Reboots are becoming as ubiquitous in television as they are in movies, but here’s one many can get behind: Deadline has reported a new Bewitched from black-ish creator Kenya Barris. Last month, Barris decamped from ABC for Netflix, where he nabbed a $100 million deal. Before he departed, though, he was able to sell the network one last idea: A reworking of the classic show that centers on an interracial couple.
The original series, which ran from 1964 to 1972, starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, a secret witch who weds mortal Darren (Dick York originally, later replaced by Dick Sargent). In Barris’ version, which he conceived with black-ish writer/co-producer Yamara Taylor, Samantha will be a single black mom who ties the knot with a still-white Darren, who’s now more of a slacker than a square. The two (as yet uncast) will be forced to navigate their differences, and not only because one of them can conjure up magic by twinkling her nose while a cute sound effect plays.
ABC has been deep in the Bewitched reboot business for years, even aggressively pursuing a version in 2014 before accepting Barris’ take. Before that, the brand had been tainted courtesy Nora Ephron’s 2005 movie version — a meta version, in which Nicole Kidman played a real witch who gets cast in a TV reboot of Bewitched opposite Will Ferrell. The film underperformed, despite Steve Carell’s spot-on cameo as Paul Lynde’s Uncle Arthur.
Since Barris now lives over at Netflix, where he has a three-year deal, he’ll only serve as executive producer on Bewitched, while he’ll do the same for black-ish. In the meantime, here’s to more thoughtful, topical reboots that do more than drill for nostalgia. Could a progressive I Dream of Jeanie in which our female genie refrains from belly-revealing tops be on the way?