Sabrina The Teenage Witch: The Complete First Season â€" DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Created by
Nell Scovell

Cast
Melissa Joan Hart ………. Sabrina Spellman
Caroline Rhea ………. Hilda Spellman
Beth Broderick ………. Zelda Spellman
Nick Bakay ………. Salem Saberhagen (voice)
Nate Richert ………. Harvey Kinkle
Michelle Beaudoin ………. Jenny Kelley
Jenna Leigh Green ………. Libby Chessler

DVD Release Date: March 6, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 528 Minutes on 4 discs

The Show

The character Sabrina Spellman first appeared in print, as a comic book heroine in books published by Archie Comics. She first made the transition to the small screen in 1996 in a TV movie that later became a sitcom. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains it All) played Sabrina in the movie and was the only cast member to make the transition to TV regular.

The show was a part of ABC’s “TGIF” block on Friday nights. Like the other shows on that block, it was family oriented and could be watched by kids, teenagers and adults alike. It was a classic family show that dealt with the problems facing a teenager and lessons she learns, but with a twist — magic.

Sabrina Spellman lived with her two aunts, Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), and on her 16th birthday learned she’s part witch part mortal (She gets the witch part from her father’s side of the family). As if she didn’t have enough problems already — starting a new school and being the victim of the popular Libby’s harassments – now she has to cope with this new knowledge and the affect magic has on her day-to-day life. Suddenly she could seek retribution against those who taunted her without getting caught, turn lead into gold, travel to Europe at the point of a finger and make everyone speak the truth. But it wasn’t all good times as the fun ends when you sign a contract that makes you marry a troll or the baby you’re watching turns into a full grown man.

Sabrina The Teenage Witch had some very funny moments and appealed to a wide audience. The kids loved it for the comic characters, teenagers loved it for Melissa Joan Hart, adults loved it for the educational messages it had (Like every TGIF show) and everyone loved it for Salem, who’s still one of the coolest characters ever on TV (And no, you did not have to be stoned to appreciate Salem). But the show wasn’t innovative or sophisticated in any way. It wasn’t Seinfeld, Frasier or Friends, and it wasn’t a “Must See”. If you watched it, cool. If not, that’s cool too.

The first season of the show is now available on DVD. It consists of 24 episodes on four discs. It comes in one keep case that has a special plastic insert that allows all four discs to sit steadily and safely in the single pack.

Episodes

Disc 1

“Pilot”: Sabrina turns 16 and learns she’s a witch for the first time. She also starts a new school and it’s not going very well.

“Bundt Friday”: Tired of the lies Libby tells about her, Sabrina decides to slip her some truth sprinkles. However things go wrong when those sprinkles make their way to almost everyone in the school.

“The True Adventures of Rudy Kazootie”: In an effort to make some extra cash, Sabrina starts babysitting but accidentally turns the baby into a full grown man (physically, not mentally).

“Terrible Things”: Sabrina wants to make everyone happy, so she makes Janny class president, toys with alchemy and helps Harvey play football. But TERRIBLE THINGS happen as the result of that.

“A Halloween Story”: Taking a page from Multiplicity, Sabrina clones herself in order to be at two places in the same time.

“Dream Date”: Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210) guest stars as Sabrina’s “dough boy” date, created by her aunts so Sabrina will have a date for the dance.

Disc 2

“Third Aunt From the Sun”: Raquel Welch makes her first appearance on the show as Sabrina’s third aunt, Vesta and Sabrina has to choose between staying on Earth or moving to the other realm.

“Magic Joel”: Taking her magic powers to the stage, Sabrina becomes a magician’s assistant, but it turns out that the magician isn’t that good.

“Geek Like Me”: What happens when the coolest girl in school becomes a geek? Sabrina teaches Libby a lesson in this episode.

“Sweet and Sour Victory”: In homage to Karate Kid Sabrina becomes a Kung Fu champion. And Hilda wants to be a concert violinist.

“A Girl and Her Cat”: Salem gets catnapped by a kid who won’t give him back, until Sabrina hatches a cunning plan to bring him back.

“Trial by Fury”: Sabrina gets to live every kid’s dream, as she and her aunts use magic to get back at her math teacher.

Disc 3

“Jenny’s Non-Dream”: Jenny accidentally enters the other realm and gets turned into a grasshopper. The Spellmans have to turn her back and forget this ever happened.

“Sabrina Through the Looking Glass”: Sabrina gets trapped in her own bad mood, inside a mirror and learns the magical powers of Flan.

“Hilda and Zelda: the Teenage Years”: Sabrina’s aunts turn themselves into teenagers in order to chaperone Sabrina at a rock concert and later teach her hoe to fly.

“Mars Attracts”: While vacationing on Mars (witches can do that, you know) Sabrina gets the hots for a lovely ski instructor, while Salem, who stays home, hosts a party.

“First Kiss”: In this season’s Valentine’s Day episode, Sabrina turns Harvey into a frog with a kiss, and has to prove their true love in order to turn him back.

“Sweet Charity”: Sabrina tricks Libby into volunteering at a senior citizen’s home, but gets jealous when she steals her adopted grandma.

Disc 4

“Cat Showdown”: Sabrina learns what it’s like to be Salem, when she has to enter herself as a contestant in a cat show.

“Meeting Dad’s Girlfriend”: Sabrina has to face two teenage traumas in one day — introducing her boyfriend to her dad and being introduced to her dad’s girlfriend.

“As Westbridge Turns”: In an effort to make things more interesting, Sabrina turns Westbridge to a soap opera town, including all the glorious clichés.

“The Great Mistake”: Messing up has some bad affects on Sabrina, as she shrinks to a miniature. Her aunts share their own messing up stories in order to cheer her up and we get to see Salem in human form.

“The Crucible”: When going on a class trip to Salem, MS, Sabrina gets to be the star of a mock witch trial, but avoids being burnt at the stake.

“Troll Bride”: Always read what you’re signing. Sabrina learns that lesson the hard way, as she signs a contract and almost ends up married to a troll.

The DVD

The Video
Full screen, as it was originally shot. The transfer is very basic, as this 90’s sitcom looks like a 90’s sitcom, with hardly any cleanup. It doesn’t look bad, just could be better.

The Audio
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Normally it doesn’t really matter in a sitcom, but since this show occasionally used some sound effects to illustrate the magical nature of the show, a 5.1 track could have benefited the release.

Special Features
None. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Gurnisht. No commentaries, no behind-the-scenes interviews, no bloopers, no deleted scenes. Absolutely nothing, unless you count a commercial for other studio releases, presented before the main menu (but thankfully can be skipped) as a special feature.

The Inside Pulse
A basic release for show that deserves better. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a must see show but provided some good laughs. Plus, this series had a talking cat! However, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who isn’t already a die hard fan of the show getting this set.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Sabrina The Teenage Witch: The Complete First Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

7
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

6
OVERALL
7
(NOT AN AVERAGE)