Samantha and Darin Stephens' little girl is all grown up and out on her own in TABITHA, the enchanting spin-off series. Starring Lisa Hartman as a young, single working witch, Tabitha adds a little magic and fun to the lives of her relatives and friends including mortal brother Adam (David Ankrum), guardian witch Aunt Minerva (Karen Morrow) and Paul Thurston (Mel Stewart). Includes the entire 12-episode run plus the rarely seen original pilot episode starring Liberty Williams and Bruce Kimmel as the Stephens siblings.
It seems that this short-lived 1977 spinoff was not so much trying to recapture the magic of Bewitched
as it was The Mary Tyler Moore Show
. Like Mary, Lisa Hartman's Tabitha was an independent single woman working for a low-rent local television station. Where Mary had a letter "M" hanging on her wall, Tabitha had a "T." Tabitha, however, tried to turn our world on, not with a smile, but with a twitch of her nose. And without the benefit of brilliant writers or an able ensemble, Hartman was just not up to taking a nothing premise and suddenly making it all seem worthwhile. Tabitha, now a witchy woman, works as an assistant at KXLA with her mortified mortal brother, Adam, to whom she promises to "cut down on the nose action" (in the more-interesting unaired pilot included on this two-disc set, Adam is a warlock trying to lure his sister to the dark side). Tabitha
is an exercise in diminished returns. Mel Stuart, as the beleaguered station manager, is no Ed Asner; a pre-Spenser
Robert Urich, as the obnoxious, egomaniacal talk show host, is no Ted Knight; and Karen Morrow, as Tabitha's meddlesome, troublemaking aunt Minerva, is no Agnes Moorehead.
Not that Tabitha is without its TV Land charms. Reprising their roles from the original series are Sandra Gould and a bearded George Tobias as Gladys and Abner Kravitz in "The Arrival of Nancy," and Bernard Fox as Dr. Bombay in "Tabitha's Party." These episodes also feature welcome appearances by, respectively, Fred Willard as a gold-chain-wearing swinger and Werner "Col. Klink" Klemperer. For undiscriminating couch potatoes, Tabitha, may cast an irresistible guilty pleasure spell. However, fans of the original series will probably feel less bewitched than bothered and bewildered. --Donald Liebenson