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Bewitched - The Complete First Season (Black and White) Bewitched - The Complete First Season (Color)


TITLE: BEWITCHED - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (BLACK AND WHITE)

TITLE: BEWITCHED - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (COLOR)


Info:

DVD Release Date: June 21, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
B&W/Color
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 36
Running Time: 917 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 25 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Both sets Closed-Captioned; Colorized set includes Spanish and Portuguese languages as well as Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Thai subtitles.
Special Features: "The Magic Unveiled" Featurette (interviews); "Magic and Mishaps" (technical errors from the show); Full-length trailer from the 2005 film version of Bewitched


Introduction:

Much to the delight of the many fans out there, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has taken the initiative to release the Complete First Season of Bewitched. And to sweeten the pot, they have given consumers a choice--original black and white copies of the episodes or color versions of the episodes. In the first season of Bewitched, we get to see Samantha and Darrin get married and we get to meet most of the main characters from the show. Although the show was always wacky and bizarre with its characters and situations, the first season is probably one of the least bizarre, and has a greater focus upon the relationship between the newlyweds, Samantha and Darrin.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The first season of Bewitched begins with "I, Darrin, Take this Witch, Samantha," the episode that starts it all. In this episode, we find Samantha and Darrin on their honeymoon, only for Darrin to discover that--SURPRISE!--his wife is a witch! She promises to stop using witchcraft, but how long will that last? We get to meet the snooping neighbor Gladys Kravitz in "Be It Ever So Mortgaged," the episode where Darrin and Samantha move to their home where they live for the next eight seasons on Morning Glory Circle. June Lockhart, as well as Jimmy Mathers (brother of Jerry Mathers) makes a special appearance in "Little Pitchers Have Big Fears," an episode where Samantha uses her powers to give a 10-year-old boy a confidence boost. Maurice Evans makes his first appearance as Samantha's father in "Just One Happy Family," where he is appalled to learn that his daughter has married a mortal. We learn that Louise and Larry Tate are expecting an addition to the family in "...And Something Makes Three," an episode in which Maureen McCormick makes an appearance. Darrin tries to keep a friend named Kermit (played by Adam West) from marrying a woman that he believes is a witch in "Love is Blind." Bill Daily and Bill Mumy make an appearance as Samantha takes Darrin and an orphan that doesn't believe in Santa on a trip to the North Pole in "A Vision of Sugar Plums." Samantha gives Darrin magical powers after he breaks his ankle and quickly regrets it in "A is for Aardvark." Vic Tayback makes a cameo appearance in "Red Light, Green Light." Samantha refuses to use her witchcraft to open the garage door after she and Darrin get stuck inside because of a wiring mistake in "Open the Door, Witchcraft." When Mrs. Kravitz catches Samantha using witchcraft to straighten a picture, Samantha makes Mrs. Kravitz believe that she has ESP—and makes life miserable for Abner--in "Abner Kadabra." Samantha and Endora use witchcraft to advertise a failing Italian restaurant, and potentially cause Darrin to lose an account with a pizza restaurant, in "Eat at Mario's."


Packaging:

The packaging for this set is very clean, adequate, and compact; Sony has taken the slim case design and made the set as compact as possible. In fact, this set is no larger than an Amaray case, yet it is still able to include four discs in a convenient fashion. What this set does is uses slim cases that can hold two discs each. One disc is contained on one side of the case n the other disc is on the other side--there is no overlapping at all. On the front of each slim case, there are pictures of Samantha, Endora, and Darrin (slightly different than the pictures on the cover of the box). On the back of each case, there is a listing of all of the episodes on the discs contained inside as well as a brief description of those episodes. The only complaint I have about the cases themselves is the fact that they do not seem to really lock the discs in place. Almost every time that I opened up a case, at least one disc would fall out of the holder. If you aren't too careful with the discs, this is an easy way to scratch the disc. The outside box is nothing out of the ordinary. It is basically just a blue box that contains pictures of Samantha, Endora, and Darrin on the front, and talks about the show on the back of the box.

The art contained on the discs is simple, with the city skyline in the background and pictures of different characters on each disc. Disc 1 has a picture of Samantha, Disc 2 has a picture of Darrin, and Disc 4 has a picture of Endora. That only leaves Disc 3, which has a picture of Paul Lynde--something that I found to be very strange. Most Bewitched fans remember Paul Lynde in his role as Uncle Arthur in the series, but Uncle Arthur never even appeared in the first season! Paul Lynde did make an appearance in the episode "Driving is the Only Way to Fly," but that minor role hardly justifies putting his picture on the disc art. Even if this set DID include episodes with Uncle Arthur, he was never a major character by any means, and it would have been much more appropriate to include Larry Tate or Mrs. Kravitz. Disc 1 contain episodes 1-9, Disc 2 contains episodes 10-18, Disc 3 contains episodes 19-27, and Disc 4 contains episodes 28-36.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are pretty simple, but this set also shows that a simple menu can also be creative. Once you insert the DVD and get past the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment logo, a Bewitched logo comes up, and we quickly see an animated Samantha twitching her nose. What happens next is SLIGHTLY different on each disc, but soon afterwards, an animated Samantha and Darrin show up in the kitchen, where Samantha is holding a frying pan that has the options inside the smoke. In the colorized set, the options that come up are Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, and Languages (only on the "In Color" set). Additionally, Disc 1 contains "The Magic Unveiled: Part 1," Disc 2 contains "The Magic Unveiled: Part 2," Disc 3 contains "Magic and Mishaps," and Disc 4 contains a Previews option. The Episode Selections option takes you to a simple menu where you can choose the episode you want to see (pictures from the episodes are shown in what appears to be picture frames on a wall). Languages (which is available only on the "In Color" set) allows you to select what Audio and Subtitles you want.


Video and Audio Quality:

Since there are two different sets, the video and audio quality isn't precisely the same on both sets. Both sets are closed-captioned, and every episode runs approximately 25 minutes and 30 seconds. There are chapters inserted at all of the appropriate places The following subsections get into the specifics of the audio and video on each set.

Video and Audio Quality (Original Black and White):

The first two seasons of Bewitched were filmed in black and white. The episodes were remastered in high definition for this set. Overall, they look very good and I was pleased with the video quality. There is some grain on the picture, which is probably more evident in the black and white versions. There are 9 episodes on each disc, so I feel they could have spread them out a bit more. There were no major compression issues even with that many episodes per disc. All episodes appear to be unedited with running times over 25 minutes. The audio track is pretty good, in Dolby Digital mono. There are no major problems, and the volume is at a good level. The black and white version includes closed captioning, but no other language tracks like the colorized set.

Video and Audio Quality (In Color):

There are no major concerns here. In fact, I was very impressed by how clean the video on this set was, and the audio quality, while not the most impressive thing I've ever heard, was a lot better than just adequate. There is a little bit of grain on the picture (what would you expect for a show that is over 40 years old?), but other than that, I didn't see any problems with the video. One tidbit fans might notice, both sets have the 1966 opening credits, like in syndication. So we see the third season opening sequence, rather than the first season. Expect that for the second season as well, though, I hope I’m wrong.

The colorized episodes give viewers a whole new way to view the first season. These DVDs were my first experience with viewing the colorized episodes, and much to my surprise; I was impressed by how these episodes looked. Everybody remembers the colorization of various television shows and movies from the past, where nothing looked natural and the colorization was bad enough to make the movie or program unwatchable. However, Sony has done a great job of the colorization on this set, and I would be tempted to say that the episodes look EXACTLY like the later seasons of Bewitched, which were originally in color anyway. There are a few problems with the colorization, but they are really only related to the issue of hair color. The color of the hair of the characters seems a LITTLE bit different than the color from the color episodes, but in most cases it is barely noticeable. The biggest problem is the fact Larry Tate's hair appears to be much grayer than it ever seemed in the color episodes. I found myself enjoying the episodes more in color than I did in black and white, which was surprising to me.

The colorized set includes English, Spanish, and Portuguese audio, as well as Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Thai subtitles. Although there are no English subtitles, the set is still closed-captioned, just as the black and white set is. The audio quality on the Spanish and Portuguese audio tracks (for those that may be interested) is horrible to say the least. The audio sounds like it is coming through a pay telephone, the voices sound nothing like the actual actors, and most music and laugh tracks are missing from these audio tracks. Fortunately, for the majority of the people that purchase this set, the English audio quality is fairly decent, in Dolby Digital mono.


Special Features:

The set isn't exactly loaded with special features, but there are some special features, including some interviews. Disc 1 contains The Magic Unveiled Part One (7:30) and Disc 2 contains The Magic Unveiled Part Two (8:08). Both of these are interviews with people associated with the show, including William Asher (director/producer), Erin Murphy (Tabitha), Herbie Pilato (author of "Bewitched Forever"), Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate in the later seasons), Sol Saks (creator), and Mark Wood (author of "The Bewitched Cookbook: Magic in the Kitchen"). The interviews were kind of interesting, but in all honesty, there really isn't much in the interviews that the average Bewitched fan doesn't already know. Basically, they just discuss the show and the actors on the show. There is a little bit of interesting stuff on there about some of the special effects, and it would have been interesting if they would have said more about them. Disc Two contains "Magic and Mishaps" (7:55), which is basically just a bunch of clips from the first season where a narrator shows where technical errors were made in the show, somewhat like those old Classic TV Rewinds that Nick at Nite used to air. I was expecting some unseen outtakes, but that is not what was there. In order to add some length to this there are also some other clips that feature the guest stars from various episodes in the first season. Disc 4 contains previews for the Bewitched movie (2:31), The Partridge Family DVD set (1:02), The Brooke Ellison Story (1:50), and D.E.B.S. (1:56). The special features are exactly the same on both sets. Since the special features include actual footage from the show, it is important to note that regardless of which set you purchase, both of them have black and white footage in the special features. One special feature that would have been VERY nice to see is the original opening credits--complete with sponsor information would have been even nicer.


Final Comments:

Sony has a reputation for being economical when putting out DVD sets, but they did a fairly good job with this set. As a bonus for fan that purchase this set while the movie Bewitched is in theaters, there is even a free ticket to see the Bewitched film included in this set. The special features on this set are decent, but giving consumers a choice between original black and white or colorized is a very good move, and other companies should consider this as well. So for the purists, there is the black and white set--released in the way that the show was originally made. For those that just want to enjoy the show without worrying about what is natural and not natural, there is the colorized set. And for those that are in between, then there is ALWAYS that option to purchase the color set and turn the color off on your television. I did that myself for one of the episodes, and although the shades of black and white were probably not PRECISELY the same as they are on the black and white set, this option is always available to those that purchase the colorized set. Obviously, you can turn off the color on the colorized set, but you can't just "turn on" the color on the black and white set. Regardless of what your tastes are, you won't want to miss picking up this set.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality (Original Black and White): 4/5
Video Quality (In Color): 4.5/5
Audio Quality (Original Black and White): 4/5
Audio Quality (In Color): 4/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/15/05

To purchase the Black and White DVD version, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009B16TE/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

To purchase the Color DVD version, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009B16TO/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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