Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series)

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Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.jpg
GenreFantasy sitcom
Created byNell Scovell
Based onSabrina the Teenage Witch 
by Dan DeCarlo
George Gladir
Developed byJonathan Schmock
StarringMelissa Joan Hart
Caroline Rhea
Beth Broderick
Nate Richert
Jenna Leigh Green
Michelle Beaudoin
Paul Feig
Lindsay Sloane
Alimi Ballard
Martin Mull
China Jesusita Shavers
David Lascher
Jon Huertas
Dylan Neal
Trevor Lissauer
Elisa Donovan
Soleil Moon Frye
Andrew Walker
John Ducey
Diana-Maria Riva
Voices ofNick Bakay
Theme music composerDanny Lux (entire run)
Paul Taylor (seasons 5–7)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes163 (+ 3 TV films) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Paula Hart (entire run)
Nell Scovell (1996–1997)
Miriam Trogdon (1997–2000)
Carrie Honigblum &
Renee Phillips (1999–2000)
Bruce Ferber (2000–2002)
David Flebotte (2002–2003)
Camera setupFilm; Single-camera
Multi-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Archie Comics
Hartbreak Films
Finishing the Hat Productions (1996–1997)
Viacom Productions
DistributorParamount Domestic Television (2000–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1996–2000)
The WB (2000–2003)
Hub Network (current rerun)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatStereo surround sound
Original runSeptember 27, 1996 (1996-09-27) – April 24, 2003 (2003-04-24)
 
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This article is about live action television series. For the animated television series, see Sabrina the Teenage Witch (disambiguation).
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.jpg
GenreFantasy sitcom
Created byNell Scovell
Based onSabrina the Teenage Witch 
by Dan DeCarlo
George Gladir
Developed byJonathan Schmock
StarringMelissa Joan Hart
Caroline Rhea
Beth Broderick
Nate Richert
Jenna Leigh Green
Michelle Beaudoin
Paul Feig
Lindsay Sloane
Alimi Ballard
Martin Mull
China Jesusita Shavers
David Lascher
Jon Huertas
Dylan Neal
Trevor Lissauer
Elisa Donovan
Soleil Moon Frye
Andrew Walker
John Ducey
Diana-Maria Riva
Voices ofNick Bakay
Theme music composerDanny Lux (entire run)
Paul Taylor (seasons 5–7)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes163 (+ 3 TV films) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Paula Hart (entire run)
Nell Scovell (1996–1997)
Miriam Trogdon (1997–2000)
Carrie Honigblum &
Renee Phillips (1999–2000)
Bruce Ferber (2000–2002)
David Flebotte (2002–2003)
Camera setupFilm; Single-camera
Multi-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Archie Comics
Hartbreak Films
Finishing the Hat Productions (1996–1997)
Viacom Productions
DistributorParamount Domestic Television (2000–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1996–2000)
The WB (2000–2003)
Hub Network (current rerun)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatStereo surround sound
Original runSeptember 27, 1996 (1996-09-27) – April 24, 2003 (2003-04-24)

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, on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its "T.G.I.F." line-up.[1]

The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, an American teenage half-witch who, on her sixteenth birthday, discovers she has magical powers. She lives with her 600-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 through most of the series.

The series' first four seasons aired on ABC from September 27, 1996, to May 5, 2000; the final three seasons ran on The WB from September 22, 2000 to April 24, 2003.

History and production[edit]

The unofficial pilot of the series was the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch.[2] 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, 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.[3] 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[edit]

The opening titles of the first three seasons 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 or the content of the episode), and then magically disappear from head on down.

The opening sequence for the fourth season is completely redone, featuring a completely new theme and the show's main characters, starting with Sabrina, floating in bubbles while their names are displayed in gold letters and a voice chants "Secret" in the background.

The opening credits for the final three seasons are accompanied by a new 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 five and six, after leaving Newbury Comics on Newbury Street, Sabrina walks down a flight of stairs and computer graphics morph Sabrina into her room, lying on her bed next to Salem. In the final season, however, the computer graphics morph Sabrina arriving at Scorch. Upon pushing the door open, she is revealed to be walking into her house to greet Roxie, Morgan, and Salem.

Departures[edit]

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.

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, while 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.

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 show's final season.

Plot and premise[edit]

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 witch 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.[4][5][6]

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.[7]

Plot summary[edit]

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 witch 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".[8] 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, but they soon get back together. 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.

Sabrina, Harvey, Valerie, Libby

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), asocial 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.

Cast and characters[edit]

ActorCharacterSeasons
1234567
Melissa Joan HartSabrina SpellmanMain
Nick BakaySalem SaberhagenMain
Caroline RheaHilda SpellmanMainGuest
Beth BroderickZelda SpellmanMain
Nate RichertHarvey KinkleMainRecurringMain
Jenna Leigh GreenLibby ChesslerMain
Michelle BeaudoinJenny KelleyMain
Paul FeigMr PoolMain
Martin MullWillard KraftMain
Lindsay SloaneValerie BirkheadMain
Alimi BallardQuizmaster a.k.a AlbertMain
David LascherJosh BlackhartMain
Jon HuertasBrad AlcerroMain
China ShaversDreamaMain
Soleil Moon FryeRoxie KingMain
Elisa DonovanMorgan CavanaughMain
Trevor LissauerMiles GoodmanMain
Dylan NealAaron JacobsMain

Episodes and U.S. ratings history[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD release dateRating
Season premiereSeason finaleNetworkRegion 1Region 2Region 4RankViewers
(millions)
124September 27, 1996May 16, 1997ABCMarch 2, 2007August 27, 2007September 6, 2007#41[9]9.3[9]
226September 26, 1997May 15, 1998July 31, 2007August 11, 2008June 5, 2008#41[10]12.5[10]
325September 25, 1998May 21, 1999January 15, 2008September 15, 2008October 1, 2008#41[11]12.2[11]
422September 24, 1999May 5, 2000June 17, 2008May 18, 2009April 2, 2009#57[12]10.2[12]
522September 22, 2000May 18, 2001The WBFebruary 17, 2009September 14, 2009September 3, 2009#124[13]3.8[13]
622October 5, 2001May 10, 2002March 23, 2010March 22, 2010April 1, 2010#140[14]3.1[14]
722September 20, 2002April 24, 2003July 27, 2010August 30, 2010July 1, 2010#146[15]3.0[15]
M3
TV Movies
April 7, 1996ShowtimeAugust 19, 2003January 24, 200514 October 2004N/AN/A
October 4, 1998ABCJuly 27, 2010August 30, 2010July 1, 2010N/AN/A
September 26, 1999N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Syndication[edit]

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.[16] 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 Hub Network on April 2, 2012, where it continues to air in various time slots throughout the week.[17] The series returned to TeenNick on July 1, 2013 in the 10 pm hour, with back-to-back episodes. The series will join Logo TV on Thursday afternoons and Thursday late nights. In Canada, the show was on MuchMusic on weekdays for awile before being dropped.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 RTÉ Two each weekday, 5:10–5:35 pm, as part of the youth orientated show TRTÉ. In Australia, the show can currently be seen on Eleven, the Network Ten owned free-to-air channel at 6:00 pm and until 6 December 2013, with repeats at 12.30am, seven days a week. From 9 December 2013, Sabrina ceased it's Eleven, the Network Ten owned free-to-air. Pop Girl, a free-to-air children's channel in the UK currently broadcasts the first two seasons and the two subsequent movies. Seven Network in Australia since 1996 to 1998.

Video games[edit]

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.[18]

Game titlePlatformDeveloperPublisherRelease Date
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: SpellboundMacintosh, Microsoft WindowsHavas InteractiveKnowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster InteractiveAugust 27, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Bundle of MagicMicrosoft Windows, MacintoshHavas InteractiveKnowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster InteractiveAugust 27, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Brat AttackMacintosh, Microsoft WindowsHavas InteractiveKnowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster InteractiveNovember 8, 1999
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time!PlayStationHavas InteractiveKnowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster InteractiveMarch 30, 2001
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion CommotionGame Boy AdvanceNo developer availableUbisoft EntertainmentApril 25, 2002, September 1, 2002
Sabrina The Teenage Witch Triple PackMicrosoft Windows, Hybrid PC, MacintoshSimon & Schuster InteractiveSimon & Schuster InteractiveFebruary 27, 2004

Multimedia[edit]

Live action film[edit]

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 was speculated that the movie will be released sometime in 2013, and the director had been announced as Mark Waters.[19]

Spin-offs[edit]

An animated spin-off of the show, Sabrina: The Animated Series, started airing during the live action show's 4th season. The role of Sabrina was voiced by Hart's younger sister Emily Hart. Melissa Joan Hart voiced both aunts. This series was followed by a television film, Sabrina: Friends Forever, which in turn was followed by another series titled Sabrina's Secret Life. Neither Emily Hart or Melissa Joan Hart returned for the television film or the follow up series.

A new animated spin-off was produced by Hub Network in 2013 called Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch. In this version Sabrina (voiced by Ashley Tisdale) is a witch princess in training so that she can one day rule the other realm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Debut Of ABC's 'Sabrina' Lures More Than 17 Million Viewers", Orlando Sentinel, October 3, 1996
  2. ^ Bianculli, David (April 4, 1996). "'Clarissa' Makes a Bewitching 'Sabrina'". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  3. ^ Hall, Sarah (April 21, 2003). "Aniston: They're Real, and They're Spectacular". E! Online. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  4. ^ Gerston, Jill (October 6, 1996). "A 'Normal Kid' With Magical Powers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  5. ^ David, Bianculli (September 25, 1996). "Witch Sitcom a Brew Ha-Ha". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  6. ^ Levesque, John (September 27, 1996). "ABC's new 'Sabrina' could play as 'Bewitched: The Teen-age Years'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  7. ^ "YouTube - S1 Ep23 - The Crucible (part 1) ]". YouTube.com.  Mentioned in Season 1, Episode 23, The Crucible.
  8. ^ Sheldon Bull (writer) (1999-10-01). "Dream A Little Dreama Me". Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Season 4. Episode 2. ABC.
  9. ^ a b Bibler, Frank (July 26, 2002). "Complete TV Ratings 1996–1997". Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly. May 29, 1998. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "TV Winners & Losers: Numbers Racket A Final Tally Of The Season's Show (from Nielsen Media Research)". GeoCities. June 4, 1999. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Top TV Shows For 1999-2000 Season". Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 2001. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Rank And File". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 2003. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  16. ^ Pavan. "ABC Family March 2011, Sabrina the Teenage Witch Leaves; Remembering Peggy Rea". SitcomsOnline.com. 
  17. ^ http://blog.sitcomsonline.com/2012/03/hub-april-2012-schedule-with-facts-of.html
  18. ^ "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time Released for PlayStation game console". GameZone.com. Retrieved 2001-03-29. 
  19. ^ http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/celebrities/sabrina-the-teenage-witch-to-become-a-film-147168025.html

External links[edit]