Tabitha Stephens - Lisa Hartman
Paul Thurman - Robert Urich
Aunt Minerva - Karen Morrow
Marvin Decker - Mel Stewart
Adam Stephens - David Ankrum
OTHER SHOWS WITH WITCHES
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Witches Of Oz
Tabatha - Unaired Pilot
Tabatha Stephens' mother was a witch and both she and her brother Adam have inherited her gifts. Whilst Tabatha tries to live a normal life amongst mortals, working for a magazine editor, Adam messes her up life with his warlock ways. She is about to tell her designer boyfriend her secret, but the course of true love never had to deal with witches.
This is the pilot for the TABATHA that might have been, except that it's even less funny than the show that it finally became and has a set up that seems to be wrong on every level. Liberty Williams is all wrong for the part and fails to handle any of the comedy elements, possibly because she couldn't find them. Her female boss is too soft to be the ogre that might have livened things up, Adam isn't a credible interfering influence and the storyline is just awful.
Critically, though, it just isn't funny. Though the laughs didn't exactly flow freely in the show that finally emerged, this is a comedy desert.Top
Tabitha Stephens' mother was a witch and she has inherited her talents. Her brother Adam takes after their father and has no magic at all and disapproves of its use. He also disapproves of Aunt Minerva, who continually meddles in their lives. Both Tabitha and Adam work at a television studio ruled by the pretty but vapid Paul Thurston and stressed producer Marvin. When Thurston decides to interview his new girlfriend rather than an important author, Tabitha takes measures to put matters right.
This is a spin off from the popular BEWITCHED, aimed at a new and younger audience, focussing as it does on a young, attractive, single girl making a career rather than a married woman making a life as a housewife and mother. Other than that, however, it seems that none of the jokes have changed. There are the usual things appearing and disappearing, normal people being confused by inexplicable events and a dotty old witch messing things up from the sidelines.
Lisa Hartman is appealing enough as Tabitha, if a little lightweight. Robert Urich is a game performer as the self-absorbed and stupid front man of the show and the butt of many of the jokes. David Ankrum is stodgy as the disapproving brother, but then that's not a role that anyone could do much with. The big disappointment is that Karen Morrow can't live up to the wonderful Agnes Moorehead's creation of Endora from the original show.
But worst of all is the fact that it is just not funny. It is terribly unfunny and the laughter track empahasises that fact.Top
Tabitha's Weighty Problem
The team is given the job of covering the weightlifting championships. This brings Tabitha into contact with the amorous Russian star weightlifter at a time when her head cold sends her powers haywire.
Another laugh-free episode that has the added bonus of being borderline racist as well. Having Tabitha's powers running out of control adds to the chaos, but not to the amusement.Top
Paul manages to offend a powerful witch by making fun of an expert on the supernatural on the eve of Halloween. A hit-witch is sent in to make his life a misery and Tabitha must find a way to smooth the ruffled feathers.
Whilst Robert Urich does a suprisingly limber impression of an ape, that's about all the fun there is to be had from this rather poor story that characterises the hit-witch as a child, but with powers that would make a grown witch envious, but does not explain the dichotomy.Top
A Star Is Born
A new weather girl arrives at the station and proves to be so odious that Minerva takes steps to ensure that she fails to show up for work. Tabitha steps into the breach and finds herself to be a big hit.
This episode would like to believe that it has something to say on the exploitation of women through Tabitha's sexualisation in really short shorts in front of the camera, but it is so toothless that this passes almost unnoticed and is even justified in the closing comment from Paul and Tabitha's laughing acceptance of the wolf-whistles when she first appears.
There is, at least, a comment on the transitory nature of popular acclaim as Paul is eclipsed by his new colleague and doesn't know how to handle that, but it would have been much more effective had there been a few laughs in there as well.Top
Minerva Goes Straight
Aunt Minerva decides to try a normal mortal's life and magics her way into a job at the TV station just as everyone sets off for a skiing holiday. There she takes up with a feckless ski instructor.
America has always had a problem with the French and the caricature ski instructor here is a fine example of xenophobia at play. Fortunately, the whole show is so unconvincing that it's hard to take any offence at it.
Anyway, the jokes aren't funny and adding in a ski resort doesn't help with that.Top
Mr Nice Guy
Aunt Minerva puts a spell on Paul which makes him become the nicest guy ever for an hour every time that he looks in a mirror. Tabitha tries to cope.
Robert Urich gets to play sickeningly sweet along with detestable in this episode, but you would have thought that there were some laughs in that. Sadly not.
The show also displays the levels it's sinking to by finding an excuse to show Lisa Harman in baby doll lingerie for the second episode running. Not really the stuff of family entertainment.Top
The Arrival Of Nancy
Tabitha's childhood friend Nancy arrives looking to start a new life in LA. Being somewhat naive, she ends up with a job in a massage parlour after renting a Rolls Royce.
The jokes continue not to flow in this episode, which introduces the character of Nancy just to have someone new to complicate Tabitha's life. The conflict of the juvenile jokes with the adult subject matter of the massage parlour is not easily put aside and the amount of magic that is carried out in plain sight makes a mockery of the idea that Tabitha's managed to keep it a secret all this time.Top
A senatorial candidate is smitten by Tabitha and asks her to marry him. Aunt Minerva casts a truth spell to find out if he's on the level.
Apparently Tabitha is happy to be a woman with sexy hair who fills out her slacks in the right way. That's the contention of this episode which starts off well enough, but fizzles away to nothing with the usual supply of poor to extremely poor jokes.Top
That New Black Magic
Producer Marvin is targeted by a witch friend of Tabitha for love and she has just the spell to make him leave his wife and become a cool, suave lover.
It's hard to say whether this is more offensive to black people or to women. The depiction of the two 'lovers' is every kind of stereotype available at the time, used in a vain and desperate attempt to make people laugh at the characters. The ease with which Marvin's wife just accepts him back without any real explanation of his fidelity is also stretching credulity well past breaking point.Top
What's Wrong With Mr Right?
Paul is making a commercial for a pizza company and Tabitha gets involved with the director. Then she learns that he is a warlock manipulating her and decides to destroy the commercial shoot, not realising that she is punishing the wrong man.
Speeding up the film and slowing down the film and running the film backwards are the big tricks in this story which is tedious in the extreme and outlasts its welcome long before Lisa Hartman appears in a cheerleader's costume.Top
Paul Goes To New York
Paul announces his departure for New York and a game show. Tabitha books a gossip columnist to take his place, but she turns out to be a manipulative, hateful woman. Can Tabitha persuade Paul to come back?
Paul and Tabitha nearly get it on, though how she can stand his slimy advances let alone be attracted by them remains a mystery. The gossip columnist turns out to be a damp squib rather than the tyrant ogre we could have hoped for and only Paul's new job has any sort of ironic justice to it.Top
When the Witches' Council decides that mixed marriages with mortals should be encouraged Minerva spikes the dip at Tabitha's party and suddenly everyone is attracted to everyone and Paul is taking Nancy to Vegas to get married.
Love potions gone wrong, inappropriate matches, ingredients for some real laughs. Sadly no. The delivery of the supposed love lines is appalling and squashes any chance of anything funny surviving.Top
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