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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Fourth Season
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Fourth Season
Paramount // Unrated // June 17, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 15, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

A mainstay on ABC's Friday "TGIF" lineup in the 1990's (along with shows like "Boy Meets World" and previously, shows like "Family Matters" and "Step-by-Step"), "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" was a series that built up a good-sized fanbase of those who enjoyed the adventures of the teenage spellcaster. The series followed Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart), who lived with her two aunts Hilda (comic Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), who reveal to Sabrina that she's a witch with special powers.

The series then followed Sabrina as she tried to navigate being a teenager and a witch. She was joined by pal Valerie (the underrated Lindsay Sloane, who's always very funny, but who's rarely been given anything besides a supporting role), villain Libby (Jenna Leigh Green), as well as romantic interest Harvey (Nate Richert) on various adventures. Every episode saw Sabrina using magic, but ultimately having to solve her problems by using her own smarts instead of having to rely on her powers to get her out of a jam.

The series eventually started to fall rather flat when it changed to the WB and focused on Sabrina's college experience, but during the "TGIF" ABC years, the show offered up enjoyably breezy comedy and usually a lesson that wasn't presented in too heavy-handed a manner. Melissa Joan Hart's performance also played up the material well, as the actress offered a snappy delivery and was good with both the jokes and the occasional physical comedy required. Rhea and Broderick also bounced jokes off one another quite well, as well. Additionally, Nick Bakay (who was also a writer on the series for some time - not a bad gig getting to have a hand in writing your own material) managed to steal some scenes as the voice of animatronic cat, Salem.

The fourth season of the series was the beginning of the end for the series that fans had grown fond of over three seasons prior. The season would be the end of "Sabrina"'s run on the ABC network, but it would also be the end (until a brief, unsuccessful return a couple of years later) of "TGIF", ABC's block of Friday night comedies that had started to lose viewers as more and more audience members flocked away from network television on Friday (and Saturday, as well) nights. It also didn't help that some of the "TGIF" shows (anyone remember "You Wish"?) paired with "Sabrina" didn't last more than a season.

The fourth season of the series saw the show veering towards what it would become when it transitioned over to the WB. During this season, Sabrina has turned 18 and soon finds out that with adulthood comes responsibility in the form of young witch Dreama (China Shavers), who she is assigned to train. The season's other focus is the love triangle between Sabrina, boyfriend Harvey and her new boss, Josh (David Lascher). Having Sabrina and Harvey on the rocks never worked for the series, and "Prelude to A Kiss", where Sabrina tried to use magic to secretly be able to date both of them, didn't put the character in a particularly positive light.

Still, despite the series gradually shifting towards an older audience, the fourth season of the show does offer some highlights from favorite supporting character Salem ("Salem and Juliette" and "Salem's Daughter") and the relationship between Principal Kraft (Martin Mull) and Zelda (Beth Broderick) does lead to some fun moments.

Note: the back of the package notes that music has been altered from the original versions (a music rights issue) and some episodes are edited from their original network versions.

Season 4

76. 4- 2 24 Sep 99 No Place Like Home
On her 18th birthday, Sabrina's father invites her to come live with him in Paris, but after she moves there, it appears that no one at home misses her.
77. 4- 3 1 Oct 99 Dream a Little Dreama Me
Not only must Sabrina mentor a young witch named Dreama, she discovers Harvey's friend Brad is a witch hunter. Hilde buys a clock shop.
78. 4- 4 8 Oct 99 Jealousy
Sabrina turns green with envy - literally - when Harvey starts spending time with Brad. Zelda gets jealous when Mr. Kraft's brother spoils Hilda.
79. 4- 5 15 Oct 99 Little Orphan Hilda
While Sabrina is excited about her grandmother's visit, her aunts dread facing their overly critical mother.
80. 4- 6 22 Oct 99 Spoiled Rotten
New credit card owner Sabrina starts buying everything in sight. However, not donating any of it to a charity drive like she was supposed to makes her start to rot away.
81. 4- 7 29 Oct 99 Episode LXXXI: The Phantom Menace
On Halloween, when Edgar Allen Poe visits her aunts Sabrina has to work at the coffeehouse by herself and the place becomes overrun with zombies.
82. 4- 8 5 Nov 99 Prelude to a Kiss
Bored with Harvey, Sabrina finds herself attracted to new boss Josh. So, with Dreama's help, she uses magic to try to secretly date both of them.
83. 4- 9 12 Nov 99 Aging, Not So Gracefully
After Josh tells Sabrina that she's too young for him, she uses an aging cream - to disasterous results.
84. 4-10 19 Nov 99 Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
Sabrina is warned not to use magic to apologize to Harvey about kissing Josh.
85. 4-11 21 Nov 99 Ice Station Sabrina
Back with Harvey, Sabrina is thrilled to find out about their ski trip - until she finds that witch-hunter Brad is also tagging along.
86. 4-12 10 Dec 99 Salem and Juliette
Desperate for a date to his high school reunion, Salem falls for the white Persian cat who agrees to go with him. Meanwhile, Sabrina suspects Mr. Kraft of stealing.
87. 4-13 17 Dec 99 Sabrina, Nipping at Your Nose
After their Christmas week in Jamaica is canceled, Sabrina draws the ire of Mother Nature and has to make amends by cheering up mean Mr. Kraft.
88. 4-14 7 Jan 00 Now You See Her, Now You Don't
When Sabrina and Harvey are nominated to be king and queen of the holiday dance, Sabrina diets to try to fit int a dress and ends up disappearing.
89. 4-15 21 Jan 00 Super Hero
Aunt Hilda casts a spell to get Mr. Kraft to follow his childhood dream, but it also affects Harvey, who turns into a teen superhero.
90. 4-16 11 Feb 00 Love in Bloom
On Valentine's Day, Sabrina has to find a way to get Josh to stop vying for her heart before it causes her to break up with Harvey.
91. 4-17 25 Feb 00 Welcome Back, Duke
After Salem's former underline completes his sentence as a cat, he stays with the Spellmans and ruins Sabrina's chances of getting into a musical.
92. 4-18 3 Mar 00 Salem's Daughter
- When Sabrina finds out that Salem has a daughter, she agrees to perform as maid of honor at her wedding, but Harvey thinks it's Sabrina who wants to get married.
93. 4-19 17 Mar 00 Dreama the Mouse
With the annual skip day quickly approaching, Sabrina gets spring fever and Dreama does magic in front of Brad and gets turned into a mouse.
94. 4-20 31 Mar 00 The Wild, Wild Witch
A magic prospector sends Sabrina back in time to a Wild West town.
95. 4-21 14 Apr 00 She's Baaaack!
While Hilda and Zelda are trapped in a genie bottle, Sabrina has to come up with a spell to get her young cousin Amanda to stop desiring Harvey.
96. 4-22 28 Apr 00 The Four Faces of Sabrina
- On the day of her prom, Sabrina is accepted into four different colleges, which causes her to split into four different Sabrinas when she can't decide on which to choose.
97. 4-23 5 May 00 The End of an Era
Sabrina forces Harvey and Josh to compete for her in an obstacle course in the Outer Realm, but learns to late that it's actually a fight to the death.



The DVD

VIDEO: Paramount presents "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Picture quality matches broadcast quality, as while sharpness and detail aren't exceptional, the image at least looks moderately crisp throughout. Some slight artifacting is seen in a few moments here-and-there (mainly in some darker scenes), but the picture otherwise looked clean and clear. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other concerns.

SOUND: The show is presented with a crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.

EXTRAS: Unfortunately, none. It's too bad, as the series certainly had an audience, and there could have been fun extras, like having Nick Bakay to come in and do commentary as Salem - things like that.

Final Thoughts: "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" eventually lost its magic a bit when the series moved to Sabrina's college years, but the early seasons of the series hold up well, remaining light and fun. The fact that music has been edited and episodes are apparently edited is a disappointment, but fans may still want to check out the set as a rental or purchase if on sale.

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