where Samantha’s mother, Endora, decides she doesn’t like Darrin’s personality and uses a bit of the ole’ family magic to change it for the rest of the episode.  Depending on the needs of the running gag of the episode, dictates the particular personality problem.  Sometimes he’s too rude and he’s magically made into a gentleman for the episode.  Sometimes he’s too meek and he’s made self-absorbed for the episode.  

A lost scene from the "Adventures in Cooking" episode.

It’s tough to blame the writers, since they’re in the fifth season and it’s not the type of show that people watch to explore the layered, textured, nuance of each character.

The other offender of the show is Agnes Morehead as Samantha’s mother, Endora.  She’s annoying as hell and usually only shows up (thankfully) to be the catalyst of the episode.  Also, she is an affront to eyesight.  Samantha makes a comment in the first episode of the season.  "You make the wicked witch of the east look like Shirley Temple."  She couldn’t be more right.

Elizabeth Montgomery is the show’s saving grace as Samantha Stephens.  She’s a good-looking woman and is consistently the only character in most episodes to have any sense of normalcy.  I realize that’s probably the whole point, but it’s very much appreciated when the rest of the cast is gratingly over the top.  

The show is all about the "novelty" of camera tricks and animal guest stars.  There are at least five episodes that focus on people turning into chimps.  Just imagine the hilarity that ensues!  

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the gayest Paul Hogan of them all?"

People and objects disappear and reappear with alarming regularity, always complete with a slight jump of the frame.  It’s the type of effect that might be charming in an episode of Buck Rogers, but not so much here.  Surprisingly, the effects that the show gets right, more often then not, are the more complicated ones.  Namely, whenever Samantha’s twin sister Serena shows up.  They do the old split screen effect, with Elizabeth Montgomery playing each character on both sides.  More often then not, it works fairly well.

It’s a campy show with a memorable theme song, but unless you’ve got a crush on Elizabeth Montgomery…like the one I seem to have developed…you don’t need to rush out and purchase this.

Agnes Moorehead’s magical power?  The ability to ruin anything.

The Package

Four discs in two slip cases, with a brief description for each episode.  The picture and sound quality is about as good as you’d expect it to be: nothing remarkable, but probably better then what you’d get during a rerun on cable.  You want special features?  Forget about it.  They won’t appear even if you wiggle your nose.

5.5 out of 10