In 2004, Herbie J Pilato served as a consultant on the Bewitched feature film. Having penned the TV show's tome, Bewitched Forever, in the 1990s with participation from many of the surviving cast and crew, Herbie J has carved out a niche as the go-to guy for all things Bewitched. So, when he read the script, he submitted the following notes in the hopes of keeping as much of the spirit and authenticity of the original TV show in this modern adaptation.
This list of formal suggestions may contain spoilers for those who have not read the script or the script review on this site. Below is the complete list submitted to Nora Ephron and the new Bewitched movie production team.
1. THE UMBRELLA
Employing the use of a BUTTON denotes SCIENCE FICTION, whereas eliminating the button, and replacing it with a MAGIC PASS denotes FANTASY. That is to say, instead of Isabel pressing a button to unfold the umbrella, the umbrella should UNWRAP ITSELF MAGICALLY. This will also present the opportunity for Isabel’s immediate introduction as to how she manifest’s her magic (via her EAR TUG or INDEX AND/OR MIDDLE FINGER TO RIGHT FOREHEAD TEMPLE – which see later).
2. THE CHARACTER NAMES
The name ISABEL is Spanish for ELIZABETH - the first name of original Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery. This should be relayed in some way in the script.
Jack Wyatt’s wife in the film is named SHEILA, and LARRY is the name given the show-runner of the new Bewitched TV series that is being produced WITHIN the movie. And the girlfriend of the new TV show’s Darrin is named HILLARY. All of this may prove confusing to the audience – and incongruent with the film’s ultimate purpose and presentation. Here’s why.
With regards to Sheila/Hillary: Sheila was Darrin’s fiancée before he met Samantha on the original series. This should be kept consistent with the script. Why not simply switch the names? If Jack is NOT Darrin (and he only plays Darrin on the new show), then why confuse the matter and have Jack’s REAL LIFE GIRLFRIEND be named Sheila?
Same goes for LARRY, which is the first name of LARRY TATE, Darrin’s boss from the original series. Why confuse the audience by bringing in ANOTHER LARRY – and ANOTHER SHEILA – when the film is doing such a good job of distinguishing itself from the original series – and yet logically incorporating the original series into a new TV show (within a movie)?
So for clarity sake, it would be beneficial to  Switch the name of JACK’S WIFE from Sheila to HILLARY, and switch the name of the new DARRIN’S GIRLFRIEND from Hillary to SHEILA – and  Change the name of the new show’s showrunner from Larry to any other name (KENNY?) and retain the LARRY name for the original LARRY TATE character for the POTENTIAL SEQUEL.
Also, the original Bewitched characters of AUNT CLARA, UNCLE ARTHUR, DR. BOMBAY, and ABNER and GLADYS KRAVITZ are incorporated into the film. But are they conjured up logically within the illogic?
Let’s begin with AUNT CLARA: Aunt Clara comes about by having the Samantha doll (with which Isabel is gifted via Jack’s gift basket) twitch her nose. This is cute. But it would serve the film if it was clearly explained WHY the doll twitches – and is able to conjure up Aunt Clara.
And later, the original UNCLE ARTHUR from the original series first visits Jack Wyatt in his dreams, and then materializes in real life? Again, WHY does this happen? HOW does it happen?
And before that, DR. BOMBAY from the original series is conjured up by Isabel, taking a nod from Samantha’s TV incantation. THIS WORKS - because it is clearly defined how this magic manifestation transpires.
But the conjuring up of Abner and Gladys Kravitz, Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur, and the doll’s coming to life and twitching is confusing - as to the WHYS and HOWS of these events taking place.
ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION:
Because Isabel has journeyed to the mortal realm – and becomes so entangled in the remake of Bewitched, ATMOSPHERIC DIMENSIONAL wires are crossed, and real magic criss-crosses with TV magic. This is what is happening, but it has to be explained within the content of the film.
THE ANSWER: Simply have Isabel ask Dr. Bombay, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? In one brief explanation, Dr. Bombay could clear up the confusion for Isabel – AND THE AUDIENCE. An interchange between the two could then take place, explaining how this criss-cross between REALITY MAGIC AND FANTASY MAGIC has caused Isabel’s AUNT CLARA and UNCLE ARTHUR to not look exactly like they did on the original series (clearly because MARION LORNE and PAUL LYNDE ARE DEAD – and other actors have to be cast as Clara and Arthur).
HOWEVER, BERNARD FOX, who played the original Dr. Bombay, is STILL ALIVE. And he could still play Isabel’s Dr. Bombay. And this would be explained again by one simple line in which Isabel would ask,
BUT, DR. BOMBAY – HOW COME YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME?
And his reply could be:
AH HA…QUITE ASTUTE OF YOU, ISABEL. APPARENTLY, BECAUSE IT WAS YOU WHO DIRECTLY AND CONSCIOUSLY CONJURED ME UP FROM THE BEWITCHED REALM, AS IT WERE, as it were, I AM AN EXACT DUPLICATE OF THE ORIGINAL DR. BOMBAY.
3. THE MEETING
In either case, Dr. Bombay’s aforementioned explanation could go on to include:
Having Jack and Isabel initially meet in a revolving door, just as Samantha and Darrin met. Only instead of Sam and Darrin meeting in the revolving door of Darrin’s office building, Jack and Isabel could meet in the revolving door of the bookstore.
In which case, Dr. Bombay could say to Isabel:
ALRIGHT, THEN. LET’S TRACE YOUR STEPS BACK TO WHEN YOU FIRST MET JACK WYATT.
He conjures up a screen, and we see the first meeting.
He thinks a moment, and asks Isabel:
AND HOW DID DARRIN AND SAMANTHA MEET?
Isabel puts in the video of the original Bewitched pilot – and Bombay magically halts the screen when it comes to the revolving door scene.
Bombay then concludes:
THAT THE CRISS-CROSS OR OVERLAP OF FANTASY MAGIC AND REAL MAGIC TRANSPIRED BECAUSE Real Witch Isabel and Jack met in the same way off-screen that Fantasy Witch Samantha and Darrin met on-screen.
THE MAGIC FREQUENCIES, ON-SCREEN AND OFF, AS IT WERE, Bombay goes on to explain, have been INADVERTENLY INTERMINGLED.
Again – LOGIC within the ILLOGIC.
4. THE NORMAL REFERENCE
It is so wonderful that Isabel comes to Earth because she wants to live like a regular human being - seeking to be what she calls NORMAL. But the issue is: In this sensitive, politically correct world, the word NORMAL may seem offensive to particular minority groups, namely – the gay community – which just happens to be one of the largest fan bases of Bewitched – thus offending the very core of what many feel is the message of people: PREJUDICE.
It would serve the film more if the word NORMAL is replaced with REGULAR or even MORTAL-LIKE, or something of this nature.
5. THE MUSIC
There is a plethora of music associated with Bewitched, everything from the
original theme music to Elizabeth Montgomery as Serena singing the IFFIN, IFFIN song, and Serena and Boyce and Hart singing BLOW YOU A KISS IN THE WIND – all of which could be used to their fullest capacity in the film.
Could include a NEW, JAZZY version of original Bewitched theme (with BRAND NEW LYRICS) could be integrated into the score by HARRY CONNICK, JR.
And: Established classic hits like I’M ONLY HUMAN by the Human League. And EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC by The Police.
6. THE CINEMATOGRAPHY
When doing the remake TV Bewitched scenes utilize the original cinematography from the original series to distinguish the scenes from the rest of the film. Because essentially, the film is three parts.  The Isabel/Jack storyline  The Samantha/Darrin remake storyline  The two together as one.
The overlap between the original Bewitched and the Bewitched feature film, and the new Bewitched series WITHIN the Bewitched feature film is awesome – but again – it could prove confusing for the audience without clear definitions and boundaries – and the two alternate cinematographies could help this along.
7. THE WARDROBE
Isabel should have a witches’ wardrobe just as Samantha did. But they should clearly be distinguished from the other.
On the original series, Samantha would wear what she called her FLYING SUIT. It was a long black gown with a green breastplate. It is a staple of the series.
Isabel should wear this gown at least once when playing Samantha in the remake Bewitched scenes.
Isabel herself should first be seen in her own gown. Maybe A DEEP YELLOW. Just as long as it’s elegant and different from what she will wear as Samantha.
8. THE AUDIENCE
The original Bewitched was not filmed in front of an audience. The goal for the remade Bewitched is get a different feel, but should the remake scenes include an audience?
PAGE 7: Nigel, Isabel’s father, asks: “Does your mother know about this?” Isabel replies: “She disappeared again.”
Disappeared? Disappeared WHERE? It might be fun to then have Nigel ask the same thing: DISAPPEARED? DISAPPEARED WHERE? To which Isabel could reply with something like, THE 14TH CENTURY, which would be in keeping with the original show’s humor (and which Samantha actually said about Endora when Darrin asked where she was).
ALSO ON PAGE 7: Soon afterwards, Isabel says, “That was my last THING as a witch,” regarding her choosing attempt to give up witchcraft. How about, “That was my last MAGICAL MANIFESTATION?”
PAGE 8: Isabel says THING again.
PAGE 25: Isabel says: “I wasn’t allowed to watch Bewitched.” And again on…
PAGE 29: Nigel says: “Bewitched. It’s an insult to our way of life.”
These statements may be interpreted, consciously or subconsciously, by Bewitched fans as negative and put-downs to the original series, and ultimately prove rejective for the mainstream. Why wasn’t Isabel allowed to watch? Sybil Danning, real witch, LOVED Bewitched.
PAGE 30: When Jack is in the Polo Lounge, feeling alone, instead of REM’s song, EVERYBODY HURTS SOMETIME, why not have Jack sing a slow version of one of the songs that Elizabeth Montgomery sang as Serena. For example, a melancholy version of BLOW YOU A KISS IN THE WIND, would be awesome. She sings this in the original Bewitched episode, entitled, SERENA STOPS THE SHOW.
This means that at some point we have to see JACK WATCHING EPISODES of Bewitched – just as Isabel does at some point (when she watches the original Bewitched pilot).
PAGE 34: When the E! anchor questions Jack’s career decision to play Darrin, what if the anchor says, the THIRD Darrin?
PAGE 36: Darrin’s last name is spelled STEPHENS, with a PH.
PAGE 40: Endora/Iris says, “My poor baby, this is simply…horrible.” Instead of “horrible,” how about DREADFUL – more melodramatic - more like Endora.
PAGE 41: Endora/Iris says, “Deal with it, Derwood,” in response to Darrin wondering if she just called him an “acre of crabgrass”. How about Endora/Iris responding instead with: WELL, CRABGRASS IS CLEARLY AN APPROPRIATE FIT ALONGSIDE YOUR NAME, WOULDN’T YOU SAY, DERWEED - which is an actually one of the nicknames that Endora called Darrin.
PAGE 43: MARIA says, “The guy who played the janitor on the show about the nurse?” Don’t get it.
PAGE 49: There WERE indeed women writers on the original Bewitched series.
PAGE 52: Nigel could say instead: “Well, if it isn’t my lovely spellcasting magical daughter who TEMPORARILIY DISPOSED OF HER HERITAGE FOR THE MORTAL LIFE? You had a quite a day, didn’t you?”
PAGE 62: Instead of Maria saying, “Far out!” How about, OH, HOW BUFFY!
PAGE 68: The word “hex” seems somewhat dated. It may be best to stick with SPELL throughout for consistency.
PAGE 71: Make Isabel a VEGETERIAN…which is more in keeping with the Wiccan way.
PAGE 73: Stronger incantation for ISABEL:
What witches REQUEST, no mortal REQUIRES
Let time repent, and unsow its DESIRES…
PAGE 74: Isabel THROWS the Samantha doll in closet? May be perceived as too mean-spirited by Bewitched fans.
PAGE 76: Isabel’s speech re what Bewitched is about:
“…Bewitched is about TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHO LOVE EACH OTHER DESPITE THOSE DIFFERENCES, AND THEY CONCENTRATE ON WHAT MAKES THEM THE SAME. AND YOU KNOW WHAT MAKES THEM THE SAME? YOU KNOW WHAT? THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER, THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM THE SAME…THEIR ABILITY TO AGREE TO DISAGREE AND TO TALK ABOUT THEIR PROBLEMS…REGULAR PROBLEMS, like, like…I hate my mother-in-law and what color should we paint the kitchen?”
[NOTE: At some point in the Samantha/Darrin remake scenes, Samantha could say:
I HAPPEN TO THINK COOKING ON A STOVE IS A LOT MORE FUN THAN USING WITCHCRAFT. I ALSO ENJOY TAKING CARE OF MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN IN THE EVERYDAY MORTAL WAY (which is what she actually said in the original Bewitched episode, entitled, DARRIN THE WARLOCK).]
PAGE 78: ANOTHER REFERENCE TO JACK WATCHING BEWITCHED. By this time, he could have also viewed the episode, A IS FOR AARDVARK, which is considered the quintessential episode. Here, Samantha cries real tears over her love for Darrin, and Darrin later gifts her with a watch, that says, “I love you every second.”
Maybe when Jack and Isabel cry with each other, Jack could whip out a similar watch with a similar inscription.
PAGE 81: At the top, re Endora, Darrin could say: WELL, IF IT ISN’T GOOD OL’ SMOKEY THE BORE, which is what Darrin actually said to Endora on the original series.
PAGE 86: When calling Dr. Bombay, could use, PAGING or CALLING….
PAGE 109: Insert for Dr. Bombay:
HA, HA, HA, HA….NOTHING. – one of his most famous phrases.
PAGE 110: As noted elsewhere, Bombay might TAKE ISABEL’S PULSE VIA HER RIGHT TEMPLE (her magic manifestation instead of the ear tug – and say, REMEMBER…IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND, MY DEAR – as he leaves her).
PAGE 111: Dr. Bombay says “Nope,” which is somewhat un-Bombay-like. Instead, how about HARDLY.
And later on the same page:
Bombay should say, I’M A WITCH DOCTOR, not just “doctor”.
To which Isabel could reply: I WISH YOU WOULDN’T CALL YOURSELF THAT… - which is how Darrin responded on the original series).
PAGE 116: RE Uncle Arthur and the driving.
That was NOT Uncle Arthur in the driving episode of Bewitched. That was PAUL LYNDE’s first appearance on the show as HAROLD HAROLD – a mortal – and ANOTHER CHARACTER. This performance then so impressed the show’s producers, he was later hired as Uncle Arthur. YET – Samantha does teach Lynde’s UNCLE ARTHUR to drive in a later episode, entitled, SUPER ARTHUR.
In either case, this is easily remedied. When Jack makes the reference, Uncle Arthur could correct him by saying:
WELL, THIS GETS COMPLICATED…ORIGINALLY, THAT WASN’T ME. THAT WAS ANOTHER CHARACTER PLAYED BY PAUL LYNDE. HAROLD HAROLD. HOWEVER, SAMANTHA DID INDEED TRY TO TEACH ME HOW TO DRIVE IN A LATER EPISODE OF THE ORIGINAL SERIES.
But overall, the best suggestion? Probably should eliminate the driving reference altogether.
PAGE 123: Don’t include Abner at all, or the tree reference, and only have Gladys say, “ABNER!!!!!!”