directed by various
USA 1996

 

For a long while, Melissa Joan Hart looked younger than her actual years. When she was the lead on Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All, network executives requested that she forego dental surgery since the gap caused by a missing front tooth made her look like a kid. This way, young viewers could identify with Clarissa even though her character was clearly meant to be in her teens. After a five-year run, Clarissa left the air, and MJH had to look for another job opportunity.

MJH wound up developing Sabrina Spellman, a minor character in the Archie-Comics world, into a new show. First, there was a made-for-TV movie that tested waters, and the powers-that-be thought that there was enough viewer interest to sustain a regular series. Indeed, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch ran for seven seasons, taking the character from high school to college. There were a couple of spin-off TV movies, too.

First seasons are always rough, and this was no exception. There was a 3-D episode that was probably cool when it aired but now yields an episode that looks like it has mis-aligned colors (which is technically true since that is partly how 3-D is achieved). For reasons that are still hidden from me, Sabrina’s best friend was dropped before the end of Year One.

Still, Sabrina got off to a good start with a well-cast core. Melissa Joan Hart always conveyed frustration and annoyance with a hint of cuteness, so she never played Sabrina as a spoiled, over-privileged brat. Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea are hilarious as Sabrina’s zany aunts. In many ways, though, one could say that the show belonged to Nick Bakay, the voice of Salem Saberhagen the cat. Salem is the funniest element of the show, and MJH once even said that she had heard of a drinking game based on Salem. Basically, whenever the cat talked, you downed a shot.

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Season 1 contains the following episodes:

Disc 1: Pilot, Bundt Friday, The True Adventures of Rudy Kazootie, Terrible Things, A Halloween Story, Dream Date.

Disc 2: Third Aunt From the Sun, Magic Joel, Geek Like Me, Sweet and Sour Victory, A Girl and Her Cat, Trial By Fury.

Disc 3: Jenny’s Non-dream, Sabrina Through the Looking Glass, Hilda and Zelda: The Teenage Years, Mars Attracts, First Kiss, Sweet Charity.

Disc 4: Cat Showdown, Meeting Dad’s Girlfriend, As Westbridge Turns, The Great Mistake, The Crucible, Troll Bride.

Yunda Eddie Feng

Theatrical Release: 1996-1997

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 528
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 surround English
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• promo reel for other CBS/Paramount TV shows

DVD Release Date: 6 March 2007
keepcase

Chapters 24

 

Comments:

Video:
Sabrina is presented in its original 1.33:1 broadcast aspect ratio. Like most TV shows mastered in 480i/480p video during post-production, this one looks a tad soft, though the use of a wide-ranging color palette keeps the series looking very busy.

Audio:
You only get Dolby Digital 2.0 surround English tracks for the series, though you don’t need any fancy audio configurations for a low-key sit-com aimed at children anyway. Dialogue is always intelligible, though some of the music has been changed due to licensing reasons.

Optional English closed captions support the audio.

Extras:
This is a bare-bones release, though someone out there has got to have blooper reels. Well, okay, the first disc has a promo reel for other CBS/Paramount TV shows, but this isn’t a real “extra”.

--Miscellaneous--
I’ve long thought that a standard DVD keepcase could hold at most two discs. The folks at Paramount surprised me by putting four DVDs in a transparent standard DVD keepcase. Though the configuration saves space and materials, it is a bit inconvenient to read the episode summaries that were printed on the reverse side of the cover art.

(7.25 is my estimate for the bitrate because my bitrate program yields a weird number due to the bitrate graph dropping into negative values sometimes.)

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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