DVD Review: “Good Witch” (2015-2021) 

“Good Witch” (2015-2021) 

Television Series

Sixty Episodes

Developed by: Craig Pryce and Sue Tenney

Featuring: Catherine Bell, Bailee Madison, James Denton, Rhys Matthew Bond, Catherine Disher, Anthony Lemke, Kylee Evans, Peter MacNeill, Sarah Power, Dan Jeannotte, Marc Bendavid, Scott Cavalheiro and Katherine Barrell

Cassie Nightingale: “A mistake is like a bump in the road, one bump is not so bad, but if we keep making mistakes eventually we change the shape of the road for ever.”

Released on DVD this month is the gentle, sentimental prime-time fable set in an idealized Middle American small city, “Good Witch” (2015-2021), which has at its heart Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell), the “good witch”, and the exploits of the residents who inhabit (the fictional town) Middleton, including Cassie and her daughter Grace as they welcome Dr. Sam Radford and his son to town. Of course Cassie and Grace share a gift of enchanted insight and magical intuition which comes to the fore in many episodes, think a “Harry Potter” for the very young and the very old, which is reflected in its viewship demographics.

The actual witchcraft could be likened to the “Harry Potter” movies, that is mostly mild and undefined, in other words things work when they have to and opposition occurs when it needs to push the narrative along. At her New Age gift store, Bell, Book & Candle, Cassie knows just which tea or lotion will help a customer through a minor life crisis. Her real gift is an uncanny intuition she uses to nudge people toward the right path.

What’s most striking about the show — especially if you’re inclined to think that the age of its audience also implies a conservative cultural or political cast — is how thoroughly dominated it is by women. That isn’t necessarily unusual for a prime-time soap, but men in “Good Witch” are a particularly clueless and ineffectual bunch. Nearly all agency in the show is female. The main characters are women running their own businesses — Cassie has both her shop and a bed-and-breakfast; her friend Stephanie runs the local restaurant, the redundantly named Bistro Cafe; her cousin Abigail runs the flower shop. In a story in which everyone is on a spectrum from nice to mildly irritating, the villain is the self-absorbed but well-meaning mayor, Martha. (You know right away she’s different because of the theatrical, high-comic style with which Catherine Disher plays her.)

That focus on women is either undercut or reinforced, depending on your point of view, by the show’s corresponding focus on the mechanics of romance. Cassie’s magic is most often used for matchmaking, and the show’s larger drama this season revolves around her own relationship with her prickly next-door neighbor, Sam (James Denton); an entire episode was devoted to whether he’d finally be able to tell her he loved her.

If you want a family-ish drama then this is for you, it is mostly non-offensive and has a lot of episodes to sink into if this is your thing.

Episodes

Series One

Starting Over… Again: Cassie Nightingale’s and her daughter Grace’s charm is no match for Middleton’s newest neighbors.

Running Scared: Dr. Sam and many Middletoners take up running to train for an upcoming race. A mysterious woman catches Derek’s interest but Brandon is suspicious; a mysterious man follows her around.

Do the Right Thing: Against her best judgment, Cassie agrees to pose as Ryan’s girlfriend to make his ex jealous, but this confuses the good doctor and Cassie herself when she and Ryan kiss.

All in the Family: Cousin Abigail Pershing returns to wreak havoc in Middleton as she sets her sights on Dr. Sam who is dating Stephanie. Ryan wants to date his best friend, Cassie.

The Truth About Lies: Sam, Nick, Abigail, Grace and Cassie all deal with their control issues. Abigail explains to Cassie how she has been helping everyone since her return to Middleton.

The Storm: Cassie tries to convince Sam to follow her intuition in order to help a young couple.

Together We Stand: A storm continues to threaten the lives of the people in Middleton; Cassie and Sam work together.

Homecoming: Sam’s Ex-wife turns up to use Nick to get to Sam. She conspires to get Nick to Hong Kong behind Sam’s back, causing mayhem and destruction of feelings. Cassie struggles with the after events of Bryan being in the hospital and her daughter Grace continues to be manipulated by Abigail.

True Colors: Whilst Cassie struggles with possibly losing her shop, Sam receives an unexpected visit from his ex-wife.

Series Two

Good Witch Halloween: Whilst Cassie deals with the newest guest at Grey House, Grace seeks no advice to help deal with school bullies calling her a witch.

Second Time Around: Linda, aiming to reel ex-husband Sam back in, regards Cassie as competition. Abigale proposes becoming Stephanie’s business partner – or else. Cassie’s “Help Wanted” sign draws interest.

Driven: As Sam (against Linda’s wishes) mentors Grace through awkward driving lessons, several people advise Stephanie against dwelling over Abigail’s business plans.

Out of the Past: Both Ryan and John wonder about a future with Cassie, Martha’s spoiled son returns home, Linda adjusts Sam’s home for her moving in, and Stephanie’s meddling mom arrives.

The Trouble with Love: A mother’s love guides the behavior of Cassie, Stephanie, Mayor Tinsdale, Linda and the yearning Tara. Elsewhere, there’s patient Sharon, Abigail, and handsome John.

Surprise Me: Irresponsible grown children seem an issue, with Cassie’s latest unpaying guest, Alexis, and with a money pit business proposal from Martha’s son, Michael.

Risk: Alexis resolves to find a way to pay back Cassie and Abigail for the charges she ran up under false pretenses.

What’s Your Secret?: Cassie helps John comb through resumes for his dig in the Maldives.

Truth: Sam agrees to examine Cassie’s guest Dan, who continues to insist he sees ghosts at Grey House; and, when the town pulls together and delivers a beautiful and surprising anniversary party for Martha, she is truly touched and grateful.

A Perfect Match: Part 1 and 2: As Middleton’s annual Lights Festival approaches, final decisions about the Maldives dig and London Abroad are made, but circumstances could bring about second thoughts.

Series Three

Good Witch: Secrets of Grey House: To celebrate the latest release of a famous authoress’ book series, Middleton becomes the enchanted town of Tarynsville during her stay.

A Budding Romance: The whole town anxiously awaits the impending blooming of the Middleton Merriwick, but when the plant is cut, it has dramatic impact upon the Merriwick women. Grace begins to suspect Nick is going to ask her out.

Without Magic for a Spell: The Middleton Merriwick is still not in bloom, and the effects are being felt around town, meanwhile an old friend and colleague of Abigails checks into Grey House claiming to want a relationship.

Day After Day: When two guests arrive at Grey House and are immediately at odds, Cassie uses her magic to ensure that until the two guests realize they belong together, every day in Middleton will be just like the one before it. Sam tries to plan the perfect date for Cassie, but various nuisances keep getting in the way. Abigail continues getting the same delivery over and over, until she recognizes the value she provides the community.

How to Say I Love You!: The whole town is caught up in romance when Cassie helps Ben find an old film for him to show on opening night of the refurbished Middleton Theater – a classic love movie from the 30s: “How to Say, I Love You!” – which proves to be a very meaningful title. Meanwhile, Martha has overextended herself with the Middleton budget, and there is no money left in the extra expenditure account.

A Birthday Wish: When a visiting chef (Constance) is unable to relax as she promised herself and instead wreaks havoc on the Grey House kitchen, Cassie arranges for her to spend a whole day at the stove stirring a special recipe to quiet her mind. Grace is presented with the Merriwick Wish Book for her birthday and encouraged to make an entry, and she learns a little more about what her mother and cousin were like when they were her age.

Say It with Candy: Abigail, jealous of all the attention Cassie gets from helping her customers, decides to sell “special” Venezuelan chocolates at her flower shop. When the chocolates are a hit and everyone in town seems in a better mood because of them, Abigail can’t help but continue to cut corners. Though Liam’s son Noah and Nick used to be friends, it’s clear when Noah arrives that Nick isn’t interested in staying friends.

In Sickness and in Health: Cassie gives a withdrawn, traveling artist a new paintbrush and invites him to stay at Grey House; Cassie also arranges for her and Sam to organize the Tri-Cities Healthfest, something that Cassie usually does by herself.

Somewhat Surprising: Cassie decides to plan a surprise party for Sam to celebrate the anniversary of his move to Middleton; Grace (with some urging from Abigail) decides to use her powers to create situations where she and Noah can get together.

Not Getting Married Today: Part 1 and 2: Cassie discovers a 10-year-old girl – Pavla – playing in the bushes at Grey House. She is hiding from her adoptive parents, Eddie and Marla, who could use a little help from Cassie and Abigail as they forge their new family. Meanwhile, Martha announces that her son Michael is getting married. He and his fiancée Vanessa want a simple wedding, and Martha needs some gentle reminders from Cassie to not go overboard.

Series Four

Good Witch Spellbound: The business owners compete for the best-decorated shop. A prophecy is unearthed in the basement of City Hall; when predictions start coming true, the citizens fear it’s a terrible curse. Cassie and Sam may be the key to saving their town.

With This Ring: Cassie gives those around her pieces of jewelry that magically turn out to be just thing each needed; Abigail helps Sam search for the perfect engagement ring for Cassie — a legendary Merriwick heirloom thought to be lost forever. 

In 4/4, with Emotion: An unpublished song written by a past guest at Grey House magically spreads throughout the town, heightening the emotions of those who hear it. Affecting each in a different way, Cassie and Sam learn to communicate about their future together.

Daddy’s Home: Abigail’s father comes to Middelton in hopes of making amends. Cassie helps an expecting couple accept how different their lives, and family, will be once the baby comes. Grace is forced to think about her future and what path she’ll follow as she realizes her affinity for math might not be a passion.

Family Time: Cassie and Sam bring Grace and Nick for an overnight at the lake house, hoping time together will help the kids resolve their differences and help the soon-to-be family bond, but Cassie faces a few obstacles before they start acting like a family again.

Written Like a Merriwick: Grace falls under Elizabeth Merriwick’s spell after Cassie finds a trunk filled with her clothing.

Match Game: A secretive dating app developer on the verge of a breakthrough checks in at Grey House.

Til Death Do Us Part: Cassie has to confront what “til death do us part” means as Sam travels to South America as medical aid during a tragic time.

All Dressed Up: Cassie sets out to track down Elizabeth Merriwick’s original wedding dress, learning a bit from every woman who wore it. Grace and Noah hit a snag in their relationship as Abigail and Phil start to ramp up theirs.

How to Make a Middleton Quilt: Grace, in Middleton tradition, enlists the help of the town in making a magical quilt said to grant the wishes of the recipient; Cassie and Sam learn more about each other as secrets are revealed at their bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Tossing The Bouquet: Sam and Cassie have to accept that their wedding might not be as perfect as planned. In light of her almost-romance with Phil, Abigail’s quest to put down roots lands her a new job-the mayor of Middleton.

Series Five

Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts: Cassie’s precious family heirloom- a beautiful ruby. The Heart of Middleton-goes missing from the History of Halloween in Middleton museum exhibit just in time for the anniversary festival and masquerade gala.

The Forever Tree, Part 1 and 2: Cassie and Sam’s wedding is just days away in the season five premiere of “Good Witch,” and the town of Middleton prepares for this highly anticipated event in “The Forever Tree: Part 1.” As Middleton’s resident enchantress Cassie (Catherine Bell) works on last-minute wedding preparations, Sam (James Denton) looks for the tree that her ancestor was married under as a wedding surprise. Though skeptical of Cassie’s world-traveling foster brother Vincent (Gianpaolo Venuta), Sam invites him to be part of the search. Grace (Bailee Madison) becomes troubled when little …

The Honeymoon: Cassie and Sam celebrate their honeymoon at a country winery, where they help their hosts deal with a dilemma. Grace encounters her first heartbreak and Abigail holds a joint fundraiser with Mayor Donovan.

The Prince: Cassie (Catherine Bell) hosts a royal guest at Grey House in ‘The Prince.’ When shocking news emerges about the visiting royal, though, he risks hurting someone he’s grown to care for. Sam (James Denton) gets a visit from an old friend in need of his medical expertise but soon discovers that his cure may lie in Cassie’s intuition. Grace (Bailee Madison) starts an internship for Abigail (Sarah Power) at City Hall and faces fierce competition from a fellow intern. Their competition benefits Abigail, who needs all the help she can get when the rival mayor’s family tries …

The Tea: Cassie’s enchanting powers have always helped her friends in Middleton and a special elixir gives her magical gift a potent boost in ‘The Tea.’ Cassie serves a special tea to help Abigail (Sarah Power) open up during a date with her former nemesis (Marc Bendavid), newly reinstated mayor Martha (Catherine Disher) share her opinions with an artist painting her portrait, and two guests at Grey House reconnect. Meanwhile, Sam (James Denton) looks for help teaching his new resident a lesson in bedside manner. Disappointed after her top choice college rejects her, Grace (…

The Road Trip: Cassie, Grace and Abigail visit Cassie’s alma mater, which is on Grace’s list of top choice colleges. While there, Cassie receives an honor and helps her old college friend, Willow (Kathy Najimy) make a choice about her future, and Grace gets to know the school by connecting with her weekend host who’s homesick. Left to watch Grey House, Sam (James Denton) and Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond) try to channel Cassie when helping father-son guests to communicate better. Meanwhile, Martha (Catherine Disher) switches to a hard-hitting gossip format to improve her TV show’s …

The Grey-cation: Martha and her husband, Tom, visit Grey House. Cassie and Sam realize that they still have some things to learn about one another. Donovan’s overbearing mother complicates his and Abigail’s relationship. Grace and Luke go on their first date.

The Treasure: A long-lost map drums up some excitement in Middleton, as adventure seekers spring into action in “The Treasure.” After finding the treasure map, Martha (Catherine Disher) sends Vincent (Gianpaolo Venuta) on a treasure hunt – which leads to an unexpected competition between Vincent and another treasure seeker. After finding out that his wish as a teenager was to make a discovery, Cassie (Catherine Bell) encourages Sam (James Denton) to keep his eyes open for mysteries to unlock, starting with this newly discovered map. Grace (Bailee Madison) is hurt to discover that …

The Comet: A wish-granting comet heads to Middleton, adding even more anticipation to the exciting graduation season in ‘The Comet.’ As the rest of the town thinks of their one wish, Cassie (Catherine Bell) just wants the best for Sam (James Denton) when he is offered a dream job across the country after successfully performing a tricky surgery. Grace (Bailee Madison) prepares for her valedictorian speech, while Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond) becomes unexpectedly nostalgic as high school wraps up. Abigail (Sarah Power) plans a trip to Europe to forget about her breakup with Donovan (…

The Graduation: Grace and Nick’s graduation day arrives and Cassie tries her best to make the occasion truly magical.

Series Six

Curse from a Rose: Autumn Delaney, Cassie’s old roommate, comes to tamper with Middleton’s Halloween festival.

The Anniversary: Cassie and Sam celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Cassie welcomes Grey House guest Joy, who seems to be spying on the Merriwicks.

The Chili: A competitive Chili cook-off turns friends into frenemies; Martha’s Husband makes a startling announcement; Abigail’s Father returns to Middleton; Cassie discovers a buried message.

The Clock: Cassie, Abigail and Joy browse an estate sale, where Joy hopes to find a clock for Martha’s renovation. Stephanie’s ex-husband, Wes, comes to town to pack up their shared cabin.

The Dinner: Martha fills in as the local Dear Debbie advice columnist, getting an anonymous letter that adds intrigue during a progressive dinner attended by all of our Middleton couples.

The Mandala: Cassie pursues a temporary art history professorship while Sam diagnoses Adam. Abigail and Donovan realize that the missing diamond from the Middleton treasure may help break the curse.

The Dream: Sam successfully operates on Adam, but not without complications. Joy dreams that Abigail and Donovan break up, and against Cassie’s advice, tries to stop it from happening.

The Tableau: Cassie displays Nathaniel Merriwick’s paintings for Grey House’s 225th birthday.

The Chocolates: Hosting a chocolate festival at Grey House, Cassie welcomes Kenny the Chocolate King to Middleton.

The Loft: Cassie invites her friends on a trip to Chicago to help them reconnect; Sam is called in to assist on a surgery.

The Bird: Cassie and Martha smudge the mayor’s mansion for her housewarming gala; Abigail and Donovan reunite and put up a final fight against the Merriwick-Davenport curse.



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