Melissa Joan Hart, Nick Bakay, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick, Nate Richert, Jenna Leigh green, Martin Mull, Lindsay Sloane, Soleil Moon Frye, Elisa Donovan, David Lascher, Michelle Beaudoin, Paul Feig, Trevor Lissauer
TV series created by: Nell Scovell
Developed by: Jonathan Schmock
Zelda – “Oh look Hilda she’s levitating, right on schedule.”
Hilda – “Let’s wake her up and tell her she’s a witch.”
There are some television shows which cast a spell on their audience in a way others never can.Sometimes it’s because they’re perfectly scripted, other times they have an excellent cast, and once in a while, as in the case of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, they just happen to know a little magic.Originally a TV movie of the same name, Sabrina the Teenage Witch first hit television screens as a long running show in 1996 with Melissa Joan Hart playing the title role of Sabrina, the girl who discovered she had a little bit of magic up her sleeve.The television show differed slightly from the movie and jettisoned practically everyone from the cast, meaning that when it first hit screens it started from scratch, introducing Sabrina to a new audience unfamiliar with the movie.
From the opening episode it was quickly established that Sabrina, who had just turned 16, had discovered for the first time she was a witch with a variety of powers she had previously been unaware of.If this wasn’t enough, her two aunts Hilda and Zelda who she lived with, were also witches and their pet cat Salem just happened to be a former warlock turned feline, as punishment for attempting to take over the world.This was a lot for Sabrina to take in, but she managed it and that initial episode also introduced Sabrina’s high school love interest Harvey Kinkle into her life, as well as school bitch Libby and best friend Jenny.Over the course of her first year, Sabrina found she would often get herself into a sticky situation and have to learn from her mistakes and rash decisions in order to rectify what had happened.Her use of spells couldn’t be taken for granted as each flick of her magic finger would often have huge consequences for her social life. Very much in the same way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003) would pit Buffy’s school days as the real monster she was battling, Sabrina’s time at school was about learning the correct way to do something and not always trying to take the short cut even though as a witch she technically could.
After the first season Sabrina’s friend Jenny was replaced with Valerie and Mr Kraft was introduced as the high school principle, often getting between Sabrina and the particular dilemma of the week.Although new story threads were added for the next few seasons, like Sabrina getting her witch license or becoming a mentor for another young witch, things pretty much followed on the same as before and a budding relationship between Sabrina and Harvey continued to simmer.For a long time Harvey remained unaware of Sabrina’s secret and even when he did learn the truth he’d be quickly made to forget, keeping a will they won’t they element to the series.This lasted for a while and eventually Sabrina and Harvey got together, but it didn’t last as they broke up during the fourth season before Harvey learnt the truth about Sabrina, and he was temporarily written out.
From the fifth season Sabrina attended college, got a bunch of new mates including Roxie and Morgan and she even got a new love interest in the form of Josh.Eventually as season 6 and 7 rolled on, Harvey made a return and Hilda and Zelda left the show, with only Salem sticking around from the very first episode to keep her company.The final episode saw Sabrina about to marry a guy she had been seeing called Aaron, only to find she literally had cold feet because she wasn’t sure he was her true love.In a fan pleasing moment she discovered Harvey was the one she was always destined to be with and sadly for poor Aaron she ditched him just before saying “I do”, to ride off with Harvey on his motorbike.
After 7 seasons the curtain finally came down on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and if truth be told some of that original magic which had kept the show fresh had faded long ago, leaving it about as exciting as watching a magic trick where you know how it’s done.With Sabrina getting older the concept of her learning about herself was still relevant, but not nearly as interesting once she had left her school years behind her.Those school days were the most relatable times for the audience because everyone had been in that situation and could easily identify with similar feelings. Still the show always managed to have a certain charm about it, whether it was thanks to Sabrina’s spells, or simply because of the constant off the cuff remarks made by Salem, meaning after all was said and done, the series certainly had its magic moments.
CAT-PHRASES: Arguably the real star of Sabrina the Teenage Witch was Salem the cat, but it wasn’t just his cute face which got him attention, it was more his way with words.
Ep: Cat Showdown
Sabrina - “A cat show? I can’t see you in a cat show.”
Salem - “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
Sabrina - “Of course.”
Salem - “Then get an application. This is our chance for a quick score.”
Ep: A Girl and her Cat
Sabrina - “Salem were you in my closet again?”
Salem - “Yeah, so?”
Sabrina - “You ruined my favourite Christmas sweater.”
Salem - “Yeah, so?”
Sabrina - “It meant a lot to me.”
Salem - “Then you shouldn’t have hidden your diary under it.”
Sabrina - “You were reading my diary again?”
Salem - “Yes and it’s duller than ditch water.”
SPELLING IT OUT: *Sabrina the Teenage Witch is based on an Archie comic of the same name, created by George Gladir and Dan DeCarlo.
*Melissa Joan Hart and Nick Bakay were the only actors to appear in every episode of the show.
*During the early seasons the opening titles would feature Sabrina magically changing her outfits in front of a mirror. She would appear in a few outfits, with the final one being different each week, followed by Sabrina making a remark about it.
*During the course of the show Sabrina would often cast spells on Harvey, especially if it involved him discovering her secret about being a witch. Eventually there reached a point where spells could no longer be used on Harvey because she had already used too many.
*Melissa Joan Hart’s sister Emily Hart played the role of Cousin Amanda, who appeared throughout the series.
*Caroline Rhea who played Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda, appeared in two more episodes than Beth Broderick who played Sabrina’s other aunt, Zelda.
*Magicians/illusionists Penn and Teller appeared in the pilot episode as members of the Witches Council alongside Blondie singer Debbie Harry.
*As well as appearing as Sabrina in the TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996), Melissa Joan Hart also played Sabrina in the TV movies, Sabrina Goes to Rome (1998) and Sabrina Down Under (1999).
*During the run of the show, Sabrina the Animated Series also appeared on screens and ran for 65 episodes from 1999 – 2000. Melissa Joan Hart provided the voices for the characters Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda, with her Sister Emily voicing Sabrina.
*Nick Bakay not only reprised the role of Salem in Sabrina the Animated series he also appeared as Salem in an episode of the Simpsons, Boy Meets World and Teen Angel.
*Prior to Sabrina, Melissa Joan Hart was most famous for playing teenager Clarissa Darling on television show Clarissa Explains It All (1991 – 1994).