The Unmagical, Magical Roommate, An Idea For A TV Reboot, Fiction


Words of the outside world. Free fiction. Clarkesworld: Bots of the Lost Ark, by Suzanne Palmer, Issue 177 – June 2021. Hugo Winner Best Novelette, Announcing the 2022 Hugo Award Winners, Sep 4, 2022.


Reboot of I Dream of Jeannie & Bewitched where the occult person is male.

Premise is that the charming but inept main character is must adapt to life as a vanilla human. He is magical/has magic but must not use it for undefined Plot Reasons. Since he is used to relying on magic, he has trouble with basic tasks of daily living. Hijinks ensue.

Since Occult Person is in hiding among humans, he can’t use magic or he will be discovered. However, he must use a small level of magic for phlebotinistic reasons. Perhaps magic is providing his disguise/covering his tracks. Therefore, he can’t go cold turkey and just be human, but he can’t use too much. Thus temptation is always present to just do a little but more, thereby creating a renewable source of narrative tension.

Since he is in hiding, he can’t/won’t discuss his past, which means show writers don’t have provide background or answer questions. Where is the rest of the Magical World? What are the capabilities/limitations of magic? What form of magical being is he, witch, genie, djinn, whatever?

Having the Occult Person as male removes the troublesome overtones of Berating the Little Woman in the predecessors.

Occult person could be Handsome Prince in Hiding.

Occult person could be Lovable Rogue getting What He Deserves.

Human partner is in the know. A member of a family that has an alliance with the Magical World. A body guard. An officer with Occult Witness Protection.

Human partner is not in the know. Occult Person must provide zany explanations when Situations Arise. Maybe he says he’s from France.

If human partner is male, buddy comedy.

If human partner is female, romance.

If show wants to avoid being hetero-normative, female human partner is gay. Folks within the show assume a romance but she is deeply uninterested. Actually this is possible if the female partner is straight but show runners do not seem capable of having a man and woman on the screen without them eventually falling into bed. A rant for another day.

Or go Left Hand of Darkness and have the occult person played by a man and a woman. Screen time is given to whichever actor is narratively useful at the moment, much to the confusion of the human partner. Gendered hijinks ensue!

—Roll Credits—

TV Shows
I Dream of Jeannie
My Favorite Martian
Mork & Mindy

What other shows would you put on this list?

Moonlighting Curse

“It’s perhaps best known for being the classic example of how a show can fall apart when Unresolved Sexual Tension is resolved (in fact, outside of this wiki, Shipping Bed Death will occasionally be known as the “Moonlighting Curse”,)” TV Tropes: Series / Moonlighting

Moonlighting‘s Dave and Maddie. Despite this trope occasionally being known as Moonlighting Syndrome, the show didn’t really suffer from the leads getting together, it suffered from the leads not being in the same room for about a year afterward. There was no point at which they were together as a couple at all.” TV Tropes: Shipping Bed Death, LIve Action TV

In case your coolness quotient is as low as mine.

Business Insider: ‘I ship them’ — the strange concept that’s changing the way people talk about relationships, Kircher, 2015.

Urban Dictionary: bed death.


%d bloggers like this: