Retro Recommendations: Bewitched

Welcome to a long awaited installment of Retro Recommendations! Today we will focus on an ABC sitcom that ran for eight seasons and 254 episodes. This show was the longest running supernatural themed sitcoms of the 1960s-1970s. If you don't know what we are talking about exactly, we'll say the name of the show, as it is in the title - Bewitched.

Bewitched starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens, a beautiful witch married to a mortal named Darrin Stephens. Samantha's husband was originally played by Dick York from 1964 to 1969, and then the role was recasted by Dick Sargent for the remainder of the series. Samantha's meddling mother, Endora, was played by Agnes Moorehead.

Episodes would often begin with Darrin in a spell, and its effects throughout the episodes would wreak havoc on mortals, especially with the neighbors, the workplace, and everything in between. By the end of the episode, despite Samantha's family's attempts to separate them, her and Darrin always embrace. To perform a spell, Samantha would often twitch her nose. Special effects are accompanied by music to highlight many spell-tastic actions.

In its first season, Bewitched was the number one sitcom on television, and the number two show after Bonanza. It aired at 9pm after My Three Sons and was followed by Peyton's Place. The block happened to be the highest rated blocks in the ABC schedule that year. The first two seasons aired at 9pm on Thursday, but was switched to 8:30pm afterwards. Fast forward to many creative changes later, Bewitched remained highly rated as one of the top 15 shows.

York's severe back condition worsened, starting with the third season, where multiple shooting delays were occurring. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred during the fifth season when York collapsed during filming of the episode "Daddy Does His Thing". Soon after, York departed the series. Beginning in season six, Dick Sargent took over the role and ratings significantly declined from 11th to 24th place. The Salem Saga, shot on location in Salem, Magnolia, and Gloucester in Massachusetts, helped the show's dwindling ratings, but ratings slipped again after scripts from old episodes were recycled frequently and in the seventh season the show was out of the top 30. Season 8 had many time slot changes from Wednesday at 8pm in the beginning of the season to Saturday nights at 8pm where the show's ratings dwindled to an 11.4 in the household numbers, finishing in 72nd place, sealing its eventual fate at cancelation.

Nevertheless, Bewitched had a great run of episodes. In syndication, it currently airs on Antenna TV.

That does it for today's Retro Recommendation. We'll have more shows to recommend as time goes on.

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