Now that we're in the era of Wikipedia you don't see many tomes like The Bewitched Continuum: The Ultimate Linear Guide to the Classic TV Series anymore. In 600-plus pages, author Adam-Michael James catalogs all 254 episodes of the 1960s television show Bewitched and analyzes the continuity of a popular series created pre-syndication and more importantly, pre-pre-pre-pre-Internet.
"Even though almost everything is digital now, there's definitely still an appeal in a physical book," James explains. "I mean, it's one thing to watch a show and have your iPad next to you, and it's another thing to have a book that you can flip through."
Bewitched was a supernatural sitcom that followed the everyday misadventures of Samantha Stevens, a modern-day witch trying to live a regular domestic life with her newlywed mortal husband Darrin. The show ran for eight seasons between 1964 and 1972 and featured, most notably, Agnes Moorhead as Samantha's meddling mother Endora and Paul Lynde as her kooky, flamboyant Uncle Arthur. The series spun out a short-lived 1970s spinoff, Tabitha, a poorly received movie adaptation starring Nicole Kidman (the less said, the better) and, recently, NBC greenlit a pilot for a Bewitched continuation series featuring Samantha's granddaughter, Daphne.
James, an entertainment writer for television, Internet, and radio is a self-described "student of continuity" and a fan of the show since the age of 8. In approaching the book, he chose to stick entirely to canonical evidence instead of anecdotal production information and real-life background on the actors. "There's a lot of wonderful books about the behind-the-scenes aspects and the historical context of the show, but there wasn't anything that just dealt with the fiction. So, I figured if I was going to do it, this was the 50th anniversary year [of the original series] and there's no better time."
The Bewitched Continuum is definitely a godsend for any hardcore fan of the classic show, but it's also a fascinating reference for any readers interested in the exploring the evolution of television from a writing context. "Because we pick apart episodes so much easier through DVDs, special features, and social media, the bar has to be set a lot higher now in terms of continuity but back when Bewitched was on they didn't have to do that as much. The shows were only airing once a year, maybe twice if it ran over the summer, so sometimes things lined up really great, and sometimes things didn't. Which is what makes looking back on old shows kind of fun."
The Bewitched Continuum is out now.