The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Seven

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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Season Seven opens with an eight-episode storyarc that sees Samantha, Darrin, and Endora heading to Salem for a Witches Convention. The production really did go on location after an on-set fire necessitated construction of new sets. The arc breathes life into the first part of the season, and though few of the Salem episodes are true winners, the change of scenery and pace is very refreshing. Furthermore, Sargent has warmed up in the role Darrin, and while he’s no York, he’s very solid this year. The series returns to its routine following the vacation and the growing lack of creativity becomes increasingly noticeable. Remakes of earlier (and superior) York episodes become common by the end of the year. Surprisingly, I WAS able to pick 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 Seven. (They are in AIRING ORDER.)

 

01) Episode 203: “The Salem Saga” (Aired: 10/08/70 | Completed: 08/07/70)

At the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Samantha is followed by an enchanted bed warmer.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by William Asher

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Though the first two episodes of the season introduce the impending Salem trip, “The Salem Saga” is the first episode in which the characters actually visit Salem. The plot is a slight remake of “Sam’s Spooky Chair” from Season Three, but the added location, history, and scope make this episode superior in every way. Furthermore, this is one of the funniest scripts of the season — and certainly the best written of the Salem shows. (This installment is better than its second part, which is listed below with the honorable mentions.)

02) Episode 208: “Samantha’s Old Salem Trip” (Aired: 11/12/70 | Completed: 08/06/70)

Esmerelda accidentally sends Samantha back to 17th Century Salem, sans witchcraft and memory.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This seems to be a fan favorite and it’s easy to see why. Everyone loves a good time travel episode, especially when the script is strong and there’s a little romance thrown in. Problem is we’ve seen this before in the superior “Samantha Goes South For A Spell.” But for added good measure, the show throws in a beat from “Samantha’s Thanksgiving To Remember” by having Darrin and Sam accused of witchery. This episode succeeds because in addition to the location, the premise upon which the installment is built has already been proven solid.

03) Episode 210: “Samantha’s Old Man” (Aired: 12/03/70 | Completed: 08/27/70)

Endora changes Darrin into an old man and Louise tries to fix him up with her aunt.

Written by Michael Morris | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This episode continues where Season One’s “Eye Of The Beholder” left off in addressing the issue of aging, and what that will mean for both Darrin and Samantha. The humor comes from the delightful Ruth McDevitt, who plays Louise’s aunt and desperately wants a date with “Grover Stephens.” A solid episode, the only thing that doesn’t work is Montgomery’s dubbing of the old lady’s lines. Otherwise, this is a funny episode that harkens back to themes that graced the more narratively solid installments in the first two seasons.

04) Episode 211: “The Corsican Cousins” (Aired: 12/10/70 | Completed: 09/03/70)

Endora casts a spell that makes Samantha feel and experience everything that Serena does.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This is a silly episode, but there are plenty of laughs. The whole premise involves Samantha experiencing everything that Serena does —  hunger, sadness, the urge to dance, and most comedically, drunkenness. Of course, the latter occurs when Sam is being scoped out by the women of the club to which Darrin’s new client belongs.  This episode is a winner not only because of the wonderful performances, but because of the creative and imaginative premise that allows for humor of the fresh variety.

05) Episode 213: “Sisters At Heart” (Aired: 12/24/70 | Completed: 11/12/70)

When Tabitha wants to be sisters with her black friend Lisa, they both end up polka-dotted.

Story by Miss Saunders’ 5th Period English Class at Thomas Jefferson High School | Teleplay by William Asher & Barbara Avedon | Directed by William Asher

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I wrote at Christmas: “This famous episode was reportedly one of Elizabeth Montgomery’s favorites. A ‘very special’ episode, the script is surprisingly funny, and the premise beams with originality. The script was penned by a high school english class (with tweaks by the production, of course) and that seems to make it all the more special. Not nearly as preachy as a typical All In The Family, this episode boasts humor and heart.” Indeed, this is an excellent episode — fresh, funny, and well cast.

06) Episode 214: “Mother-In-Law Of The Year” (Aired: 01/14/71 | Completed: 10/01/70)

Endora maneuvers herself into becoming the spokeswoman for one of Darrin’s new client’s products.

Written by Henry Sharp & Phil Sharp | Directed by William Asher

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I think this episode succeeds primarily because of Agnes Moorehead, whose Endora, just like she did in Season Four’s “Solid Gold Mother-In-Law” (which earned an honorable mention from me), decides to annoy Darrin by warming up the client. The humor from this particular installment comes from a climactic sequence in which Samantha pretends to be Endora and Endora pretends to be Samantha. This is a generally well-written episode that offers a generous helping of laughs. Incidentally, I love seeing those ABC cameras during the commercial.

07) Episode 215: “Mary, The Good Fairy” (Aired: 01/21/71 | Completed: 09/11/70)

Samantha takes the tooth fairy’s place when she gets drunk at the Stephens’ house.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by William Asher

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Imogene Coca is superb as Mary, the Good Fairy (a.k.a. Tooth Fairy) who gets snockered when she decides to take a moment and reminisce with Samantha after attending to one of Tabitha’s teeth. Coca’s facial expressions are some of the best in the business, and this wonderfully original premise is an excellent showcase for her talents. The second part, which gets way too tedious and predictable, isn’t nearly as good as this initial installment, which finds much humor in Coca’s delightfully tipsy behavior. This is a fun entry.

08) Episode 217: “The Return Of Darrin The Bold” (Aired: 02/04/71 | Completed: 11/25/70)

Serena goes back in time to make one of Darrin’s ancestors a warlock.

Written by Ed Jurist | Directed by Richard Michaels

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This episode revisits a Season Three entry, “A Most Unusual Wood Nymph,” that earned an honorable mention from me. Surprisingly, Dick Sargent does JUST AS WELL as Dick York at playing Darrin the Bold, and having Serena go back in time in place of Samantha makes everything much funnier. Furthermore, the premise is wonderfully original, even if the Sam/Darrin sequences aren’t as funny as they need to be. Meanwhile, also of note, is a wonderful scene between Serena, Endora, and the old warlock on the mountain. Hilarious!

09) Episode 221: “Mixed Doubles” (Aired: 03/04/71 | Completed: 01/07/71)

Samantha wakes to find that everyone thinks she’s Louise, while everyone thinks Louise is Sam.

Written by Richard Baer | Directed by William Asher

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This is another episode that makes its way onto the list not because it’s well written, and not because it’s hilarious, but because the premise shows such imagination. You know I generally like when the Tates get involved in the story, and this one puts them right in the center. But the script is a bit of a let down — only allowing us to see things as they play out with Samantha. Essentially, the episode never lives up to the potential promised by its presence. There are some funny bits — mostly provided by Bombay and Endora — but its the originality that earns this episode my favor.

10) Episode 225: “Samantha’s Psychic Pslip” (Aired: 04/01/71 | Completed: 11/19/70)

Samantha’s guilt induced hiccups have strange ramifications while she goes out shopping with Mrs. Stephens.

Written by John L. Greene | Directed by William Asher

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This surprisingly busy episode starts from a simple place: Sam is guilty about using witchcraft after Darrin rewards her for being twitch free. Her guilty hiccups cause bikes to appear, until Bombay comes and reverses things. Now whenever she hiccups, things that are gilt disappear. Hijinks ensue when she goes shopping with Phyllis. Meanwhile, at the house, Darrin contends with Bombay, Larry, and Serena. (The latter two seem to be there just for the heck of it.) Funny with a strong premise, this one would be phenomenal if the script was tighter. But regardless, this is a wonderful episode.

 

Other strong episodes that didn’t quite make the list above include: “Salem, Here We Come,” which’s humor comes from High Priestess Hepzibah’s romance with Caesar Romero, “Samantha’s Hot Bed Warmer,” which concludes the episode listed above and shows Serena’s culpability, “Samantha’s Magic Potion,” a remake of several previous stories that manages a few laughs, “The House That Uncle Arthur Built,” which is the last episode with Paul Lynde, “Samantha And The Troll,” another one of the “Serena pretends to be Samantha and wreaks havoc” episodes, but is surprisingly funny, and “Samantha And The Antique Doll,” a remake of a first season episode that uses Phyllis Stephens in place of Gladys Kravitz, but nevertheless manages to be amusing.

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

“Samantha’s Psychic Pslip”

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Come back next Tuesday for the best from the (unfortunate) final season! And tune in tomorrow for a new Wildcard Wednesday post!

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3 thoughts on “The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Seven

  1. Jackson, USA Today had a nice article in the Sunday paper in the 45th anniversary of ABC airing “Sisters at Heart” and the ground it broke at the time in dealing w racism. this must be something they are starting to do on a regular basis as a similar article came out in October for the 40th anniversary of MTM’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust ” airing. realize All in the Family would premiere a scant 3 weeks later and end so many TV taboos, still nice to see the Bewitched episode getting recognition

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