Bewitched. Reflections of the past.

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I've been watching episodes from a TV show I watched as a kid, a show called Bewitched with Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York. I didn't get to see every show when I was a kid but I enjoyed it anyway, and love it even more now because it's part of my past. That's also part of the reason I enjoyed the Bewitched movie last year with Nicole Kidman who is probably one of the most exceptional actresses I can think of.

Anyway, watching Bewitched lead to two thoughts. First, it's interesting watching the old tv shows because you get to see the society values in place at that time. For example, in Betwitched's time, the women stayed at home and looked after the house. They were expected to keep the place clean and have food on the table when their husbands returned home. They were also active in various committees and charities around town. These days, women have become the power players in many corporations with men taking second place, at least in some of the corporations I know. Overall, men may still have more power positions than women but women now have far more power than ever before. We're almost at the point where the men will stay at home and look after the house and family while the women go to work.

Second thought. In Bewitched, Darren requires that his wife Samantha not use her witchcraft. In today's world, he'd probably get sued for being prejudice. His requirement that she not use her witchcraft and her willingness to accept his demand is also reflective of the men-women roles at the time. Women will expected to be submissive and obedient to their husbands, something that most women today would strongly object to; justly so as far as I'm concerned. Marriage should be a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Other shows that I fondly remember from my childhood include "Mr. Ed" (featuring a talking horse), "I Dream of Jeannie", "F-Troop", "Gilligan's Island" and "My Favourite Martian" (whose Martian actor Ray Walston I still feel affection for).

While looking for links to these shows on the internet, I thought of one more thing. All of these shows ran for several seasons. It's probably the length of the showing that gives us time to bond with the characters and the show. TVB's series never run for long; usually only twenty or thirty episodes. That being that case, there is very little chance for anyone to bond with the characters or any particular show. Am I wrong? Have any of you bonded with any particular actor, actress or TVB show?


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15 Responses to “Bewitched. Reflections of the past.”
  1. cheryl says:

    hey hi. just came here by referral. it's surprising to come across your blog and i truly believe that you look awesome in that profile picture ;) impressive blog!

    i do but only during the time that when the drama is playing on tv. mere exposure perhaps. right now since here in LA it's a little bit "slower", we still having the drama about the cheeky investigator, whereas i think you played in one of the stories as mr. anderson. yea, but i don't think such bond is strong... it clears away after watching the LOTR trilogy spontaneously *oops*

  2. mina says:

    i'm such a romance dork since i always develop a crush on a certain character, then i'll start looking up the actor online and get all gushy waiting for the next episodes to arrive at the video rental store. ...but it never lasts for more than like, two weeks, so it's hardly a bond..and unless the storyline is truly original, it's hard to recollect these characters again.

    i get what you mean, those shows that become classics are the ones that we can identify with in a period in our lives-expecially the ones that we grew up with. i suppose even the best tvb series are lacking in such short runs--however, a good argument would be the fact that most movies are only a short 2 hours and many have become classics and have good cult fan bases. all in all, i guess the audience's bond to the characters would have more to do with the quality of the actor, storyline, and of course, the broadcasting/marketing strategies.

  3. shelley says:

    I have been reading your blog periodically since it was first mentioned on a bravenet site that I frequent. It's great to be able to see another side of the people we watch on TV. I must also say that your chinese is very impressive...

    As a youngster, I remember watching shows like Gilligan's Island and I Dream of Jeannie ... The Brady Bunch, The Monkeys... but I think I was a bit too young back then to remember much of what happened in those shows. I guess I was also much more into watching TVB series... so like Legend of the Condor Heroes (Felix Wong), Return of the Condor Heros (Andy Lau)... I really enjoyed those shows and the casting of the various characters. But then, if I remember correctly, those two TVB series were probably upwards of 60-80 episodes. I've always enjoyed watching tv series with people such as Jessica Hsuen, Maggie Siu or Esther Kwan. There's also a selection of male leads that I enjoy watching their series... does that count too?

    Just a note though... sometimes, I find that there are some series which may drag on for far too long and one loses interest in them. For example, I think I did manage to watch the whole of A Kindred Spirit (or at least most of it, missing an episode here or there)... but I think there were times that I felt it just expanded and extended itself a bit too much. I was glad when it finally did end with a happy ending though.

  4. Diana says:

    there were some series that i liked that went on for a while, a few parts. for example the detective investigation series, and files of justic. those were classic, cause i loved the cast (it featured so many people)

    but my example of your "bewitched" would be journey to the west (the one with dicky cheung), i used to love it (and still do) when i was a kid, and i recorded the whole series cause it was really addicting to kids like us. and i just started to rewatch it a few days ago. x)

  5. Amy says:

    TVB doesn't do long series like in Hollywood. The only long shows that TVB does are like Virtues of Harmonies which at the end of the day, all the actors and actresses have changed so drastically that I can't really remember who were the main actors when it started. And the storyline gets boring and predictable. Most probably because TVB only like to use those who are very famous now and neglect others. Unlike series like 'Bewitched' where they will surely use the same people all the way till the end of season

  6. Elizabeth says:

    My childhood shows were reruns of Three's Company, Family Ties, Facts of Life, Saved by the Bell, Bewitched, I Love Lucy, Full House. My favorite was Full House and I completely bonded with the baby Olsen Twins :)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Oops, forgot to answer your question. The TVB character that I have the deepest impression and the most loved was Barbara Yung in The Legend of Condor Heros 1983. I watched it for the first time 10 years after the show was made & I've never had a favorite TVB series like that one. I was so heartbroken to learn she passed away :(

  8. sapphire says:



  9. John says:

    I've always compared TVB serials to sitcoms or dramas from the UK; both being pretty much extended mini-series'.

    You're right about having more seasons to promote character bonding. From the top of my head, shows like "Healing Hands", "Investigation Detective Files" (one of my faves) and "Files of Justice" are all held in high regard by most if not all viewers. As well, they all have at least 3 seasons worth of episodes. Coincidence?

    I think having more than one season also helps with the story development. I feel that often unneccesary story arcs are thrown in near the end of the shows run to fill in space and time. If the show had another season, then these plot lines can be better developed, producing a finer show.

  10. wen says:

    actually, one of the exceptional TVB series was the 100-episode "War of the Genders". I really really loved Miss Mo's and Ah-Lok's characters in that. :)

  11. michelle says:

    Hi there,

    Just recently I travelled to Hong Kong for the first time and during my time there I watched many TVB series. I loved watching them although I do not understand alot of Cantonese, nor speak it. Being Malaysian Chinese and living in Australia, I was brought up speaking English although my dad is able to speak Cantonese. I was just wondering how you learnt to speak Cantonese coz I am trying to learn but the only thing that is holding me back is the tone of words. Also, how long have you been in HK for?


  12. 河國榮 says:


    lots of people keep asking me that question. I haven't answered up until now because I'm not exactly sure how I learnt the language.

    the tones are very important. they're also very difficult to get right. I still use the wrong tones with many characters, especially during filming because of the extra stress of acting and speaking/memorising a foreign language at the same time.

    if someone wants to learn Cantonese well, I'd suggest that they find an accurate recording of the tones and 'sing along' with the recording every day until their ears and brains adjust to what they're hearing. years ago when I began learning, I picked up a copy of Cantonese in 100 Hours. it was the key that allowed me to pick up the language. it had a full table of the tones in the book and on the cassette. if you look, you'll probably find other courses; CD or tape; with similar tone tables. they'll be a big help.

    Ho Kwok Wing

  13. Geoffrey Lee says:

    流金歲月is one of tvb's 40 eposiode drama and i reckon it sor tof reflects the current society of people's love of moeny and power. Overall i reckon 流金歲月is a pretty good tvb drama eposide and one of the best tvb drama where love, humor was pretty well blend in together. By the way great to see you back from the U.K it's almost Australia day here in Australia well Happy Australia day i guess...

  14. AndreaS says:

    Like Michelle, i am a Malaysian Chinese, and i think you have done a superb job on your cantonese. like many of my friends, i remember you as the various 鬼佬characters you played(police, diplomats,etc)and thought it pretty cool that you could speak as well(90%)as the locals.

    In my opinion, the problem with long running TVB serials is that they tend to stray from the story line and often change the leads. take for example "Healing Hands". for every new installment of the series, 程至美(the good doctor) had to have a new female lead, so to explain the sudden change in actresses, the old girlfriend either died or had some sort of unfortunate circustance... so much so the people i knew started referring to him as the "jinxed doctor". this is pretty disheartening, and i am sure many who have watched the show would agree that it was awful seeing him waiting for his girlfriend to survive a coma in the 1st season only to be killed by a fire almost as soon as she wakes up... talk about a major let down... sheesh...

  15. Christinr says:

    bewitched is such classic! i'm still watching it everyday