The Pop Culture Lens

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Returning to Bewitched

August 10th, 2015

Hello everyone!

One of your cohosts here, CarrieLynn Reinhard, writing to you all personally to say thank you for following us on the podcast. Chris and I are so humbled to have so many people listening to the ideas presented in the podcast.

August is a busy time for both of us, as the new school year gears up and we try to get as much of our exorcism cinema book written before then as possible. So we are on hiatus for a bit until the dust settles and we get into the groove of the new semester. We hope to bring you an episode about My Little Pony very soon.

Until then, we have a follow-up to an episode we did earlier this year on the classic sitcom Bewitched. After that episode aired, we received feedback from a man who has written a book on the series. He was kind enough to send along the book, and we agreed that the next time we talk about the series -- perhaps focusing on the later years -- we would have him on the show.

Adam-Michael James wrote The Bewitched Continuum: The Ultimate Linear Guide to the Classic TV Series, which can be purchased at Amazon.com and Createspace.com. Adam-Michael is a huge fan of the series, so I asked him a couple questions to have his thoughts on the staying power of the series.

A little about yourself/background?

I'm a writer and a performer; I've always been fascinated with movies and television and how they work. I was an extra for a lot of years and I've also written script coverage for studios, so it's become natural for me to analyze what I watch. I've been writing opinion columns for Soapcentral.com for the past 6 years from that standpoint.

What drove you to write this book?

I've loved Bewitched since I discovered it as an 8-year-old in 1977. I used to record it on cassette tape and listen to it over and over. Then there was VHS, and by the time it came out on DVD, I was quite a student of continuity, so I found myself watching the series in order and noticing how some overall elements lined up while others didn't. Then, since 2014 was the 50th anniversary of the series premiere, I thought there was no better time to write out my observations as a way of celebrating the show.

What do you hope people will get out of the book?

Ultimately, I look at it as something that will help people appreciate Bewitched in a whole new way. People can read it in order – it is the ultimate linear guide, after all – or they can skip around to their favorite episodes. The book is really meant to be right there at your side as you watch the show. Also, it's my hope that it will help attract new viewers, help them understand the series better. The book is quite the primer in that respect!

Why do you think the series is something we should still be thinking about so long after it aired?

Most people don't know that Bewitched was the first supernatural show on the air, so everything from Once Upon A Time to The Walking Dead has roots with Samantha and Darrin. Of course, the more time passes, the more our older shows are forgotten, especially by the younger generation. The reason Bewitched holds up so well is because the magic pulls you in, but the characters and intelligent writing keeps you hooked. Sure, the clothes and interior decor and some of the social mores are dated, but the show is just fun. And fun is what I wanted my book to be, too. If it helps to keep Bewitched in the public's consciousness, then I've done my job!

I think Adam-Michael's point about the presence of supernatural television today owing a lot to Bewitched is an important observation to make. Shows like Bewitched and Star Trek (which we talk about in this episode) helped to bring fantasy and science fiction ideas to a mainstream audience. Indeed, if not for these early shows, much of our modern pop culture may not exist, given how central fantasy and science fiction is to it. If the producers of today did not have the inspiration back then when they were growing up, then we audiences of today may be missing out on some of the most original and contemplative storytelling out there.

For more, you can follow Adam-Michael and his work on Bewitched by joining his Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/bwcontinuum.

And stay tuned for some more conversations on the pop culture of the past in our podcast.