Although television historians and critics generally see the 1950s as the decade of the domestic sitcom, commercial television in the 1960s was characterized by several programs that combined elements of
science fiction and fantasy with the basic sitcom format. Close readings of such programs reveal the way that they reflect changing gender relations, a growing ambiguity regarding postwar modernism and tensions about the Cold War. Television is arguably the most important medium of this period; the mid-1960s are a transitional moment in the American political, social and cultural scene; these programs help us see how. Episodes from two such programs, Bewitched (1964) and I Dream of Jeannie (1965), will be screened, followed by discussion about the issues raised by both the sitcom format and specific storylines, and the ways in which these programs (and television in general) can help us understand some of the shifts taking place in the mid-1960s.