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DVD Review: ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ S3
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Tripp J Crouse   |  

Sabrina The Teenage Witch - The Third Season DVDSabrina The Teenage Witch
The Third Season
Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick
Paramount Home Video
Available Jan. 15, 2008

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Season 3 offers up 25 episodes of more high school hijinks and hilarity for teen witch Sabrina Spellman, played by Melissa Joan Hart, and her family and friends.

Sabrina and her hocus-pocus trio of compatriots — her aunts Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), and the family cat, Salem, (voiced by Nick Bakay) — share in the teen’s quest to solve the family secret, a preclude to her being able to use her newly obtained witch’s license.

Refraining from telling Sabrina outright, her aunts recruit various Spellman family members to offer up clues to the secret when each relative comes for a visit. Each clue unfolds a giant rebus puzzle as each piece only adds to the mystery and builds upon Sabrina’s frustration and worry that she may not solve the secret in time.

Most of the episodes construct some vaguely real-life scenario Sabrina must overcome, but when she enlists her spell-crafting ability, her miscast magic causes further havoc and the teen witch must rely on the sage advice of the elder aunts, or worse, she has to listen to the cat in one of his oh-so-self-righteous “I told you so” rants. Salem, a one-time warlock turned cat as punishment for trying to take over the world, actually plays a duel role within the Sabrina series, as both catalyst and foil to Sabrina’s teen naïveté. Over and over, Sabrina overcomes the odds and redeems herself at the end, a premise that should grow tired, cold, and trite, but always seems to find the right beat and heart-warming conclusion.

Only a handful of the 25 shows give Sabrina’s antics a slight reprieve when something beyond her own actions puts her life on tilt, the episodes embracing the chaotic requiems of outside circumstances as a break in the standard form of storytelling.

Ideally, one wishes that a television series is always “on.” And I mean “on” in that all the pins are firing, and not that TV programmers have created an infinite loop of nothing but the show. Sadly, the early episodes are a bit disjointed, no doubt carry-over from the two previous seasons, but they make remise splendidly down the line and many of the idiosyncrasies start falling into place. Eventually congealing the storylines and the motley cast of characters, Season 3 of Sabrina takes off on a mystically powered vacuum cleaner.

Some of the better episodes include “Pancake Madness,” in which Sabrina becomes addicted to pancakes and will stop at nothing to satiate her new syrupy lust; “Nobody Nose Libby Like Sabrina Nose Libby,” a Fantastic Voyage homage in which Sabrina and Salem explore Libby’s septum; and “Silent Movie,” when Hilda and Sabrina cast two quiet spells, the ensuing cinematic pastiche brews awesomeness.

The other characters at the forefront of Sabrina’s mad shenanigans include her boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (Nate Richert), best friend Valerie Birkhead (Lindsay Sloane), arch-nemesis Libby Chessler (Jenna Leigh Green), and principal Willard Kraft (Martin Mull).

The heartbreaker of the disc is that the Sabrina seasons haven’t improved on the special features that make a DVD set viable. No behind the scenes, no recaps by the actors, no episode commentary, nothing. Not including some extras seems incomprehensible, and could be the key detriment to a possible shopper picking up the set.

Still, Sabrina’s dialogue and schooling in the ways of witchery is the magic touch for the 1998-99 4-disc Season 3 DVD set. And her onscreen romance with Harvey reaches near full blossom toward the end of the season, as does the romance between Sabrina’s aunt Zelda and Principal Kraft, creating further strife in teen’s life.

1 Comment »

  1. I never saw this show, but I do remember she caused quite a stir when she was on the cover of Gear magazine– well I think it was her.

    Comment by Jerry — January 12, 2008 @ 12:09 am

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