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story.lead_photo.caption Good Witch returns to Hallmark Channel for Season 3 today. The series stars Bailee Madison (left) and Catherine Bell as Grace and Cassie Nightingale.

Which witch is the good witch? Hallmark Channel knows, and Good Witch returns with Season 3 at 8 p.m. today.

The series, which stars fan favorite Catherine Bell as sorceress Cassie Nightingale, is part romantic comedy/drama and part fantasy.

Viewers got to know the 48-year-old Bell when she starred as Marine Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie opposite David James Elliott on the hit military/legal series JAG from 1995 to 2005. CBS picked up that series in the second season after NBC canceled it because of low ratings.

The show found a home on CBS, ending up airing in more than 90 countries. JAG spinoffs include NCIS, which spawned NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans.

Bell followed her stint on JAG by playing Denise Sherwood for seven seasons in Lifetime's Army Wives (2007 to 2013).

Bell first played Cassie in Hallmark's 2008 film The Good Witch, which produced six sequels before dropping the The and becoming a TV series in 2015.

In the series, the widowed Cassie moves to the impossibly pristine, prosperous and upscale town of Middleton (the series is shot in Hamilton, Ontario, and environs) with her teenage daughter Grace (Bailee Madison). She becomes the owner of the boutique shop Bell, Book & Candle on Main Street, as well as Grey House Bed & Breakfast.

Grace shares Cassie's special intuitive abilities but, being young, has yet to fully understand them.

Things get interesting in Middleton when divorced Dr. Sam Radford (James Denton, Desperate Housewives) and his teenage son, Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond), move in next door.

The TV-PG, frequently saccharine romance between Cassie and Sam is back on again in Season 3 as they become an official couple.

Saccharine? Of course. No hanky-panky allowed on Hallmark.

In tonight's episode, Cassie and the residents of Middleton anxiously await the rare blooming of the unique plant known as the Middleton Merriwick, which looks like a giant artichoke on a stem. However, when someone takes a cutting, it has a dramatic negative effect on the Merriwick women and their powers.

In other action, Grace is upset not to be the first to learn that her mom and Sam are a couple. Mother and daughter make up (see photo). Also, Grace begins to suspect Nick is going to ask her out, but is worried it'll ruin their friendship.

Added bonus: Catherine Disher is back as Middleton's meddlesome, mouthy and amusing mayor, Martha Tinsdale.

Good Witch is good clean, family friendly fun for those seeking something on TV without the string of alphabet letters following the rating.

Witch trivia: Despite the series' title, Cassie may or may not be an actual witch. She certainly has enhanced intuitive powers, but whether she has real supernatural power is up to each viewer to decide.

There have been plenty of memorable TV witches over the years. They include Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) in Bewitched; Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart) from Sabrina the Teenage Witch; Melisandre (Carice van Houten) from Game of Thrones; Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) of American Horror Story: Coven; Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and the sister witches of Charmed -- Phoebe, Piper and Prue Halliwell (Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Shannen Doherty, respectively).

American Gods premieres at 8 p.m. today on Starz. The series is for extremely discerning viewers and comes by its TV-MA rating deservedly, with all the blood, guts, coarse language and sex scenes you would imagine in an adult offering on premium cable.

The series stars Ricky Whittle as ex-con Shadow Moon. He becomes the bodyguard for the disguised ancient god Odin (Woden) played by Ian McShane. He goes by the name Wednesday. The day of the week comes from the Middle English Wodnesdei, "day of Woden."

Odin is on a quest to reclaim his past glory and makes his way across America rounding up all the old gods, who have made quiet lives for themselves hiding in plain sight.

Weird, weird stuff happens as they confront the new gods, which include Media and Technology.

Kids BBQ Championship is rated TV-G and is about as far from American Gods as you can get. Season 2 of the cooking competition kicks off at 7 p.m. Monday on Food Network.

Damaris Phillips joins fellow Food Network Star winner Eddie Jackson as co-host this season, which features a new format -- each episode is self-contained.

In Monday's first episode, "Bacon, Ribs and Roasts," four new young grillmasters take on two challenges featuring pork. Their dishes are critiqued by guest judges and the young cook deemed the winner walks away with a cool $10,000.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Style on 04/30/2017

Print Headline: Good Witch's wholesome spell is back in Season 3

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