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Archive for Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cassandra, the bland witch

October 29, 2011

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I’ve long been vaguely fascinated by the “Good Witch” movies starring Catherine Bell (“Army Wives”) as the blandly bewitching Cassandra Nightingale. For reasons I can’t quite explain, I’m bowled over by their banality. I’m staggered by the predictability and amazed by the false soap-opera quality of the dialogue. Mostly, I’m intrigued by Cassie’s ultra laid-back approach to her craft. If she were any more placid, she’d be in a coma.

“The Good Witch’s Family” (8 p.m., Hallmark), the fourth in the series, throws some complications into the mix. Happily married to police Chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter), Cassie exults in stepmom-dom and running a gift shop in a postcard-perfect town. Looming development galvanizes the forces of quaintness to fight some kind of bridge project, and before we know it, Cassie — a relative newcomer with a reputation for sorcery — becomes a popular candidate for mayor.

But not everything goes smoothly. A distant relation, Abigail (Sarah Power), blows into town, trailing fumes of meddling resentment and trouble. But, as always, the plots to these movies don’t really matter as much as the exasperating unexcitability of Cassie. She glides throughout the story, untroubled and content, spouting fortune cookie aphorisms. It’s as if this were adapted from some comic book called “Sabrina, the Medicated Witch.”

Tonight’s other highlights

• College football action (7 p.m., ABC).

• John Walsh returns to Saturday nights with a two-hour “America’s Most Wanted 50 Fugitives 50 States Special Edition” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Director Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) looks back at the making of U2’s 1991 album “Achtung Baby” in the 2011 documentary “From the Sky Down” (7 p.m., Showtime).

• A kid’s visions upset the baby sitter on “Bedlam” (8 p.m., BBC America).

• Starring Ving Rhames, the 2011 shocker “Zombie Apocalypse” (8 p.m., Syfy) anticipates Halloween. Syfy has commissioned additional holiday-themed films, including “Snowmageddon” for Christmas and “St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun.”

• Press agentry meets paranormal activity as “Celebrity Ghost Stories” (8 p.m., BIO) returns for a fourth season.

• Scheduled on “48 Hours Mystery” (9 p.m., CBS): a tycoon, his fiancee and an NFL star have a date with death.

• Kate Winslet, Rob Brydon, Jamie Bell and Noah and the Whale appear on “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).

• “The Incredible Dr. Pol” (8 p.m., National Geographic Wild) profiles a busy rural veterinarian.

Saturday series

On two episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS): meatballs (7 p.m.), landmarks (7:30 p.m.) ... A case seems familiar to Rossi on “Criminal Minds” (8 p.m., CBS) ... Murder in the park on “Prime Suspect” (8 p.m., NBC) ... A baby’s Halloween horror on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC).

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