In a post-Sabrina The Teenage Witch world, is anyone really surprised to hear that this is a thing that is happening? Back when the rumors first started that Bewitched might be getting a remake, I was in full agreement with the people who just wanted to lock all beloved old shows up in a safe to keep them out of Hollywood's hands before they decided to remake another one. Some shows just don't need sequels or fresh twists. Did we learn nothing from the failure of 2005's Bewitched movie? However, Deadline reports that the Bewitched reboot is coming to NBC. On the downside, that's happening. On the upside, it's a sequel not a reboot.
Deadline says that the description of the show is as follows:
Coming on the 50th anniversary of Bewitched‘s debut, the new version is a reimagining of the original series two generations later. It centers on Daphne — Samantha’s granddaughter and Tabitha’s daughter — a single twentsomething witch who has always used her magical powers to conjure herself the perfect life. But she soon realizes that the one thing she cannot conjure and control is the one thing she wants most — real love.
As far as I'm concerned, that's actually a relief. They're not going to revisit Samantha Stephens and her husband Darrin. They're not even going to revisit the short-lived first sequel series to Bewitched, Tabitha, which followed the adventures of Samantha and Darrin's children, Adam and Tabitha. Instead, they're producing a show — perhaps called Daphne? — that follows Tabitha's daughter. That makes it feel more like tradition than another TV remake that doesn't need to be happening. We've seen from the success of Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch that situational comedies featuring women who happen to be witches can be really successful, so I can no longer blame Hollywood for wanting to breathe life back into this franchise.
However, one thing to note was that Bewitched was a show that was a product of its time period. Despite being a very powerful witch, Samantha decided to suppress her own powers at the wishes of her mortal husband and often caused trouble for him when she didn't. It was kind of a backward message to send to young women at the time, that they should give up what makes them special for the men in their life or bad things would happen. Of course that wasn't the entire point of Bewitched and it was enjoyable anyway — I still watch I Love Lucy despite receiving more or less the same message from some episodes — but it's a little disappointing that the premise of this new series is that Daphne can do anything she wants with her magic, but what she really wants is a man.
I'm not saying that Daphne can't have a love interest to be an independent woman, but I do wish it wasn't the focus of the plot description or even the focus of the show itself. If the only problem they can find to throw in her way is that her magic can't help her find love, that her perfect life isn't perfect without it, then that's a message that I don't need to hear from pop culture for the ten thousandth time. I can personally attest to the fact that if you are single and a woman, then being single is not all you think about and it's not your biggest problem in life. Really, it's not. I promise.
Then again, there are plenty of ways that NBC could potentially push the envelope here. Maybe Daphne is bisexual and looking for love with both men and women. Maybe Daphne spends the first season searching for love only to discover that it's not what she needs to fulfill her life and is, in fact, a symptom of an underlying problem of dissatisfaction with how easily everything has always come to her through magic. Maybe Daphne at least has a female best friend so we can have more lady friendships and less lady competitions on television. It's too soon to cast judgment on the Bewitched reboot just yet, so I think I'll settle on being tentatively excited. For now.
Image: Hulu; unalike/Tumblr