Heard about the surprising announcement from France-based GO-N Productions this morning? They plan on resurrecting something that hasn’t been seen since the early 70’s….new adventures for Darrin and Samantha Stephens?
Bewitched is one of the most influential TV programs of all time. It popularized the notion of a pretty witch, which replaced the old green warty kind in pop culture from that point forth. It inspired thousands of young couples to name their kid “Samantha,” which wasn’t in use before the show aired and is now commonplace to this day. When the series was exported to Japan, it inspired the entire Magical Girl genre — Sailor Moon owes her very existence to Samantha Stephens. And it’s one of the few Golden Age TV shows to stand the test of time — Bewitched reruns still command an audience today.
But when you think about the premise, are kids today demanding 11-minute shorts about a mortal man having to deal with the sabotaging schemes of his magical mother-in-law? Will some of the more dated and sexist aspects of the show have to be changed? (Probably.) Will the plots remain “grounded” or will they take advantage of animation to do things the Hollywood sets couldn’t recreate? (Samantha only flew in the intro.)
Perhaps the most baffling question about this is why it wasn’t already done back in the 70’s. It used to be more common for prime-time live-action TV shows to be repurposed as cartoons. Bewitched’s cousin I Dream Of Jeannie became a cartoon in 1973, simply called Jeannie and starring a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill as the voice of the teenager who found her (yup, he was a voice actor BEFORE he appeared in movies). The Oddball Couple appeared right after The Odd Couple was cancelled and recast the characters as animals. Gilligan’s Island got two cartoon adaptions, one set in space.
But Bewitched never joined that crowd, and now, so many decades later, it’s about to. GO-N Productions is working with Toronto-based 9 Story Media Group to get the project off the ground. According to them, each 22-minute episode will contain 11-minute shorts targeted at kids 6-11 but with layered humor aimed at their parents. A home for the series hasn’t been determined yet (our money’s on streaming).