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Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Sabrina the Teenage Witch title card.jpg
Title card for the first three seasons
Format Sitcom / Fantasy
Created by Nell Scovell
(based on the characters created by Dan DeCarlo and George Gladir)
Developed by Jonathan Schmock
Starring Melissa Joan Hart
Nick Bakay (both; entire run)
Caroline Rhea (seasons 1-6, regular; season 7, guest star)
Beth Broderick (seasons 1-6)
Michelle Beaudoin
Paul Feig (both; season 1)
Jenna Leigh Green
(seasons 1-3)
Nate Richert (seasons 1-4 and 7, regular; season 5-6, recurring)
Lindsay Sloane
Alimi Ballard
(both; seasons 2-3)
Martin Mull (seasons 2-4)
Jon Huertas
China Jesusita Shavers (both; season 4, recurring)
Soleil Moon Frye
Elisa Donovan
(both; seasons 5-7)
Trevor Lissauer (seasons 5-6)
Theme music composer Danny Lux (entire run)
Paul Taylor (seasons 5-7)
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 163 (plus three TV movies) (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 setup Film; Single-camera
Multi-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Hartbreak Films
Finishing the Hat Productions (1996-1997)
Viacom Productions
Distributor Paramount Domestic Television (2001-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2008)
CBS Television Distribution (2008-present)
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1996–2000)
The WB (2000–2003)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo surround sound
Original run September 27, 1996 (1996-09-27) – April 24, 2003 (2003-04-24)
Status Ended

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name. A popular teen show that spent considerable time as part of ABC's TGIF lineup in the mid-late 1990s.

The show starred Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina Spellman, a teenager with magical powers, who lived with her aunts Zelda (Beth Broderick) and Hilda (Caroline Rhea), and their magical talking cat Salem.

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

Contents

History and production

The unofficial pilot of the series was the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch.[1] 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.[2] The television series was produced by Hartbreak Films and Viacom Productions, and later was syndicated through Paramount Domestic Television on reruns – which would go on to absorb Viacom Productions in 2004, and be renamed to CBS Paramount Domestic Television in 2006, whose name is seen on the season 1, 2, and 3 DVDs. Then in 2007, the syndication arm was renamed to CBS Television Distribution, whose name is on the season 4, 5, and 6 DVDs.

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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 some sort of pun that related to the last outfit, then magically disappear.

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

The opening credits of seasons 5–7 are accompanied with 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.

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. Hilda and Zelda Spellman (played by both Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, respectively until 2002), her aunts, 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.[3][4][5]

Whereas the comic book series was set in the fictional Greendale, it was relocated to fictional Westbridge, Massachusetts, for the television series. The Spellmans' house is located at 133 Collins Road.[citation needed]

Plot summary

The pilot episode opens with Sabrina asleep on her sixteenth 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 Sabrina's 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 an inanimate object (in this case, 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 re-live 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 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".[6] 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, 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, an anti-social feminist and Miles Goodman, 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 all 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 whom she becomes engaged to. In the series finale, Sabrina calls off her wedding with Aaron and runs off with Harvey, her true love.

Ratings history (US)

Season Network Season premiere Season finale Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 ABC September 27, 1996 May 16, 1997 #41[7] 9.3[7]
2 September 26, 1997 May 15, 1998 #84[8] 7.4[8]
3 September 25, 1998 May 21, 1999 #41[9] 12.2[9]
4 September 24, 1999 May 5, 2000 #57[10] 10.24[10]
5 The WB September 22, 2000 May 18, 2001 #128[11] 2.4[11]
6 October 5, 2001 May 10, 2002 #140[12] 3.1[12]
7 September 20, 2002 April 24, 2003 #145[13] 2.9[13]

Characters

Sabrina Spellman (played by Melissa Joan Hart) is 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.

Hilda Spellman (played by Caroline Rhea) is 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. Zelda would later join her in the Other Realm, but returned for the series finale to attend Sabrina's wedding.

Zelda Spellman (played by Beth Broderick) is 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 moved with Hilda to the Other Realm. She was temporarily turned into a candle as a substitute for Sabrina's mother so they could attend Sabrina's wedding in the series finale.

Harvey Kinkle (played by Nate Richert) is Sabrina's boyfriend in the first four seasons. He breaks up with her when he finds out she is a witch. In the end he and Sabrina run off together after she dumps Aaron, her fiance. Is also revealed to be her soulmate because their soul stones fit together. Amanda, Sabrina's cousin, tells him about Sabrina getting married, and he arrives at the church on his bike as Sabrina runs out. They ride off together after a final kiss.

Salem Saberhagen (voiced by Nick Bakay) is a 500 year old wizard turned in to a talking cat because of plans to take over the world.

Syndication

When The WB network picked up the series after ABC dropped the series, The WB also picked up the rights to air reruns of the series on a weekday basis and continued to do so for a while after The WB ended the series. ABC Family, a United States cable network now has exclusive US rights to airing the show at 8:00am and 2:00pm on weekdays and has imposed restrictions to not allow any broadcast television networks in the U.S. from buying the rights to air the reruns again[citation needed]. The series aired on The N during 2004–2009, until the channel became TeenNick in September 2009, where it continues to air sporadically. In Canada, the show can be seen on YTV. In the United Kingdom, it can be seen on Nickelodeon on weekdays for an hour block. The Show can be seen in Ireland on RTÉ Two each weekday from 4:00pm–4:30pm. It is part of the youth orientated show The Den.

Multimedia

International

Sabrina has been internationally broadcast by the following stations under the following names:

Country Name Translation Station
 Albania Sabrina, shtriga Sabrina, Vampiric Witch Junior TV
 Argentina Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Telefe, Nickelodeon, Azul TV
Asia Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Star World (Stopped Airing in 2006)
Middle East[note 1] Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch ShowComedy on Showtime Arabia , MBC 2 ,Also In E-Junior But Private For e-Vision Subscribes
 Australia Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TV1, TV1+2 (Australia) and WIN Television formerly on the Seven Network and Network Ten
 Austria Sabrina – Total verhext Sabrina – Totally Bewitched ORF1
 Belgium Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Kanaal 2
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sabrina, tinejdžerska vještica Sabrina, The Teen Witch Federalna televizija
 Brazil Sabrina, a Aprendiz de Feiticeira Sabrina, The Witch Apprentice Globo, Nickelodeon, Record, TV2 Guaíba
 Bulgaria Cабрина Sabrina BNT Channel 1, GTV, Diema
 Canada Sabrina, The Teenage Witch/
Sabrina, l'apprentie sorcière
Sabrina, The witch apprentice ABC, the WB, YTV
 Chile Sabrina, la bruja adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TVN, Nickelodeon
 Colombia Sabrina, la bruja adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch RCN TV, Nickelodeon
 Costa Rica Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenege Witch Nickelodeon, Teletica
 Croatia Sabrina, mala vještica Sabrina, The Little Witch RTL Televizija
 Czech Republic Sabrina, mladá čarodějnice Sabrina, A Young Witch TV Prima
 Denmark Sabrina – Skolens Heks Sabrina – The School's Witch TV3 (Viasat)
 Dominican Republic Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Teleantillas, Nickelodeon
 Ecuador Sabrina, La Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Ecuavisa, Nickelodeon
 Estonia Sabrina, Teismeline nõid Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Kanal 2
 Finland Sabrina, teininoita Sabrina, The Teenage Witch YLE TV2
 France Sabrina, l'apprentie sorcière Sabrina, The Apprentice Witch France 2, Gulli, Canal J, Filles TV
 Germany Sabrina, Total verhext Sabrina, Totally Bewitched ProSieben
 Hungary Sabrina, a tiniboszorkány Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TV2, Viasat 3
 Iceland Nornin Unga The Young Witch RÚV
 India Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Star World
 Indonesia Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch RCTI
 Ireland Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch RTÉ Two.
 Israel סברינה, המכשפה הצעירה
(Sabrina, Hamekhashefa Ha-Tse'ira)
Sabrina, The Young Witch Channel 3, Kids Channel
 Italy Sabrina, Vita da Strega Sabrina, A Witch Life Italia 1, Boing
 Japan サブリナ Sabrina Disney Channel Japan
 South Korea 사브리나 Sabrina KBS1
 Malaysia Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch NTV7
 Mexico Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Televisa, Nickelodeon
 Montenegro Sabrina, vještica tinejdžerka Sabrina, The Teen Witch TV IN
 Netherlands Sabrina, Het Tienerheksje Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Nickelodeon
 New Zealand Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TV3
 Norway Heksen Sabrina Sabrina, The Witch TV3 (Viasat)
 Philippines Sabrina The Teenage Witch Sabrina The Teenage Witch Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC 5, now TV5) and Nickelodeon, but they stopped airing it in 2006.
 Peru Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch América Televisión, Frecuencia Latina, Nickelodeon
 Poland Sabrina, nastoletnia czarownica Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Polsat
 Portugal Sabrina, a Bruxinha Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Little Witch RTP 2 (no longer broadcasting the sitcom), SET (Present)
 Romania Sabrina, vrajitoarea adolescenta Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TVR 2
 Russia Сабрина – маленькая ведьма
(Sabrina, malen'kaya ved'ma)
Sabrina, The Little Witch STS
 Serbia Sabrina, veštica tinejdžerka Sabrina, The Teenage Witch RTS 1
 Slovakia Sabrina, mladá čarodejnica Sabrina, The Young Witch Markíza
 South Africa Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch SABC 1
 Spain Sabrina, cosas de brujas Sabrina, Witches' Matters Antena 3, Cuatro
 Sweden Sabrina tonårshäxan Sabrina, The Teenage Witch TV3, Kanal 5
 Taiwan 魔法少女莎賓娜 Magic Teenage Girl Sabrina
 Turkey Sabrina Sabrina ATV, KANAL1, STARTV
 Ukraine Сабрина – юна відьма
(Sabryna, yuna vid'ma)
Sabrina, The Young Witch Novyi
 United Kingdom Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Nickelodeon UK, CITV & ITV1 (1996–2006), SMTV Live (1998–2003) & Ministry of Mayhem (2004)
 Uruguay Sabrina, la Bruja Adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Saeta TV Channel 10, Nickelodeon
 Venezuela Sabrina, la bruja adolescente Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Venevision, Nickelodeon
 Vietnam Sabrina, cô phù thủy nhỏ Sabrina, The Little Witch VTV3, Đài truyền hình Việt Nam
  1. ^  Jordan,  Lebanon,  United Arab Emirates and other countries.

References

  1. ^ Bianculli, David (April 4, 1996). "'Clarissa' Makes a Bewitching 'Sabrina'". New York Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman). http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/entertainment/1996/04/04/1996-04-04__clarissa__makes_a_bewitchin.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  2. ^ Hall, Sarah (April 21, 2003). "Aniston: They're Real, and They're Spectacular". E! Online (E! Entertainment Television). http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/archive.jsp?uuid=c4564511-4b33-4ea6-9130-76f0fc08a2a6&entry=index. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  3. ^ Gerston, Jill (October 6, 1996). "A 'Normal Kid' With Magical Powers". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/06/tv/a-normal-kid-with-magical-powers.html. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  4. ^ David, Bianculli (September 25, 1996). "Witch Sitcom a Brew Ha-Ha". Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman). http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/entertainment/1996/09/25/1996-09-25_witch_sitcom_a_brew_ha-ha.html. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  5. ^ Levesque, John (September 27, 1996). "ABC's new 'Sabrina' could play as 'Bewitched: The Teen-age Years'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Corporation). http://www.seattlepi.com/archives/1996/9609270050.asp. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  6. ^ "Dream A Little Dreama Me". Sheldon Bull (writer). Sabrina the Teenage Witch. ABC. 1999-10-01. No. 2, season 4.
  7. ^ a b Bibler, Frank (July 26, 2002). "Complete TV Ratings 1996–1997". http://fbibler.chez.com/tvstats/recent_data/1996-97.html. 
  8. ^ a b "Final Ratings for '97–'98 TV Season". San Francisco Chronicle. May 25, 1998. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1998/05/25/DD61876.DTL&type=chart. 
  9. ^ a b "Final ratings for the 1998–1999 TV season". The Place. OoCities. http://www.oocities.com/Hollywood/4616/ew0604.html. 
  10. ^ a b "Top TV Shows For 1999-2000 Season". Variety. August 6, 2000. http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=chart_pass&charttype=chart_topshows99&dept=TV. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  11. ^ a b Bibler, Frank (July 26, 2002). "TV Ratings 2000–2001". http://fbibler.chez.com/tvstats/recent_data/2000-01.html. 
  12. ^ a b "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/2002/2002-05-28-year-end-chart.htm. 
  13. ^ a b (May 20, 2003). "Nielsen's TOP 156 Shows for 2002–03". rec.arts.tv. (Web link).

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