If ever we could use a little magic in our lives, we need it in May 2020, am I right?
That's terrific timing for the return of Good Witch, one of the most enchanting series on television.
Good Witch stars Catherine Bell as Cassie, a highly perceptive woman, as she navigates community life and family in the quaint town of Middletown while somehow always managing to lift those around her when they most need the encouragement.
We had a chance to catch up with Bell before the premiere. Making the most of our unfortunate environment, Bell was looking over her backyard, home to a garden she tends lovingly, and there were birds cheerfully chirping in the background.
It would seem that a lot of Cassie's charm comes directly from the star.
When Good Witch first premiered as a one-off film in 2008, Bell had no idea it would still be around 12 years later.
"It was a cute little movie, The Good Witch, with a start, middle, and end. She moves to the town, renovates the house, falls in love, and the end," Bell said.
"Then a year later they're like, 'Hey, that was really fun. Let's do it again,' and I said, 'Great.' And I thought that was the end of it. And then there was a third one, and I thought, 'Wow, a trilogy. How cool.' And then there was more. It just kept going."
There is a lot to love about the franchise and the show, and Bell can't help but realize the influence Cassie has not only on fans but in her life, too.
"I think I enjoy the same things that other people tell me they enjoy about her. I've had times where I'm on set, and we film in Toronto, and I live in LA, so my family's here, my whole life is back here in LA, and I'm in Toronto.
"Maybe I'm missing people, or maybe I'm dealing with some whatever problems back at home, life stuff, and then I got to do a scene and somehow the lines and that character, it just transforms me.
"There have been actual times where I'm doing a scene, and it relates to what I'm doing in my life, and it's almost like Cassie's giving me the same advice. And we finish the scene, I get back on the phone handling whatever back here, and it affects me. It's actually helped me.
"I go, 'Wait a minute. Okay. What would Cassie do here? Okay, all right. Take a deep breath. Let's not yell at this person. Okay, what would she do? All right. It's going to be okay.' I actually had it help me in my life, so I think that's probably what I like most about her."
Good Witch Season 6 is the first time since the premiere of the franchise that Cassie will be spending a little more time on herself than mothering her children.
Bell thinks fans will enjoy the focus on adults, even if they (and she, too) will miss the exuberancy Grace and Nick brought to the story.
"I adore those guys, and I miss them terribly. Bailee and I just really became like a mother-daughter little team. I definitely miss having her around. We had such great scenes together.
But as Cassie would say, if I had to look at the bright side of that, the bright side is that the kids are gone, so now you've got Sam and Cassie kind of empty nesters," Bell said. "They're still in the honeymoon phase, so they're in love, and that's wonderful. They're not taking care of the kids, so they get to focus on their relationship.
"Also, they both start picking up some hobbies, things that they always wanted to do and never had time for.
"There is a really great episode and scene where Cassie gets into pottery, and she's trying to teach Sam, and it's kind of a fun moment of how he does at pottery, which is not very good. I'm going to give you a little secret, a little tip. He's not very good," Bell laughs.
"But finding those hobbies and also focusing on -- I don't want to give too much away -- but there are just some things that Cassie's always wanted to do with her life, and she starts to explore some of those things. And then it also allows, I think, more time for some of the other relationships to evolve.
"So you've got all of the different characters are now in love, falling in love, or trying to be in love, but curses are stopping them with one of the couples. There are all sorts of things going on in Middleton."
The renewed focus on the adults offers Cassie and Sam to discover more about each other inside of their relationship, too.
"I think there's been a couple of moments where they start to realize there's been some conflict between them in a good, Hallmark kind of way, conflict where they're like, 'Oh, that's not how I would do that.' And they are different; they're very different people.
"But then in how they go, 'Okay, well we can have this drive us apart because we're so different,' or we can go, 'Well, wait a minute, we're different, and that's kind of interesting that you did it that way and what can I learn from that.
"And they start to affect each other in ways that I think are kind of cool if people in a relationship can allow that to happen, become better for it. Where you pick up some of the good of the other person and maybe somehow learn from each other. I think we start to see more of that this season, for sure."
When it comes to the other relationships that Bell enjoys exploring on the show, Sarah Power's Abigail shoots straight to the top of the list.
"I love how Sarah plays [Abigail], and I love the character. She's not a bad witch, but she's got a bit of a wicked side that Cassie's always trying to reel in.
"And so we have a lot of fun in our scenes together because it's us sort of like, 'I wouldn't do it that way,' and she's trying to do it a certain way, and somehow we find our way in that, because they both have some of these magical witchy abilities," Bell laughed.
There's a new face on the horizon about which Bell is very excited. "There's a new character that I can't tell you much about because it's sort of a big reveal, but Kat Barrell, played by Kat Barrell, that you're going to meet in the first episode, and I'm very excited about this character.
"She's going to be with us throughout the season. And she comes to town and is a bit of a mystery and enigma that, of course, Cassie seems to understand better than everyone else. So that's an interesting journey figuring out who she is."
For those of you who aren't aware, Barrell has a huge fan base, and it will be exciting to see what new viewers get lured to Middleton as a result of her joining the show.
Can you really talk with Catherine Bell without mentioning her breakout television role as Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie, aka Mac from the hit series JAG? Of course not, especially since she's since reprised the role on NCIS: Los Angeles.
About her return, Bell said, "Oh my goodness. There was a lot of excitement about that. I wasn't the only one which was nice. I was super excited to put that uniform back on. It was such a big part of my life; it was my first big series.
"I was like 26 when I got that show and nine of years of my life, and it's just such a great character. She's so strong and so intelligent, so powerful. So I loved it."
While she's committed to doing Good Witch and the filming often runs concurrently, she's not averse to seeing what else the future holds for Mac in the NCIS universe.
"We keep talking about that. It looks like they're coming back, and assuming that happens, I think I'll be doing some more episodes. We ended the season with kind of a cliffhanger of what's going to happen to this Navy SEAL, so Mac would, of course, have to come back and maybe prosecute or be involved in the courtroom. I think that would be exciting."
In 2010, when I first began covering television online, one of the first shows that I covered was Army Wives. On the Lifetime series, Bell played lead character, Denise Sherwood. Would she be open to revisiting that character if she got the opportunity, and where does she imagine Denise might be now?
"Gosh. For sure, it was another one of those great experiences that I would definitely go back to if it was a movie or something like that. That would be amazing. Yeah. Gosh, where is she now?
"That's a very good question. I have to think about that one, but she was such a great character to play. Another one who really evolved and came out of her shell and became much stronger over the course of that show. So much happened to her and in her life. Wow."
Bell agrees that she's been fortunate with the characters she plays, many of which I suggest have an influential nature.
"I've really been fortunate," she begins. "They're all so different. It's so interesting. My three big TV characters have all been very different people."
And the love she's gotten from fans for her various roles isn't lost on Bell. "It's one of the most rewarding things to get fan mail or comments on social media or whatever, just the people that have been moved in some way to improve their lives or to be more like Mac or whoever, to just somehow have an effect on people.
"I think it's the greatest thing to know that we have that ability as an artist, as an actor, that you can affect people and touch their lives in some way, whether it's just a scene that makes them feel better about their lives or understand something in their life better. That's always been a big part of why I love doing what I do.
When she's not busy creating characters to entertain us, Bell has a very full life. Traveling between filming in Toronto and her family in Los Angeles has its challenges, but Bell finds that easing between the two somewhat easy.
"Usually, I'm taking care of or being with kids. I go into full-time mom mode when I'm not filming. Just taking care of the kids and driving them to school and homework and whatever, volunteering at school, and stuff like that. I love it.
"It's quite a shifting of gears when I've been away filming for five months in Toronto, and then I come back, and I go into that mode. It always takes me a minute, but then I get into it, and I really love being home and gardening. Got a little vegetable garden now. Cooking more.
"I finally picked up art again. I love art, and just with the quarantine, I'm like, "All right, kids. Get off the computers, get off the iPads. Let's do an art project." And so I'll draw and paint, which is really nice."
Between her mother's hope that she'd be a doctor and her love of art, Bell landed in the field of entertainment, but she still finds time to create. " I drawing. I love faces. I love charcoal and pencils and just kind of doing really realistic faces. I'm doing one of Marilyn right now, a really cool picture of Marilyn Monroe."
Be still my beating heart! Bell shared the photo she chose in some detail. It's a photo I had saved a while ago. Her face is down; it's a lot of shadow. Not sad. It is kind of maybe reflective," she said of her choice of photos of the legendary Monroe at an age she was at the height of her career.
When asked what she's looking forward to doing once our current climate begins to resemble some semblance of normalcy, Bell knows exactly where her heart lies. "The first thing that came to mind was just getting together with all my friends. Having everyone come over and we'd just hang out in the house on the couch. Hug people. Just that closeness."
Good Witch Season 6 Episode 1 premieres tonight on Hallmark Channel at 9/8c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.