Every day when I came home from school, I really looked forward to watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It was such a weird and hilarious show, much needed after a long day of school, like I have been used to. Melissa Joan Hart starred as Sabrina Spellman, the main character of the series, whom I was all too familiar with thanks to Clarissa Explains It All (you know, back when Nickelodeon aired Legends of the Hidden Temple and The Secret World of Alex Mack). Ironically, Sabrina started out as a Showtime TV movie before becoming it’s own series, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show follows Sabrina Spellman, as, according to the Den of Geek article, “Looking back at Sabrina The Teenage Witch“:
Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart) finds out on her sixteenth birthday that she is a witch and has been sent to live with her aunts not because her parents are away working but to learn the art and responsibility of magic. Navigating her way through high school and college with powers proves not to be an easy feat but with her aunts behind her and major love interest Harvey to keep her busy, nothing too disastrous can happen, right?
It followed the success of the series, Saved by the Bell, as part of several teen-based sitcoms through the eighties and nineties. According to the same article:
After the success of Saved by the Bell in the late eighties and early nineties, there seems to be a very quick succession of teen based sitcoms filling the airwaves, some were more successful (Boy Meets World, California Dreams) than others (USA High, Saved by the Bell: The Collage Years) but they were mostly all in a similar vein: a group of friends getting into trouble, fixing it while getting sage advice from the adults involved.
Sabrina, although very much in line with the winning formula set out by the above mentioned shows, had the supernatural twist of the lead being a witch and not only trying to get though being a teenager but also handling her powers while in many ways reining in her aunts who, unlike other shows in the genre, end up causing more chaos then they solve.
It was filled with great strong female characters who were not written into the usual, ‘girl next door’, ‘love interest’, ‘friend’ but as educated, funny and independent women, something which felt lacking back in the genre then and in some ways even now.
As great as that was, the real reason I tuned in every week was because it truly was just very funny. There were huge slapstick elements which caused genuine laugh out loud moments along with funny, culturally relevant scripts which although have dated slighted now, are delivered to perfection.
And then there was Salem. If I were to ever create a list of my favourite TV characters ever he would have to be up there. Sarcastic, funny with a constant somewhat evil plan to take over the world he was and still is the best thing about the show, and some of his antics make me giggle to this day just thinking about them.
My favorite episodes during the first three seasons were Pilot, Bundt Friday, Terrible Things, A Halloween Story, Dream Date, Third Aunt From the Sun, Geek Like Me, A Girl and Her Cat, Jenny’s Non-Dream, Hilda and Zelda: The Teenage Years, First Kiss, Sweet Charity, The Crucible, Sabrina Gets Her License, Dummy for Love, Dante’s Inferno, Sabrina the Teenage Boy, A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It, Inna Gadda Sabrina, To Tell a Mortal, Oh What a Tangled Spell She Weaves, Five Easy Pieces of Libby, Sabrina and the Beanstalk, The Equalizer, When Teens Collide, My Nightmare the Car, Fear Strikes Up a Conversation, Sabrina’s Choice, Mom vs. Magic, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Season Opener, The Pom Pom Incident, Pancake Madness, And the Sabrina Goes To…, Nobody Nose Libby Like Sabrina Nose Libby, Sabrina and the Beast, Whose So-Called Life Is It Anyway?, Sabrina and the Pirates, Mrs. Kraft, Salem the Boy, Sabrina the Teenage Writer, Sabrina’s Pen Pal, Sabrina’s Real World, Sabrina the Sandman, Silent Movie, and The Good The Bad and the Luau.
Season 4 saw certain cast changes that I liked.
Having never liked Nate Richert as Harvey Kinkle, I much preferred the additions of David Lascher as Josh Blackhart, Sabrina’s new love interest (and boss at the coffee shop), and Jon Huertas as Brad Alcerro, Harvey’s best friend and actually a born witch hunter. My favorite episodes for this season were No Place Like Home, Dream a Little Dreama Me, Jealousy, Little Orphan Hilda, Spoiled Rotten, Prelude to a Kiss, Aging Not So Gracefully, Salem and Juliette, Now You See Her Now You Don’t, Love in Bloom, Welcome Back Duke, The Wild Wild Witch, The Four Faces of Sabrina, and The End of an Era.
The scenes from Boston in these titles is wicked awesome! Season 5 also saw further cast changes that I liked (though for different reasons than above).
Having watched Punky Brewster as a child (I loved that show!), I was ecstatic to see Soleil Moon Frye as Roxie King, and from Clueless film and TV series, Elisa Donovan as Morgan Cavanaugh. My favorite episodes from last three seasons were Every Witch Way but Loose, Double Time, You Can’t Twin, Welcome Traveler, Some of My Best Friends Are Half-Mortals, My Best Shot, Tick-Tock, Hilda’s Clock, Sabrina’s New Roommate, Love Is a Many Complicated Thing, Witchright Hall, Sabrina the Activist, Sabrina’s Got Spirit, Finally!, Really Big Season Opener, Sabrina’s Date with Destiny, Murder on the Halloween Express, The Gift of Gab, A Birthday Witch, Deliver Us from E-mail, Sabrina and the Candidate, I Think I Love You, Time After Time, Guilty!, The Whole Ball of Wax, The Big Head, Call Me Crazy, Witch Way Out, In Sabrina We Trust, Sabrina in Wonderland, Getting to Nose You, Romance Looming, and A Fish Tale.