Facebook was all atwitter today with the news that CBS ordered a new Bewitched pilot from Sony Entertainment – the people that brought us the Bewitched movie I was so excited about and never ended up seeing because I heard it was just a disgrace.
The original Bewitched series is among my five favorite televisions shows of all time (maybe another blog post this month), so it's hard for me to NOT be excited at the idea of a “reboot”, as the kids are calling it these days. At the same time, it's in the hands of the same people that ruined the movie version (allegedly – like I said, I haven't seen it) AND the real brilliance of Bewitched was the cast and their chemistry. How do you recreate that? I don't know, but that's what I'm going to try to do right now.
Samantha/Serena – There's no doubt that Elizabeth Montgomery was the heart and soul of the original series. She never did win an Emmy for the role, but she was nominated five times (and four times for a Golden Globe). The success of the series is going to hinge on this character. The supporting cast will be important, but if the actress playing Samantha isn't right, nothing will save it.
The difficulty, however, is that casting can be pretty much a crap shoot. If you look at Liz's career before Bewitched, you wouldn't necessarily have predicted success. She was in one film and her biggest television role was on her father's series. But she was the perfect mix of sexy and girl next door. And charming.
If this were a dream team, I'd probably go with Amy Adams, because she's the actress that I get the most Liz Montgomery vibe from. But she's probably not going to stop her film career for this, so let's move on. Unfortunately, Melissa Joan Hart has already played a witch on TV, because she wouldn't be a bad choice either. Another former witch that could probably do the job is Alyssa Milano, but again, how many times can you go to that well? So, even though this woman has a new series starting in the fall and she's already played a character named Samantha on TV, I nominate Christina Applegate for the lead. She's beautiful. She's funny and she has the same self-effacing quality that lets the cast around her shine.
Endora – You really need someone who can be larger than life without completely taking over the set. It's not an easy task. My top choice, although I'm not sure what's up with her because she hasn't worked in about two years, is Delta Burke. I could totally see her in those Endora-style get-ups and being right at home in that persona. I also wouldn't mind if it was someone that played Christina Applegate's mother in the past – Katey Segal. If you think about it, her Married with Children character wasn't all that different from Endora. And, I have no idea if she'd be any good at this role, but I'd love to see Susan Lucci try it.
Uncle Arthur – Almost certainly any remake of Bewitched is going to want a bigger presence from Uncle Arthur. Paul Lynde became a gay icon because of just 11 appearances over the entire run of the show. He's a little bit young for this role, but Sean Hayes would be FABULOUS! On the older side, you could go with Harvey Fierstein, although I'd rather see him portray Aunt Hagatha. So, how about another Will & Grace alumnus – Leslie Jordan. If anyone could do the role and Paul Lynde justice, I think it would be him.
Gladys Cravitz – This is the one I've had the hardest time with. It's a great role if done right. Otherwise it's just a disaster. The two people I think would be great in the role are both pretty old and you run the risk of having them die just like the original Mrs. Kravitz. But what the hell, I like em both. One would be Liz Sheridan, Jerry's mother on Seinfeld. I love her not only because she's funny, but because her and Elizabeth Montgomery were really good friends. Of course as I'm typing this, I realize that Estelle Harris would be equally good and probably just the right amount of zany. Another great choice would be Doris Roberts, Raymond's mother on Everybody Loves Raymond. I think any of the three of them would be perfect. And if you really are worried about their age, how about Megan Mullaly? I could totally see her in the role as well.
I know there are more characters, but I think I'm out of ideas. I'd love to hear what you all think about this.