One of the fairly small number of successful animated TV shows in recent years, "Sabrina: The Animated Series" ran from 1999-2001. While a lacking in originality, the series remains pleasant viewing that: kids can relate to, isn't edited in a blender, actually tells a story and offers a message or two without being heavy-handed.
The animated series essentially offers a "reboot" of the popular live-action series starring Melissa Joan Hart. This time around, Sabrina (voiced by Emily Hart, Melissa's sister)'s a 12-year-old dealing with all of the familiar problems that a teen deals with (trying to be popular, friends, homework) while managing to try and keep her witch status a secret.
The series has Sabrina living with (now a little *too* much younger, one of the show's issues) aunts Zelda and Hilda (both voiced by Melissa Joan Hart), as well as her uncle Quigley (Jay Brazeau) and Salem the cat (as with the live ation version, voiced by Nick Bakay.) There's also Sabrina's friends, such as Harvey (Bill Switzer) and Chloe (Cree Summer), and a rich brat named Gemini (Chantal Strand). The show's animation is bright and detailed, remaining a bit above average for a Saturday morning-style effort.
Some of the highlights of this 14-episode set include: "Witch Switch" (Sabrina learns why Gemini is such a brat when she switches lives with her), "Wag the Witch" (Sabrina runs against Gemini for class president in an election that includes dirty politics and Sabrina's attempt to cover up her witchiness), "This is Your Nine Lives" (Sabrina travels back in time to get Salem a different gift when she's upset with the one she made, only to find that Salem has hurt more people than he's helped over the years), "Stone Broke" (Gemini goes broke and realizes that Sabrina is her only friend) and "Molar Molar" (Sabrina doesn't want the pain of wisdom teeth removal, so she uses magic to get them out, only to find that she's also removed her wisdom.)
1. Witch Switch
2. Nothin' Says Lovin' Like Somethin' From A Coven
3. Wag The Witch
4. Most Dangerous Witch
5. Stage Fright
6. Witchy Grrrls
1. This Is Your Nine Lives
2. Stone Broke
3. When In Rome
4. Molar Molar
5. Xabrina, Warrior Witch
6. La Femme Sabrina
7. Wiccan Of The Sea
VIDEO: "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" is shown here by Shout Factory in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The animated series is given fine treatment with this presentation, as the animation looks crisp and clear throughout the show. Although a couple of minor specks and marks are occasionally seen on the elements, the majority of the episodes looked clean and clear. No pixelation or edge enhancement was seen. Colors looked bright and rich, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack provided clear dialogue and music. Given that it's a TV series, it's to be expected that the audio is not particularly bassy or full, but doesn't sound thin, either.
EXTRAS: None. A commentary on one episode by Melissa Joan and Emily Hart may have been amusing, but oh well.
Final Thoughts: "Sabrina: The Animated Series" may stumble in a few spots (while it's reasonable that Sabrina is younger here, why are her aunts vastly younger than they were in the live-action show?), the plots are entertaining, the voice work is enjoyable and the series provides welcome messages without being heavy-handed. Recommended.