When it comes to Catherine Bell, it’s difficult not to be bewitched by her passion for work and family as she shares the start of Season 7 of Good Witch.
The enchanting show, her third major television series in her career after Jag and Army Wives, takes us to the charming town of Middleton, where everyone happily knows one another’s business and also adores the enchanting Cassie Nightingale, played by Bell.
As Season 7 begins, Cassie and cousins Abigail (Sarah Power), and Joy (Katherine Barrell), try to figure out the significance of the purple velvet pouches of soil mysteriously left for each of them, though they may not have to wait very long for the answer.
Cassie, who is also a co-executive producer, and Sam (James Denton), seem to be two ships passing in the night so they set out on a boating date, only to have engine trouble and end up stranded on an island where Cassie makes a surprising discovery.
Adding to the intrigue, all of Middleton flashes back to the ‘50s when Martha organizes a Grease-themed movie night in the park that ends with a surprise romantic gesture.
“We’ve all had those moments of thinking of someone and they call. Whatever it might be; there’s these little magical moments in life that I find so special,” Bell exclusively told Monsters & Critics about her affinity for various types of magic in our lives.
“I always try to teach my kids (Gemma, 17, and Ronan, 11) that magic is possible,” she explains, “and that you can make things happen that might seem impossible and believing in that.”
Monsters & Critics: Catherine, please tell me a few things that you’re looking forward to in Season 7.
Catherine Bell: Oh, my goodness, what am I not looking forward to? It is my favorite season so far, and I think the whole cast feels that way. It was a really magical season in so many ways. We brought a lot of the magic back, which is so exciting to me. I think there’s more this year with the three Merriwick cousins and our unique powers, intuitions, and the many things that we use to solve some mysteries.
M&C: What do you enjoy about magic and fantasy?
Catherine Bell: I’ve always believed in magic, intuition or positive thinking, religion, spirituality, or whatever that might be for you. I think that there is definitely something more to life than what we just can see and feel with our eyes and our hands.
M&C: Do you also see more comedy in Season 7?
Catherine Bell: Yes. There’s definitely humor. I think we always have a touch of humor and comedy. I was just watching a little scene from the first episode and it’s just so cute and whimsical. I think we’ve always had that and we always will, even though we’re bringing back more magic and there’s some mystery; it’s never going to become a whole different show that will become dark or anything like that. We have the lightness, the fun, and the humor.
M&C: What do you enjoy about Cassie?
Catherine Bell: I think that Cassie has always been light and playful with people, which is how she encourages people to figure out their life or figure out what they’re doing, with humor, with lightness. She is always like, “You’ve got this!” I love those little cute moments that we have on the show.
I love playing Cassie because when I’m on set and having a bad time in my life off set, with some drama or problem I’m handling or helping my kid with and then the next moment, I’m doing a scene where Cassie’s giving someone some advice that’s exactly what I needed to hear. It happens all the time.
M&C: Do you find yourself after seven seasons, did Cassie become more like you? Did you become more like her?
Catherine Bell: Probably a little bit of both. I find that if you’re on a TV show, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be on a few that ran for a long time (including Jag and Army Wives), you’ve done all your research on how this person walks and talks and figuring out what they are thinking.
Because you’re playing this person every day for six, seven, or eight months a year, I think eventually they kind of become more of you, and your own personality sneaks in there more and more. I think it’s hard not to because we’re on set long hours this tends to happen.
M&C: Have you ever been to a place that reminded you of Middleton, the fictional town?
Catherine Bell: Let me think about that. We film in this cute little town called Dundas, which is outside of Hamilton, a smaller city outside of Toronto, Ontario. It’s like a Victorian, turn-of-the-century little town that’s very quaint and people are so nice and friendly, so it definitely has that feel.
M&C: Please talk about working with James Denton and how your relationship has evolved. Like you said, long hours, lots of months, and seven seasons.
Catherine Bell: James is one of the good ones; I just adore him. He’s a regular guy. He’s from Tennessee, now lives in Minneapolis, so he’s not in the L.A., Hollywood world. He just loves to act. He’s great at it. He’s a total pro and we have a lot of fun.
We get into some great, heated debates and discussions, whether it’s politics, whatever, government, COVID-19, all kinds of stuff. We can pretty much have any conversation and we adore each other.
M&C: Did you start any new family rituals or favorite things when you guys were home together during COVID-19?
Catherine Bell: We all got more into playing board games and cards. We spent time watching movies and TV. I caught up on a lot of great things with the kids and on my own. It was just a fun family thing. After we had dinner, there was no place to go, so we would play Scrabble or other games.
It was a nice way of bringing the family together. I watched Planet of the Apes with my son in Calgary and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to watch it, but I ended up loving it. These movies have a lot of heart and a great message.
M&C: What do you enjoy watching on TV?
Catherine Bell: I kind of alternate between Hallmark and something like Handmaid’s Tale, so I like to mix it up.
M&C: Talk about the fact that many generations — the kids, the parents and the grandparents — can sit down and watch Good Witch together.
Catherine Bell: I find that amazing. If someone hasn’t seen it, I describe the show as being family-friendly, which doesn’t mean it’s a kid’s show. I have literally all ages and all genders who love the show. I’m just amazed. It’s got a positive message, and hopefully not boring or anything for the grownups, which is what is so nice about it. I would say it’s a feel-good show.
M&C: What is it like to meet your fans at an event or on social media?
Catherine Bell: I have the best fans. They’re so loyal. I run my own social media, so if I like or comment on Instagram, that’s me. I think people appreciate that, so we have that connection. I really have just good people following me. I’ve been so fortunate the shows I’ve done have been just good shows about good people and good messages. These are good decent people that follow me, some of them from Jag.
M&C: What’s the best thing about motherhood?
Catherine Bell: So, lately, I have my 10-year-old here and he’ll text me in the morning, “Come wake me up,” and that means come cuddle in my bed and do these little stretches my grandmother used to do on me, like crisscross his arms, stretch them out and wake him up. Those little moments, little gems of time together.
M&C: I know your fans enjoyed Meet Me at Christmas, your most recent Hallmark movie.
Catherine Bell: Thanks. It took place in a mountain town. There was a mountain town where I’m a florist and I have my son, and he’s getting married. I run into the guy that I dated before and then all of a sudden, I’m like, “Oh my God, you’re the guy that I was in love with.” So perfect. I made that with Mark Deklin, who’s such a sweetheart and so much fun to work with.
M&C: What are the overall life lessons that you want to pass on to your son and daughter?
Catherine Bell: What pops into my mind is follow your dreams. I wanted to be an actress and not everyone around me wanted me to be that or thought I would be successful because it’s hard. There are a lot of people who don’t make it.
All the reasons to not do something, especially if you love it and that really is your passion. She wants to be a fine artist and some people in her life were like, “Oh gosh, that’s going to be hard to make money.” It’s more like it can be, or you can just decide that it’s going to be amazing and do everything you can and work really hard to get there.
I would say, “follow your dreams.” This also sounds like something Cassie would say.
Good Witch airs episodes of Season 7 on Hallmark on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
Seasons 1-6 of Good Witch are streaming on Netflix.
In case you missed it, please check out Katherine Barrell’s Good Witch story on Monsters & Critics.