Growing up as a teen obsessed with television in the 90’s, The Essential Guide to [insert TV show here] were books that I inhaled, especially in an era where the internet was still finding its feet – which meant information filled fan-sites and Wikipedia basically didn’t exist – and in the 90’s there were a slew of those books dedicated to popular television shows. I’m pretty sure at one time I had multiple essential guides/behind the scenes books to Ally McBeal, The X-Files, Melrose Place, Friends, Dawsons Creek, Felicity….the list goes on.
While I loved those books I always felt something was missing – detailed information on the characters within those shows and in-depth looks at story-lines. Sure I liked the actors and some of the behind the scenes information and photos were exciting to read, but I watched the show for Ally McBeal, Sydney Andrews or Jack McPhee and these books and guides lacked a connection between character and the reader.
This fiction of the show and character appreciation approach is what author and Bewitched super fan Adam-Michael James aimed for when writing The Bewitched Continuum; The Ultimate Linear Guide to the Classic TV Series. Instead of show gossip, actor information, speaking with production crew and ratings statistics, Adam-Michael James carefully analyzes all of the 254 episodes of the classic bewitching sitcom, cataloging story-line continuity and character growth from beginning to end.
Running for eight seasons between 1964 and 1972, Bewitched was a supernatural sitcom that followed the daily misadventures of Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery), a modern-day witch trying to live a regular domestic life with her newlywed mortal husband Darrin (Dick York then Dick Seargent) The Story-lines were driven by attempts to keep Samantha’s witch heritage and powers hidden while dealing with her mother (Agnes Moorehead), who doesn’t approve of the mixed marriage between a witch and a mortal.
While addressing characters as people in their own right, what’s really special about The Bewitched Continuum is it’s attention to episode details, conflicting rules within the world of witches and story-line continuations that existed in the show, especially in an era where shows like Bewitched relied mainly on single-story episodes over season long arcs. As VCR’s or any recording devices weren’t readily available to the average house, it was expected that viewers wouldn’t really remember that in one episode Samantha notes that it is impossible to undo another witches spell yet several episodes later, she in fact undoes a spell performed by another witch. It’s this incredible attention to detail within the world of Bewitched that makes this guide so much more special than the standard that can usually be found.
At 600 pages, The Bewitched Continuum looks daunting, yet as you begin to delve into the book, you’ll find yourself effortlessly moving from one episode to another, reading a brief synopsis of each before getting into episode highlights, plot holes, odd special affects, glaring discrepancies between standing episodes and great one-liners. With the incredible amount of information within the book, It’s very easy to see that Adam-Michael is indeed, a Bewitched super fan. Currently in it’s 50th anniversary here in Australia (I’ve been informed Bewitched premiered in Australia Jan 27th, 1965!), Bewitched remains a long-standing fan favorite that continues to garner new fans as it airs in syndication on Channel 9’s digital channel GEM and Foxtel’s TV1 channel.
Fans new and old will be enthralled by the attention to detail within the book and is a must for anyone who’s ever tried to wiggle their nose in an attempt to be just like Samantha Stevens.