The small town of Middleton get a shock when the local haunted house, Grey House, finds itself a new owner: the mysterious Cassandra Nightingale. Who is this woman? Where did she come from? And why does it seem that ever since she's showed up things in town have gotten a little more... magical?
Starting out as several TV movies before spinning off into a television series, The Good Witch stars Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) as she makes a home including finding love with Police Chief Jake Russel (Chris Potter) and a family with Jake's two young children. Of course not everyone is as welcoming including the mayor's wife Martha Tinsdale who believes that "Miss Nightingale" is bad for their town. Despite evidence to contrary...
What's interesting about Cassie's story is that despite the title, it's deliberately kept vague whether she has any real powers with many of the problems of the films and show are solved in rather mundane ways. The franchise focuses on the lives and experiences of those living everyday lives in Middleton rather than any supernatural elements that may, or may not, exist in the series.
The film series began in 2008 with The Good Witch with a new film released yearly starting with The Good Witch's Garden (2009), The Good Witch's Gift (2010), The Good Witch's Family (2011), The Good Witch's Charm (2012), The Good Witch's Destiny (2013), and the The Good Witch's Wonder (2014).
It should not be confused with the webcomic of the same name.
The films contain examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Kyle's father is introduced shaking down his son for money which he [Kyle] says he spends to get drunk and is implied to physically abusive as well.
- Cassie's foster parents were a more downplayed version being extremely strict and "killed the magic" as she calls it.
- Batman Gambit: How Cassie, and her powers, seem to work the best boarding on Gambit Roulette.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- Big Fancy House: Grey House, a large stately manor that's been left abandoned for decades until Cassie moves in, whereupon she renovates it and turns it into a bed-and-breakfast starting in the second film.
- Blithe Spirit: Cassie's presence in Middleton eventually brings many people happiness.
- The Bully: Kyle in the first film who is introduced taking Brandon's lunch and threatening his little sister Lori if the former didn't bring money for lunch instead of food from home.
- Fire-Forged Friendship: Cassie and Martha Tinsdale spend the first film being Sitcom Arch Nemeses with the latter spending it trying to run the former out of town. Cassie is a such a Nice Girl that she doesn't take it personally and Martha, like everyone else, eventually warms up to the woman to the point where they become best friends. Martha even becomes Cassie's second-in-command similar to her husband during her time as Mayor.
- Heel Realization: Mayor Tinsdale in the first film after his sons vandalize Cassie's shop, being influenced by his wife's Smear Campaign. He finally stands up to Martha and cancels the town meeting meant to vote to shut down the Bell, Book, & Candle.
- Humans Are Special: When once asked if she had any magic, Cassie responded that everyone was capable of magic. She likely wasn't being literal but the franchise does emphasized that it's everyday people, not Cassie, who solves the problems they're facing with a little advice from her to get them started.
- Identical Grandson: The second time Jake visits Grey House in the first film, he notices a portrait that Cassie found while cleaning which he realizes is the infamous "Grey Lady" who resembles Cassie.
- I Just Knew: Cassie seems to know and anticipate things that no normal person would without
- In Mysterious Ways: A good chunk, if not all, of the problems the characters face were solved by people being people and making good choices or being at just the right place to make the choice.
- Jerkass: Martha Tinsdale throughout the first film where she does everything in her power to get rid of Cassie including rallying support for a town vote to close the Bell, Book, & Candle. While she never quite stops being a Drama Queen and Large Ham, she is shown in later works to be genuine in her love of Middleton and mellows out quite a bit over the years.
- Kick the Dog: After it's established that Nancy is upset about the subject, Martha throws it in her face at a meeting that her opinion doesn't matter since she [Nancy] doesn't have children.
- Low Fantasy: Rather than fancy and overt spells, the setting seems to establish magic is more a blend of Psychic Powers and almost mystical intuition]; most notably the biggest, positive and negative, changes are the result of Cassie giving advise or taking actions that inadvertently give people the chance to make the choice themselves.
- The level of low is thus that removing the supernatural elements wouldn't change anything about the plots.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Literally every piece of "magic" Cassie performs can explained any with some logical explanation and Batman Gambits. There a number of things that can't be explained such how Cassie seems to know what to do.
- Mysterious Past: After doing a background on Cassie in the first film, Jake and his subordinate Derek Sanders are surprised to discover that Cassie is not in any known database. Jake figures out that it's not her actual name, at least on paper.
- Later she confirms her real name is Sue Ellen Brock. Her parents were traveling performers who were killed in a car crash. She was sent back to the States and stayed in foster care before running away.. Each successful film has seen a little more her past but never any specifics.
- Nice Girl: Cassie Nightingale the titular "Good Witch".
- Official Couple: Jake Russel and Cassie Nightingale, who get together midway through the first film and remain so throughout the film franchise. Sadly between The Good Witch's Wonder and the TV series, he was shot and killed in the line of duty. His loss is felt throughout the series.
- Older Than They Look: Jake asks Cassie if she was really born in "nineteen hundred and-" before she cuts him off. The implication is that it's somewhere between 1901 and 1910 and she's more than 100 years old.
- Parent with New Paramour: Jake was married and lost his wife three years before the first film and gains a romantic interest in Cassie. His children are never seen to be bothered with him dating someone and it helps that they liked Cassie a great deal from the get-go.
- Shipper on Deck: Derek Sanders, Jake's lieutenant, and his father-in-law are quite pleased when Jake starts to show an interest in Cassie. Derek is quick to playfully teased him about keeping a two week old newspaper with Cassie's ad in it. When George when he learns they have dinner plans state it to be a "grand idea" and is clearly happy.
- Title Drop: After Lori is cured of her bad dreams, she excitedly comes to realizes that Cassie is a "good witch."
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Martha is at first shown to simply hate Cassie for just showing up and not conforming to what the former believed to be necessary to Middleton's prosperity. Over time her Control Freak tendencies lessen and she lets her guard down, showing a true passion to helping her town if blinded by melodramatic worries.