It's no stretch to say Catherine Bell has cast a spell over viewers.
The co-star of Lifetime's “Army Wives” has found another ongoing success in her recurring series of “Good Witch” TV movies for Hallmark Channel. She recently signed for a fifth film, but before that begins production, the fourth one — the comedy-fantasy “The Good Witch's Family” — makes its debut Saturday, appropriately just before Halloween.
In the latest tale, the somewhat magical Cassie (Bell) considers her life reasonably normal as the new wife of the local police chief (Chris Potter) and stepmother to his children (Matthew Knight, Hannah Endicott-Douglas). But discord suddenly settles over the household, as well as the whole town, and Cassie finally traces it to the source: her troublemaker cousin (Sarah Power).
“It's really incredible,” the friendly Bell says of reaching her fourth “Good Witch” round, with at least one more definite. “People ask me all the time, ‘When's the next one coming out?' It's really struck a note with a lot of people ... men and women, adults and kids. It's very rare that kind of appeal happens, so I like it.”
Despite the “Good Witch” moniker, the new story and its forerunners never have confirmed that Cassie actually is a sorceress. That's one of the elements Bell enjoys most, since she reasons, “What she has could just really be great intuition. She understands people well and has good senses, and I certainly know people in life who are like that. You just never quite know, and that's the mystery of it.”
After last season's “Army Wives” episodes that saw the death of her alter ego Denise Sherwood's son in combat, Bell welcomed a return to the much more fanciful “Good Witch” spirit. It can be tricky to maintain that over the course of several movies, but she believes consistency among the cast and crew has been key. “We've had the same director for all of them (Craig Pryce), and that's helped. He knows when to throw in the right tone at the right moments.”