It truly is the golden age of TV, down to every last reboot that’s hitting the small screen. Amid news that series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars are returning in new formats, Deadline reports that another, more classic series is also getting a 2018 makeover for ABC: Bewitched.
The original series starring Elizabeth Montgomery ran from 1964 to 1972. The story followed Samantha (Montgomery), a witch who could make magic happen with a twitch of her nose, as she fell in love with a mortal. In the first episode of the classic sitcom, Samantha marries New York ad executive Darrin (first played by Dick York, then by Dick Sargent). When he discovers her powers, he makes her promise to never use them. That, of course, doesn’t really work, because what’s a sitcom without situational comedy? Samantha tries, but ultimately, they never manage a magic-free life.
According to Deadline, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris sold the rights to his new interpretation of Bewitched to ABC just before he signed a new deal with Netflix. He and Black-ish writer/producer Yamara Taylor crafted the reboot, which still follows Samantha and Darrin as they fall in love and navigate life with and without magic, but the characters are totally new.
Deadline reports that there’s a twist to this new series: Samantha is a hardworking single black mom who happens to be a witch. When she marries Darren, a white mortal who’s also kind of a slacker, she discovers that even with literal magic, she’s still not as powerful as a white man living in the United States. From this description, it sounds like Bewitched will dig into issues of race and class while also holding onto the supernatural and romantic comedy elements of the original series. It’s not just updated, it’s improved for a modern audience.
This isn’t the first time ABC has pursued a new take on Bewitched, according to Deadline, but it is the first time a series has made it past the initial development stage. The 2005 film starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell didn’t particularly succeed (it only has a 25 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but the original series has had an enduring fan base. Although there are no casting announcements or premiere news for the new reboot at this time, the network has at least made a commitment to produce a pilot, which is good news.