CBS has reincarnated Hawaii Five-O. Questionable TV reboots of Charlie's Angels and Dallas are in the works. And now, Bewitched may become the latest TV classic to get a network revamp. CBS ordered a script for a remake of the popular '60s comedy, which starred Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch who magically meddled with her husband's ambition to live a peacefully pedestrian life. The series has already been reborn once, as a critically-ravaged 2005 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Could anything short of a magical twitch of the nose make a new version successful?
This show could be charming: The original Bewitched is remembered more fondly for its likable cast than "for its status as an all-time great TV comedy," says James Poniewozik at TIME. In theory, a reboot of a "not-great show can have the potential to be much better." (See Battlestar Galactica.) If CBS could modernize Bewitched, make it "surprising and maybe even a little edgy," this could just work.
"CBS, for some reason, to try remaking Bewitched"
The dated Bewitched is better left alone: "There are few shows that are more of their time than Bewitched," says Jaime Weinman at Maclean's, which is why the Nicole Kidman film was so misguided. The original 1960s show was chiefly about the role of women in a changing society — Samantha's magical powers frequently, if inadvertently, emasculated her hidebound husband. Why not just make a show about a modern man married to a modern witch? "That's not copyrighted."
"The other other Darrin"
Didn't the awful movie teach us anything? The film version of Bewitched already tried and failed to produce a slick remake of a "kitschy classic," says Sean O'Neal at The A.V. Club. And remember, the whole convoluted storyline of that terrible movie centered on an actual witch (Kidman) being cast in a TV remake of Bewitched. Even in the film, the TV remake was ridiculed as "a laughable, cynical idea." But here we are: Life imitates art.
"Producers of film mocking the idea of remaking Bewitched now actually remaking Bewitched"