Sabrina, the Teenage Witch


Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Information

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name. The show premiered on September 27, 1996 to over 17 million viewers in its 'TGIF' line-up.

The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, an American teenage witch who, on her sixteenth birthday, discovers she has magical powers. She lives with her 500-year-old aunts, European witches Hilda (played by Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (played by Beth Broderick), and their magical talking cat Salem (voiced by Nick Bakay) in the fictional town of Westbridge, Massachusetts. Sabrina has many love interests during the course of the series, most notably her high school boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (played by Nate Richert).

Its first four seasons aired on ABC from September 1996 to May 2000; the final three seasons ran on The WB Television Network from September 2000 to April 2003.

History and production

The unofficial pilot of the series was the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The movie, produced by Viacom and Hartbreak Films and aired on Showtime, starred Melissa Joan Hart as the title character, Sabrina Sawyer, and Charlene Fernetz and Sherry Miller as Sabrina's aunts Zelda and Hilda respectively. When the television series debuted on ABC later that year, Hart became Sabrina Spellman (the character's original last name in the comics), and Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick replaced Fernetz and Miller. In 2000, the show was dropped by ABC and picked up by The WB. When viewership began to wane, the show was canceled after seven seasons. The television series was produced by Hartbreak Films and Viacom Productions with Finishing the Hat Productions being there for season 1 only. Later it was syndicated through Paramount Domestic Television on reruns. Paramount Network Television absorbed Viacom Productions in 2004, and two years later, Paramount's TV operations were renamed to CBS Paramount Television (now CBS Television Studios), whose name is seen on the season 1, 2, and 3 DVDs. Then in 2007, the syndication arm was renamed from CBS Paramount Domestic Television to CBS Television Distribution, whose name is on the season 4, 5, 6, and 7 DVDs. The official copyright holder for the series (as with all series originally produced by Viacom Productions) is CBS Studios Productions, LLC.

Opening sequence

The opening titles of seasons 1"3 shows Sabrina in front of a mirror posing with four different costumes and outfits as the cast members' names quickly flash on the bottom of the screen. The first three outfits are always the same, but the fourth one changes from episode to episode. At the end, Sabrina would say something that is related to the last costume (often a pun or a joke related to the costume and/or the content of the episode), then magically disappear from head on down.

The opening sequence of season 4 features the characters in bubbles.

The opening credits of seasons 5"7 are accompanied by a vocal theme song and feature Sabrina at various locations around Boston: Harvard Bridge, Boston Common, Union Oyster House, Massachusetts State House, Quincy Market, Newbury Street, Harvard University, Tufts University, and Beacon Hill. In the credits of seasons 5 and 6, after leaving Newbury Comics on Newbury Street, Sabrina walks down a flight of stairs and then the computer graphics morph Sabrina into her room, lying on her bed next to Salem. In the final season, however, they morph her into arriving at Scorch. Upon pushing the door open, she is revealed to be walking into her house to greet Roxie, Morgan, and Salem.

Departures

The show went through many cast changes, the first major change being the unexplained departure of Sabrina's best friend Jenny Kelly (Michelle Beaudoin) at the end of the first season. This was because, according to Beaudoin, the shows producers wanted Sabrina to have an 'ethnic' supporting character, so they replaced her with the Jewish Lindsay Sloane, who played Valerie Burkhead.

At the beginning of the fourth season, Valerie departs the show permanently along with Libby. Valerie's character moves away to Alaska with her family, whilst Libby transfers to a boarding school.

When the series finished its fourth season, several secondary characters left the show, including Martin Mull and Nate Richert. Richert, who played Sabrina's boyfriend Harvey since the first season, was cut in order to give the show a more "grown-up look" as Sabrina was about to attend college. The decision was later rescinded, and Richert appeared in season five and then returned as a series regular.

After the series' sixth season, Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, who portrayed Sabrina's aunts from the show's premiere, decided to leave the show. When the character of Sabrina started to attend college, the role of her aunts became less important. Broderick felt that the role of Zelda had nothing more to offer, while Rhea landed her own syndicated talk show, The Caroline Rhea Show.

Trevor Lissauer, who played Sabrina's housemate Miles, left the show after appearing in seasons five and six. Producers felt that his character wasn't well received by fans and also had to make some budget cuts for the show's seventh and final season. Miles was written out, leaving open what really happened to him, though a season 7 episode does say "...Goodman was shot today" on the television.

Sabrina's love interest Josh, played by David Lascher, left for Prague after appearing from season four to six. Lascher reportedly wanted to pursue other projects. In order to fill the void, producers brought in Aaron, played by Dylan Neal, as Sabrina's love interest in the shows final season.

Plot and premise

The show chronicles the adventures of Sabrina Spellman (played by Melissa Joan Hart), a girl who discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she is a witch. As a novice witch, her spells often go awry. Her aunts Hilda and Zelda Spellman (played by Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, respectively, until 2002) counsel her on the proper use of her magic and give her moral advice. Additionally, Hilda and Zelda must take care of Salem Saberhagen (voiced by Nick Bakay), a warlock turned into a cat for trying to take over the world. Sabrina's basic premise and "genial loopiness" earned the show comparisons to the 1960s television series Bewitched.

The show included contemporary pop cultural references, with Sabrina often saying she liked Britney Spears and No Doubt. It also mentioned human history alongside witches, such as the Salem witch hunt, which Zelda tells Sabrina was not hunting for real witches. Hilda mentions to Sabrina in Episode 1 that "For two months a bunny ruled all of England " causing the witches council to turn back time, as if to say mortals are ignorant at the most. One episode also suggests that Jerry Springer is a witch when he hosts the Jerry Springer Show in the other realm.

Whereas the comic book series was set in the fictional Greendale, the TV show was set in fictional Westbridge, Massachusetts. The Spellmans' house is located at 133 Collins Road.

Plot summary

Main article: List of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episodes
The pilot episode opens with Sabrina asleep on her 16th birthday, levitating above her bed. In the morning, her aunts reveal to her that she is a witch, but Sabrina does not believe them until she has a magical talk with her father from inside a book, where her father reveals that he is a warlock and her mother is mortal. It is also revealed that Sabrina cannot see her mother, who is in Peru for two years, or her mother will be transformed into a ball of wax. After a rough day at school, Sabrina accidentally turns Libby Chesler, the most popular girl in school, into a pineapple. Fearing that she will appear "weird" to her crush, Harvey Kinkle, Sabrina asks the Witches Council to let her relive that day. The first season follows Sabrina as she tries to keep the balance between being a teenager and having magical powers. Sabrina's friend Jenny Kelley and her teacher, Mr. Pool, both exit the series without explanation after this season.

At the beginning of the second season, Sabrina turns seventeen and learns that she must earn her witch's license or otherwise lose her magic. However, she neglects her aunts' warnings to study for the test to obtain the license and consequently fails it. She then has to attend witch boot camp to earn the chance to take a makeup test. She passes the makeup test, but only receives a learner's permit. Her aunts explain that she will be able to earn her license when she turns eighteen ("when she can pay for the insurance") and that she will be tested throughout the year by a Quizmaster, a witch whose job is to instruct witches earning their licenses. Also introduced during the second season are Sabrina's neurotic friend Valerie and the new school vice principal Mr. Kraft, who finds Sabrina to be very odd.

At the beginning of the third season, Sabrina earns her license, but then learns that in order to use her license, she must solve her family's secret. Throughout the season, family members visit her and provide clues. At the end of the season, she solves the family secret ("Every member of the Spellman family is born with a twin"). Both Valerie and Libby exit the series after the end of the third season.

At the beginning of the fourth season, Sabrina is assigned to be a mentor, which is like a Quizmaster, except "Quizmasters get paid". Sabrina's charge is Dreama, a witch newly immigrated from the Other Realm. A new student, Brad Alcero, transfers to Sabrina's school. Because Brad has a witch-hunter gene (which allows him to turn a witch into a mouse if the witch reveals his/her magic), Sabrina must keep herself and Dreama from using magic in front of Brad. Also, Sabrina begins working at Bean There, Brewed That, a coffee shop, where she meets and is attracted to Josh (played by David Lascher), a college student who is the manager of the shop, which leads to her kissing him and thus cheating on Harvey who ends their relationship. Both Dreama and Brad are written out of the series without explanation over the course of the season. At the end of the season, Harvey reaches his "spell quota" (meaning that no spells can be used on him anymore) and discovers that Sabrina is a witch, and later breaks up with Sabrina off screen and is written out of the show prior to the start of the next season.

At the beginning of the fifth season, Sabrina starts college at Adams College and moves out of her aunts' house and into a house with other students at Adams. Her roommates are Morgan Cavanaugh, a shallow girl (played by Elisa Donovan); Roxie King (played by Soleil Moon Frye), an anti-social feminist and Miles Goodman (played by Trevor Lissauer), a geek who is obsessed with science fiction and the paranormal. Hilda and Zelda, feeling lonely since Sabrina moved out, find ways to stay close to her. Hilda buys the coffee shop where Sabrina works and Zelda becomes a professor at Adams and starts dating Sabrina's English professor. The season ends with Sabrina and Josh giving into their feelings and sharing a passionate kiss.

At the beginning of the sixth season Josh and Sabrina get together but soon face a tough decision when Josh is tempted to move abroad to work as a photographer. Things are made even more complicated between them when Sabrina's ex boyfriend from high school, Harvey, reappears, this time dating Sabrina's roommate Morgan. At the end of the sixth season, Sabrina agrees to sacrifice her one true love in order to save Hilda after the latter literally falls to pieces after Sabrina sabotages her relationship. Hilda recovers and is married, but Sabrina then falls to pieces when Josh, Harvey and an attractive waiter announce they are all moving away and will never see her again.

At the beginning of the seventh and final season, Sabrina is put back together after her Aunt Zelda sacrifices her adult years to save Sabrina. At this point, Zelda, Hilda, Miles and Josh are written out of the show and Morgan and Roxie move into Hilda and Zelda's old house. Sabrina gets a job as a writer for the entertainment magazine Scorch, but this storyline and all the associated characters are dropped midway through the season. Sabrina then meets Aaron, the man to whom she becomes engaged. In the series finale Sabrina calls off her wedding with Aaron and runs off with Harvey, her soul mate, at 12:36 which is the time of day they first met and is a plot point in the season one episode As Westbridge Turns.

Episodes and U.S. ratings history

Main article: List of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episodes


Cast and characters

See List of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch characters for more information

  • Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina J. Spellman, a teenager who discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she is a witch and comes from a long line of witches. As she struggles to master her magic, she often wreaks havoc on those around her. Sabrina moved into her college's dormitories at the beginning of the fifth season and then back into her aunts' house after they left for the Other Realm.
  • Caroline Rhea as Hilda Spellman (Seasons 1-6, recurring season 7), one of the Spellman sisters. Hilda is the less rational and more impulsive one. After giving up violin in the fourth season (she destroyed her violin with dynamite), Hilda purchased a clock shop. Later, after Sabrina moved out of the house, she purchased Bean There, Brewed That, the coffee shop where Sabrina worked, and renamed it Hilda's Coffee House. After her marriage at the end of the sixth season, she moved away with her husband. Hilda returned for the series finale. Her middle name, 'Sucker', is revealed in Season 6, although her middle name was Antoinette in season 2.
  • Beth Broderick as Zelda Spellman (Seasons 1-6), Sabrina's aunt and Hilda's older sister. Zelda, a scientist and college professor, is the more rational of the two Spellman sisters and is often the voice of reason when Hilda or Sabrina uses magic irresponsibly. At the end of the sixth season she gives up her maturity in order for Sabrina to be changed back after being turned into stone when she lost her true love. Sabrina advises a now child Zelda to leave for the other realm with a newly married Hilda, ensuring her that she is okay to live on her own. Zelda makes an appearance as a candle in the last episode to allow Sabrina's mother to attend Sabrina's wedding.
  • Nick Bakay as Salem Saberhagen, a 500-year-old warlock turned into a talking cat because of his plans to take over the world. Besides Sabrina herself, he is the only character to remain for the entire seven seasons and in fact appearing in every single episode.
  • Nate Richert as Harvey Kinkle (Seasons 1-4 and 6-7, recurring season 5), Sabrina's boyfriend in the first four seasons. He breaks up with her when he finds out she is a witch. Amanda, Sabrina's cousin, tells him about Sabrina getting married and gives him his soul stone. He arrives at the church on his bike as Sabrina is running out. He is revealed to be her soul mate because their soul stones fit together. In the end, Sabrina leaves Aaron at the altar. Then Harvey and Sabrina run off together after they share a final kiss with Sabrina's favorite band, No Doubt, as the closing theme.
  • Jenna Leigh Green as Libby Chessler (Seasons 1-3), Sabrina's arch-enemy whilst at high school. Libby is a spoiled rich girl and is often at the other end of Sabrina's spells as she learns to use them, leading Libby to often call Sabrina a "Freak" or "Freakster". Libby, a cheerleader, is seen to fancy Sabrina's love interest, Harvey, and makes many attempts to ask him out. Libby was sent to boarding school at the end of season 3.
  • Michelle Beaudoin as Jenny Kelley (Season 1), Sabrina's best friend at high school in the first season. Jenny befriended Sabrina on her first day, and also introduced Sabrina to Harvey. Jenny walked into the closet at the Spellman house and ended up in the Other Realm, where Sabrina and her aunts had to rescue her and make out it as a dream. Jenny left at the end of season 1 and is mentioned in season 2 by Sabrina.
  • Alimi Ballard as Quizmaster (Season 2), also known as Albert, is Sabrina's tutor who helps teach her to use her magic properly to acquire her witch's license. As Sabrina gained her license in the first episode of Season 3, the character's last appearance was in the last episode of Season 2.
  • Lindsay Sloane as Valerie Birkhead (Seasons 2-3), Sabrina's best friend from the second season. She comes across as dim but it becomes apparent that she suffers from self-doubt when Sabrina casts a spell on her that backfired"?making her overconfident and careless. She discovers that Sabrina is a witch after Sabrina tells her and Harvey on Friday the 13th. Valerie left to move to Alaska with her parents at the start of season 4.
  • Martin Mull as Willard Kraft (Seasons 2-4), the head teacher of Westbridge High, Sabrina's high school, and the on/off boyfriend of both Hilda and Zelda. Hilda mentions that herself and Zelda have stopped using magic on Willard, as it is starting to affect his mental state. This is also mentioned at the Jerry Springer Show when Zelda and Willard's ex-wife Lucy (who is a witch, unbeknownst to him) fight for his affections, in an adaption to the lie detector test, they performed the potion detector test which showed he had extremely high amounts of magic in his system. The character left the series after season 4.
  • Jon Huertas as Brad Alcerro (Season 4), the new kid in school, but used to attend Westbridge High, before Sabrina went to that school. Brad is a witch hunter but doesn't know it. Sabrina tries to stay away from him, but every time she is in school and uses magic, Brad always sees it. In the episode "Dreama, the Mouse", Dreama makes a water fountain appear, Brad sees and says "You know, sometimes I think you're a real witch" and then Dreama turns into a mouse. In that same episode Brad loses his witch hunter gene through an operation. That is when Sabrina realized that he's just a jerk and now she can use magic on him.
  • China Shavers as Dreama (Season 4), the new kid in school, who causes a lot of trouble because she uses magic. She later turns out to be Sabrina's student. Sabrina has to teach Dreama how to control her magic. At the end of Season 4 or the beginning of Season 5, she is not mentioned and we don't know if she passed her test to get her witch's license.
  • David Lascher as Josh Blackhart (Seasons 4-6), Sabrina's handsome co-worker in the Coffee Shop and later, love interest. Josh struggles with his career throughout his first two seasons, until he decides he wants to be a photographer. His relationship with Sabrina is much less consistent than that of her and Harvey. They often have problems to overcome. In the end, he leaves for Prague after Sabrina gives up her love life to save Hilda's life.
  • Soleil Moon Frye as Roxie King (Seasons 5-7), Sabrina's mortal roommate during her college years and remains a very close friend to her after their graduation. An activist with a very cynical humor, her opinion often clashes with Sabrina's more preppy attitude towards life. Later, both seem to have an effect on each other, as Roxie grows to be much more honest and compassionate, while Sabrina matures and becomes more socially conscious.
  • Trevor Lissauer as Miles Goodman (Seasons 5-6), Sabrina's housemate during her college years though, unlike Roxie and Morgan, he's never seen nor mentioned after the graduation. Miles is a goodhearted, but nerdy boy obsessed with all things supernatural. Miles often comes close to discovering Sabrina's secret. Throughout the series, he develops a crush on Zelda, and is hinted to harbor similar feelings for Sabrina and Roxie.
  • Elisa Donovan as Morgan Cavanaugh (Seasons 5-7), Sabrina's third and final housemate, as well as her tutor, during her college years. Morgan is a talented fashion designer and a very good friend, but can also be shallow and even mischievous at times. She's the only known character who dated both of Sabrina's long term romantic interests (Harvey and Josh) as well as expressed interest in her fiancee, Aaron.
  • Paul Feig as Mr. Pool (Season 1), Sabrina's favorite teacher who teaches Biology during the first season. He was sometimes bitter and sarcastic, but always interesting and usually lively. After season 1, Mr. Pool wasn't seen or heard from.
  • Dylan Neal as Aaron Jacobs (Season 7), Sabrina's last mortal boyfriend and later, her fiancé. He grows increasingly jealous of Harvey throughout the season because Sabrina spends too much time with him. In the Series Finale he's ready to marry Sabrina but, upon noticing her doubts (Caused by their Soul Stones not being a perfect match), he tells her to not settle for "an almost" and that neither will he. They break up and he watches proudly and sadly as Sabrina leaves with her real soul mate, Harvey.

Syndication

When The WB network picked up the series after ABC canceled the series, local stations (usually WB or UPN affiliates, with a couple of "Big 4" network affiliates as well) also picked up the rights to air reruns of the series from September 2000 on a weekday basis after the broadcast syndication ended in fall 2005. ABC Family, a United States cable network, had exclusive United States rights to air the show at 8:00am on weekdays, until March 25, 2011, at which point they dropped the series from the broadcast roster due to a contract expiration. The series aired on The N during 2004"2009, until the channel became TeenNick in September 2009, where it continued to air until September 23, 2010. The series premiered on The Hub on April 2, 2012, where it airs in the 9:00pm hour throughout the week. In Canada, the show can be seen on MuchMusic. In the United Kingdom, Sabrina previously aired on ITV and Nickelodeon and began airing on Pop Girl in July 2012. The show can be seen in Ireland on RT"? Two each weekday from 5:10pm"5:35pm, as part of the youth orientated show TRT"?. In Australia, the show can currently be seen on Eleven, the Network Ten owned free-to-air channel at 6:00pm, with repeats at 12.30am, seven days a week. It is now seen on weekdays on MuchMusic in Canada (2012). PopGirl, a free-to-air children's channel in the UK currently broadcasts the first two seasons and the two subsequent movies.

Video games

On June 11, 1999, Knowledge Adventure through Simon & Schuster Interactive and Havas Interactive officially announced the video games Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Spellbound, Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Brat Attack and Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Bundle of Magic for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

On March 29, 2001, Knowledge Adventure through Simon & Schuster Interactive and Havas Interactive officially announced the video game Sabrina the Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time! for the PlayStation game system.

Game title Platform Developer Publisher Release Date
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Spellbound Macintosh, Microsoft Windows Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive August 27, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Bundle of Magic Microsoft Windows, Macintosh Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive August 27, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Brat Attack Macintosh, Microsoft Windows Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive November 8, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time! PlayStation Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive March 30, 2001
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion Game Boy Advance No developer available Ubisoft Entertainment April 25, 2002, September 1, 2002
Sabrina The Teenage Witch Triple Pack Microsoft Windows, Hybrid PC, Macintosh Simon & Schuster Interactive Simon & Schuster Interactive February 27, 2004

Multimedia

Main article: List of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Books, CDs and DVDs

Live action film

A live action theatrical-release film based on the TV series was announced on April 12, 2012, but with no indication of who would play Sabrina. It is speculated that the movie will be released sometime in 2013, and the director has been announced as Mark Waters.

Animated version

An animated spin-off of the show, Sabrina: The Animated Series, started airing during the live action show's 4th season.




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sabrina%2C_the_Teenage_Witch_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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