The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Six

Welcome to another Situation Comedy Tuesday! Today we’re continuing with our coverage of the best episodes from the best supernatural sitcom of the ’60s, Bewitched (1964-1972, ABC). Every single episode is available on DVD.

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Advertising executive Darrin Stephens marries Samantha, a beautiful blonde who just happens to be a witch. She agrees to give up witchcraft and live a nice mortal life with Darrin, much to mother Endora’s chagrin. But with family members constantly popping in and interfering with their life, Samantha and Darrin find that living a normal life is easier said than done.

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Bewitched stars ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY as Samantha Stephens, DICK SARGENT as Darrin Stephens, AGNES MOOREHEAD as Endora, DAVID WHITE as Larry Tate, and ERIN MURPHY as Tabitha.

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Yes, in addition to Sam’s new baby, this is the first season with Dick Sargent as Darrin. Let’s get one thing clear: he’s not as funny as Dick York. In fact, he’s not NEARLY as funny as Dick York. But, the decline of the series has little to do with him. Rather, it’s a general lack of creativity that gets more and more noticeable each season. So when it comes to deciding which episodes are best, it becomes less a matter of which are the funniest or well-written, and more about which installments have creative stories that are NOT blatant rip-offs of earlier episodes. While this is only a mild problem in Season Six, it will become much larger in the next two years. Season Six’s biggest problem (aside from middling scripts) is Sargent, who doesn’t really click until the last few episodes of the season. Now, I’m not one of those fans who disowns the Sargent years; as I said, he’s not directly responsible for Bewitched‘s sinking quality. But it’s easy to look at the Darrin switch and assign blame from there. Rather, I challenge fans to look beyond the bland recasting and find the moments of creativity that still exist in the sixth season of this once phenomenal supernatural sitcom. (As I said last week, the stories may be collectively more creative here than they were last season.) So, I have picked ten episodes that I think exemplify the season’s strongest installments. For new fans, this list will give you a place to start. For seasoned fans, there might be a few surprises.

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Here are my picks for the ten best episodes of Season Six. (They are in AIRING ORDER.)

 

01) Episode 174: “Samantha’s Curious Cravings” (Aired: 10/09/69 | Completed: 04/25/69)

Whenever a very pregnant Samantha craves food, it automatically appears.

Written by Lawrence J. Cohen & Fred Freeman | Directed by Richard Michaels

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The best pregnancy show of the season, this episode succeeds largely because of Elizabeth Montgomery and a unique premise that provides a generous helping of laughs. Sargent is still incredibly stiff (he’d only been shooting a month), but the script works in spite of him.

02) Episode 180: “Daddy Comes To Visit” (Aired: 11/20/69 | Completed: 10/10/69)

Entranced with a little magic from Maurice, Darrin decides to go for bigger things.

Written by Rick Mittleman | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This is a rewritten version of the episode that Dick York collapsed on last season. Another episode that hits to the show’s fundamentals — Sam and Darrin and their sentiments regarding witchcraft — Maurice makes one of his better appearances here, and the script is stronger than most from the first half of Season Six. Part One is much funnier than Part Two (listed in the honorable mentions).

03) Episode 186: “Samantha’s Lost Weekend” (Aired: 01/08/70 | Completed: 11/30/69)

Thanks to Esmerelda, Samantha develops a super appetite and wreaks havoc in a supermarket.

Written by Richard Baer | Directed by Richard Michaels

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Here we have another unique premise involving food. This episode works because Montgomery’s total commitment to eating everything in sight, which leads to a great supermarket sequence, and Dr. Bombay’s later remedy that gives her narcolepsy. Esmerelda and the lecherous apothecary also make for some surprisingly hysterical antics.

04) Episode 188: “Samantha’s Secret Is Discovered” (Aired: 01/22/70 | Completed: 11/20/69)

Sam loses her witchcraft after revealing her powers to Mrs. Stephens.

Written by Lila Garrett & Bernie Kahn | Directed by William Asher

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This is such a great premise because I think most viewers secretly want other mortals to know about Sam’s powers. In this episode, THAT is actually what happens as Sam tells her mother-in-law. But when Sam’s powers are revoked, Phyllis checks herself into a rest home. Samantha’s final fix is genius and this is, for the most part, a very well written installment.

05) Episode 192: “Serena Stops The Show” (Aired: 02/19/70 | Completed: 12/18/69)

Serena uses witchcraft to convince Boyce and Hart to perform her original song at the Cosmos Cotillion.

Written by Richard Baer | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This delightfully campy episode has long been a favorite of most fans — largely for Serena’s rendition of Boyce and Hart’s real life single, “I’ll Blow You A Kiss In The Wind.” A very SILLY episode, Montgomery is having a ball, and her giddiness as both Serena AND Samantha is a joy to watch. Not a great episode, mind you, but a very fun and memorable one.

06) Episode 195: “Okay, Who’s The Wise Witch?” (Aired: 03/12/70 | Completed: 01/22/70)

A spell has everyone locked inside the house.

Written by Richard Baer | Directed by Richard Michaels

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Again, this episode wins points for its unique premise — which forces the cast to be stuck together in one location. (If you’ve been following my entries, you know that a device like this — in any sitcom — usually leads to strong comedic bits.) Bombay is great here and the solution is very clever.

07) Episode 196: “A Chance On Love” (Aired: 03/19/70 | Completed: 01/30/70)

A case of mistaken identity involving Serena and a client results in a wolf being changed to a bird.

Written by John L. Greene | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This is a remake of Season One’s “Which Witch Is Which?,” but manages to be more organic in its usage of Serena in place of Endora. Jack Cassidy is appropriately lecherous, and though the script isn’t as sophisticated as its predecessor, it’s just as funny and seems to work better. The bit with the bird (shades of Season One’s “It Shouldn’t Happen To A Dog”) also fits in seamlessly. Great episode.

08) Episode 198: “Mona Sammy” (Aired: 04/02/70 | Completed: 02/16/70)

After Endora’s meddling and the Tate’s insistence, Darrin becomes a Da Vinci with a kiss and a twitch from Samantha.

Written by Michael Morris | Directed by Luther James

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This is a delightfully goofy episode that at first glance seems like it will be about Sam’s age (a la the Maid of Salem portrait in “Eye Of The Beholder”) but turns into a farcical episode in which Samantha and Endora each take their turns gifting Darrin with artistic ability as he tries to paint Louise. Endora’s version of the painting is hilariously grotesque. Funny installment.

09) Episode 199: “Turn On The Old Charm” (Aired: 04/09/70 | Completed: 02/20/70)

Darrin gets a magical amulet that forces Endora to be courteous to him.

Written by Richard Baer | Directed by Richard Michaels

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Ingenious premise that turns out very satisfying because Endora FINALLY after all these years is nice to Darrin. Of course, it’s not at her own volition. Each cast member — particularly Moorehead — seems to revel in the script, which, because of its story, gives many laughs. Endora’s revenge is equally amusing as Sam and Darrin bicker in front of Larry and a bewildered client. Hilarious!

10) Episode 200: “Make Love, Not Hate” (Aired: 04/16/70 | Completed: 02/27/70)

A love potion made by Dr. Bombay to help Esmerelda snare a warlock ends up in the clam dip at Sam and Darrin’s dinner party.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by William Asher

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This episode features an easy premise that’s almost an automatic laugh generator — mixed-up love potions. It was hilarious when Endora was involved in a similar story two seasons ago, and it’s almost as funny here, as Larry Tate has to avoid the advances of his client’s stricken wife. Esmerelda and Bombay are on hand — the latter is especially funny — to add to this episode’s strengths.

 

Other notable episodes that didn’t make the list above include: “Samantha And The Beanstalk,” which features a cool story and some fun guest stars, “Darrin The Warlock,” which isn’t as funny as the first part (listed at #2 above), but continues the story satisfactorily, “You’re So Agreeable,” a formulaic episode that shows flashes of originality, “The Phrase Is Familiar,” which features an original premise but is let down by Sargent and a mediocre script, “Tabitha’s Very Own Samantha,” which succeeds because of its genuine humanity (and most deserves to be included in the list above) and “What Makes Darrin Run?,” another formulaic episode that gains distinction for its mature script.

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*** The MVE Award for the Best Episode from Season Six of Bewitched goes to…..

“Turn On The Old Charm”

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Come back next Tuesday for the best from Season Seven! And tune in tomorrow for an all new Wildcard Wednesday post!

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2 thoughts on “The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Six

  1. I always thought “The Phrase Is Familiar” was the best episode from Season 6, and I also thought it was Sargent’s best performance as Darrin, but then I haven’t seen every one of these from this season.

    • Hi, Jon! I was just talking about that episode with a friend the other day.

      Interestingly, if you’d have asked me to name my favorites of the season prior to my chronological viewing of the series for these posts, I would have certainly included “The Phrase Is Familiar” on my list. Watching them all chronologically, however, this installment was surprisingly disappointing. I didn’t feel the script did justice to the unique and original premise. And I still feel that Sargent was green in the role here. I don’t think he truly settled in until the last handful of Season Six episodes — from where most of my picks came.

      Stay tuned over these next two weeks for my picks of the best from the final two seasons of BEWITCHED!

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