Café: You've been a Bewitched fan since age 8. What drew you to the show as a youngster and what continues to attract you as an adult?
|Author Adam-Michael James.|
Café: Watching, documenting, and comparing 254 episodes must have been a massive undertaking. How long did it take you to write The Bewitched Continuum? What were some of your biggest challenges?
|Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha.|
Café: You've come up with some fabulous lists, such as all 31 relatives of Tabitha that appear on Bewitched (to include cousins once removed such as Miranda). Which of your lists were the most fun to compile?
AMJ: I wasn’t even going to do lists at first, but as I was going along there was such a treasure trove of biographical information and trivia, I had to include them. “Square Green Spots and Sick Headaches,” where I chronicle both mortal and witch diseases, was fun because it was fairly simple. But I think “By the Numbers” was fulfilling in addition to being fun. I really was curious to count up how many episodes Samantha *didn’t* use her powers, how many times Larry fired Darrin, how many times Endora called Darrin “Durwood,” and all that. I knew I was going to tackle that list early on, so I wrote its info in the corners of my episode notes to make the counting easier. I double- and triple-counted everything, so it’s accurate to the best of my mortal knowledge. (laughs) I found the character bios, which you mentioned, particularly fascinating as well. They were all taken from random information revealed during the show. I compile bios for characters on soapcentral.com, too, so that’s where I got the idea.
Café: “Sisters at Heart” (#213) tops your list of the best Bewitched episodes. But what is your personal favorite and why?
|A scene from "Sisters at Heart"|
Café: Who was the better Darrin: Dick York or Dick Sargent? You gotta pick one!
|Dick York and Dick Sargent.|
Café: You mention that many TV series today have "bibles" that serve as a reference document used for information on a series' characters, settings, and plot points. Do you have a tendency now to notice more continuity errors despite the writers' efforts to prevent them?
AMJ: I think television dramas with continuing storylines always had those bibles; it’s just that they weren’t really necessary for sitcoms when Bewitched was on the air. It’s pretty obvious that today’s sitcoms use them: look at Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. Their episodes are self-contained, but they constantly refer to other episodes and bring back recurring characters and other elements. There’s definitely a forward motion and a sense of things being tied together. Actually, I started noticing continuity errors long before now. My book was largely inspired by Phil Farrand’s The Nitpicker’s Guide for Next Generation Trekkers, which started me on continuity in the first place. And then doing script coverage for Hollywood studios heightened my awareness of continuity, as has dissecting The Bold and the Beautiful in my columns. I’m terrible to go to the movies or watch TV with! I’m always like, “Wait a minute…” (laughs) Though I do realize shows and films have deadlines and scenes get cut, so inevitably things are going to slip through the cracks.
Café: What do you think about NBC's announcement to produce a Bewitched pilot about Samantha's granddaughter Daphne?
AMJ: I’d heard about potential reboots for years, where a new Samantha and Darrin would be cast, and I just cringed, because reboots tend to be awful as a general rule. With Bewitched, I always thought a continuation would be better, so I find it encouraging that that’s the direction this pilot is going. The big thing is, they have to bring Bewitched into the 21st century while being true to its roots. That’s why the Tabitha spinoff failed in the ‘70s--that show just threw out the rules set by Bewitched and did its own thing. This continuation will have to find that balance. If they need someone who knows a thing or two about the original series’ continuity, I’m available. (laughs)
Café: Do you have any plans for future TV- or film-related books?
AMJ: Well, I’m not thinking too far ahead at the moment, because now that The Bewitched Continuum is out, I have to focus on doing PR for it, which is pretty well a full-time job by itself. Some people say this book is only for hardcore fans, but I hope that new fans will use it as well, to get to know Bewitched better. I only know a few other shows as intimately anyway--Dynasty and V in particular--so writing about another one would be on-the-job training. Besides, I do want to get The Nine Lives of L.M. Montgomery back on the stage, and there’s more acting and music and videos I want to do. But you never know. I never planned to write The Bewitched Continuum until about two years ago. I think projects pick us, not the other way around. If a similar project picks me, I will be ready for it!
The Bewitched Continuum is available from Amazon and other booksellers.