Nine years after the end of the last Sabrina series, Sabrina Spellman returned to television in a 3-D computer-animated series called “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch“, which ran for 26 episodes (the same length as “Sabrina’s Secret Life”) from Saturday, October 12, 2013, to Saturday, June 7, 2014.
This new series was developed by Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy and produced by Archie Comics, MoonScoop Group (a now-defunct French animation and production company that was founded in 2003 (with roots going back to 1984) and was bought by Mike and Liz Young of Ellipsanime for $820,518 and re-branded as Splash Entertainment on February 4, 2014, which likely is the reason why there was never a second season), and DSK Group (a business conglomerate headquartered in India).
The series premiered on Hub Network. Similar to the issue with PAX back when “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” first aired, a lot of people didn’t know what Hub Network was. It was the 2013-2014 iteration of the network that was previously known as Discovery Kids (1996-2010) and The Hub (2010-2013) and is now known as Discovery Family (2014-present).
The premise is similar to that of “Sabrina’s Secret Life”, except Witch School is in Witch World, not in the basement of Greendale High School, and Sabrina has more than one classmate. Also, in this incarnation only, Sabrina is a witch princess, destined to rule Witch World one day as queen.
Some of the characters in this series were pulled from the manga iteration of the comics (which I’d mentioned previously). Shinji is based on Shinji Yamagi, a fellow teenage witch that attends spellcasting school with Sabrina. He competes with Harvey for Sabrina’s affections. The version on this show is Enchantra’s son. Amy is based on Amy Reinhardt, a popular girl that competes with Sabrina for Harvey’s affections. The version on this show competes with Sabrina for Jim’s affections. Side note: Amy is similar to Libby Chessler from the live-action series, but the manga-inspired comics actually integrated Libby into the comic continuity.
Former Disney Channel star and current pop singer Ashley Tisdale was cast in the crucial role of Sabrina. Here is the entire main voice cast:
Ashley Tisdale – Sabrina Spellman
Ian James Corlett – Salem / Professor Geist
Tabitha St. Germain – Hilda Spellman / Veralupa (half-human/half-werewolf friend of Sabrina’s)
Erin Matthews – Zelda Spellman / Jessie
Maryke Hendrikse – Amy/Londa
Kathleen Barr – Enchantra / Tiffany Titan (security officer at Greendale High) / Zanda
Matthew Erickson – Harvey Kinkle
Andrew Francis – Ambrose
James Higuchi – Shinji
David A. Kaye – Jim
Jamie Leipert (uncredited) – Spugent (according IMDb and to Wikipedia)
Rebecca Shoichet – Spella (Enchantra’s older sister, Shinji’s maternal aunt)
I chose this particular episode to review, because it’s the first stand-alone episode that I happened to watch.
Writers: Pamela Hickey & Dennys McCoy (head), Dan Wicksman & Noria Wicksman
Director: Trevor Wall
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013
The episode opens with two witches named Londa and Zanda flying.
A troll is after them.
Londa declares she’s gonna roast the troll but ends up making it even madder.
However, Londa actually destroyed the troll’s weapon.
It turns out that their teacher, Professor Geist, was reviewing their actions in their “fighting in pairs” exam. He praises them. For some reason, he has a Scottish accent.
Also, he’s missing the lower half of his body. Sure, why not?
Sabrina offers to gives the girls a high five, but they think Sabrina thinks their names are High and Five. How the fuck can people be that dumb? Also, witches have never heard of high fives?
Sabrina tries to explain the high five to them but is confused about it herself.
The blond guy sitting next to Sabrina is her cousin Ambrose. Quite a bit of an upgrade from the Filmation series:
Shinji isn’t impressed and boasts about completing the exam faster than anyone so far.
Professor Geist pairs Ambrose and Sabrina together and has them pick a monster. Sabrina lets Ambrose pick it.
Ambrose starts talking trash but then gets afraid that he’ll choose the ice giant.
Sabrina is happy to report he chose the ice giant.
Ambrose gets a chill, hugs himself, and calls for his mommy. I love Sabrina’s expression, like she’s thinking “Bitch, please.”
The theme song, written by Noam Kaniel and Nicholas Varley and performed by Bridgette Hammers (with background vocals by Noam Kaniel), is pretty catchy. It runs one minute. My only complaint: Why didn’t they get Ashley Tisdale herself to record the song? Girl’s a pop singer!
The sequence uses the interesting approach of showing Sabrina’s human life as sketches in her notebook and then switching to her magic book and a completely different style to show her witch life.
After the theme song, Ambrose flatters Sabrina, and it takes her a moment to realize he’s talking about her.
Looks like being Enchantra’s son gives Shinji quite a few perks, such as a desk to himself, away from the other students. They’re literally beneath him.
Speaking of Shinji, he boasts he’s the best witch and insults Sabrina.
That’s what happens, man.
Sabrina asks Ambrose why he’s so worried about the ice giant. When he was a kid, his parents used the ice giant as a threat to get him to eat his “blood root”.
Sabrina tries to encourage Ambrose and wants him to give her a high five.
Ambrose is clueless, so Sabrina decides to go over the rules of the high five…some other time.
Wow, the Spellmans’ house has really been downgraded for this series. Check out their house in previous incarnations:
Salem is asleep. You just know something’s gonna happen.
On this series, Sabrina has a scooter, and she likes to drive to and from Witch World on it at high speeds and jump off it like an action star before it crashes (in this case, into Salem).
Later, Sabrina’s human friend,
Marnie Jenny Valerie Chloe Roxie Jessie, is over and asks Sabrina how Witch School went. Sabrina replies while preparing magical drinks for the two of them.
Jessie mentions she’s directing the school play, and Sabrina gets a funny line in. Jessie invites Sabrina to watch a rehearsal. It’s a British play called “Clotted Cream and Jam”. Sabrina enthusiastically agrees.
Later, at Greendale High School, Sabrina attends the rehearsal. Sabrina’s love interest, Jim, is playing one of the leads.
Katy Lemore Libby Chessler Gem Stone Portia Cassandra Amy is playing the other lead (Jim’s character’s wife). Both of them are doing bad British accents. Jessie loves it.
Amy’s “not feelin’ it”, though. She wants to wear her costume, despite the fact that this isn’t a dress rehearsal (she’s a “method actress”). Jessie tells Sabrina to give Amy the hat. Sabrina tosses the hat to Amy.
Amy says she doesn’t play catch, because she’s an actress.
“So…act like you’re playing catch.” I fucking love Sabrina.
Amy wants to do the kissing scene, which Jim is scared to do because of Sabrina’s presence.
He looks to Sabrina for guidance. Sabrina seems to give the go-ahead but then…
Sabrina randomly stands up and leans against a rolling costume trunk (why’s it here?), sending it rolling. Jessie orders “Follow that trunk!” Jim does, pissing off Amy.
There’s no way that a trunk of costumes could open the auditorium’s doors.
Sabrina joins Jim in chasing after the trunk.
As the trunk rolls down the sidewalk, Sabrina decides to try some “magic heavy lifting”.
She slightly moves a dumpster in an attempt to block the trunk, and Jim falls into it. Ha.
Off-screen costume carnage and exposition from Jim let us know the wardrobe trunk is now in Lake Greendale.
Back in the auditorium, Jessie gets a phone call that makes her day worse.
Marcy broke her leg, so Jessie asks Sabrina to play the maid. Sabrina has stage fright and pretends to pass out or something. I love her humor on this series.
Jessie begs her “best friend” to help her in her “hour of need”. Sabrina doesn’t agree, but Jessie goes ahead and announces her in the role.
Sharing the stage with Sabrina pisses Amy off. Sabrina’s unable to voice her objection to Jessie. Jessie makes an “artistic decision” to do a modern version of this play in modern clothes. Amy decides to keep her hat.
Harvey comes in, announcing he’s taping the play for the school. Wait, wait, wait, taping? Are tape-based video cameras even made anymore?
Wow, they really nerded Harvey up for this series. He’s hoping the play will now include aliens, monsters, and special effects. Jessie’s like “Fuck no, just modern clothes.” Amy’s like “Except for my hat, bitch.”
Sabrina takes Jessie aside to chat.
Outside, Sabrina brings up the scheduling conflict between the play and her exam. Jessie brings up Sabrina’s magic hourglass, which means eight hours in Witch World equals one hour here. Sabrina isn’t sure.
One week later, Ambrose nervously wonders when Sabrina will get here.
Seriously, this house looks like a dump.
The play’s in less than an hour, so Sabrina has nearly eight hours for her exam with Ambrose.
Hilda and Zelda give Sabrina some last-minute pointers. Sabrina thanks them.
Zelda has a New York accent on this series, which is a really odd choice for someone from another dimension (though no more so than a Scottish accent).
In Witch World, Shinji does a spell to lock the door between Sabrina’s house and Witch World to prevent her from taking her exam (he’s so insecure over her upstaging him).
Oh, and the goblin that he’d caught during his exam sneezes blue snot on him. Whatever.
Back home, Sabrina flips her magic hourglass and then tears off on her scooter like a fucking maniac.
“What the hex?!” Okay, that’s cute. 🙂
Sabrina whips out her wand and shoots her magic all over that goo, but it doesn’t work. She has a good sense of humor about it, though.
Hilda identifies the goo, and Zelda’s pissed about having to clean it up, which will take them at least a day. Sabrina brings up Ambrose and the ice giant. Hilda proposes a solution.
The solution is a teleport brooch, activated by a dusting of dwarf toenails. Of course.
Zelda recommends a barf bag, but Sabrina tries out the brooch and likes it. Hilda mentions the brooch cancels out the power of the magic hourglass, so time passes at the same rate in both worlds.
“What the fuck, bitches?!”
Zelda offers Sabrina another barf bag.
In Witch World, Shinji shows up to taunt Ambrose over Sabrina’s absence. Geist is like “What the fuck?”
Shinji actually exclaims “Long live the me!” For fuck’s sake…
Sabrina suddenly bamfs in and apologizes for being late. Shinji’s like “What the fuck?!”
Ambrose hugs Sabrina and thanks “the skies”. Really? That’s so obviously euphemistic and intended to be inoffensive. Why not say “Thank the Goddess” or “Thank the Lady”? Real witches generally worship a female deity.
Ambrose manages to compose himself and tries a more subdued reaction, calling her “Brina” (like Harvey did back in the day), which I still find weird. I love how Sabrina casually cleans herself (of cooties, I guess).
Geist tells them to not “shilly-shally”. Nice try, but nobody gives that advice quite like Tifa Lockhart.
Shinji makes a shitty attempt at a burn and then takes off. Geist acts like a ring announcer and then gets the fuck away.
The ice giant shows up. Did he politely wait until Geist left, or did Geist know when he’d be showing up?
Anyway, the ice giant lets out a mighty roar, and Sabrina is casually impressed by it and appreciative of Ambrose’s terror. I fucking love Sabrina on this series.
Ambrose is glad that Sabrina’s here, but she informs him that she “may have to duck out from time to time”.
She then tells him to literally “Duck!”, and they avoid getting hit. Sabrina gets up but gets knocked on her ass again.
She heats up the ice and makes the ice giant fall through (somehow not melting him in the process).
“The fuck?! Whoops, sorry, Ambrose, I’m outty!”
As a parting gift, Sabrina tosses the ice giant into the distance.
Shinji sees Sabrina bamf out and figures out that she used a magic brooch to bypass the portal.
At Greendale High School, the audience is inexplicably enthusiastic about this play about stuffy British aristocrats.
Backstage, Jessie is worriedly pacing. Sabrina bamfs in. Jessie’s like “Bitch, where the fuck you been?!” Sabrina apologizes, saying she lost track of time, which isn’t true, since she has an automatic reminder.
Jessie pushes Sabrina toward the stage.
The audience applauds as Sabrina walks on.
Hilda is especially enthusiastic, telling Sabrina to “go for a touchdown”. Zelda corrects her.
Meanwhile, Harvey is bored, because this play sucks ass.
Amy is looking forward to bossing Sabrina around.
Sabrina’s acting is comedically horrible.
Amy’s next line insults Sabrina, and I can’t tell if it’s part of the script or if she improvised it, but it gets a laugh out of the audience.
Sabrina curtsies and nervously goes backstage.
Backstage, Jessie is happy for Sabrina, and Sabrina quickly bamfs out.
For some reason, this shocks Jessie.
Back in Witch World, Ambrose isn’t doing well against the ice giant, who knocks him on his ass. Ambrose nervously tries to distract the ice giant by pointing to a non-existent squirrel. For some reason, the ice giant actually briefly looks, but it doesn’t help Ambrose.
Sabrina announces her “dramatic entrance” with a blast from her wand.
The ice giant gets pissed and throws a series of giant ice balls at Ambrose, barely missing him. This monster’s got shitty aim. Ambrose runs away in terror, promising to eat his blood root.
Sabrina, in contrast, uses her acrobatic talent (a tradition from the live-action movie and series) to avoid getting hit.
She also casually taunts the ice giant.
Shinji has been observing all of this and casts a spell to give the ice giant “a little help”.
It doesn’t seem to make any difference, though. The ice giant still somehow manages to miss Sabrina and Ambrose. One of the ice balls goes past them in slo-mo, and I can’t tell if that was the result of Shinji’s spell or for dramatic effect.
Unfortunately, Sabrina’s brooch gets hit and broken. Sabrina hopes it came with a warranty.
She charges up an attack but then bamfs out without warning.
She bamfs into the auditorium, and her attack flies past the audience and hits the wall.
Jessie runs over to Sabrina and is like “What the fuck?!”
Then she gets upset, because her play is “ruined”. Because that’s the most pressing concern.
Sabrina has an idea, though.
She works the magic into the play as an alien invasion storyline. Naturally. Sabrina is a horrible actor, but it’s so fun to watch her try to bullshit everyone.
Jessie is shocked and horrified by Sabrina’s rewrite.
The audience, particularly Harvey, loves it, though. They even let out a gasp at the sheer cleverness of this plot twist.
Jim tries to play along, but he’s clearly thrown off by all of this, and you can practically hear “This is most unorthodox!” in your head.
Sabrina continues bullshitting.
Amy’s character gets into an argument with Sabrina’s character.
Sabrina barely misses a beat and continues piling on the bullshit. For those of you that are curious, this play now involves aliens invading 19th-century England to pay their respects to Shakespeare.
The aunts (particularly Hilda) and Harvey love it. Kudos to the music department for the weird, alien-sounding music.
Amy’s like “Bitch, what the fuck are you doing to this play?!” Jim tries to give Sabrina an opportunity to take back her story.
Amy hastily blames the French. Kudos to music again for inserting a bit of “La Marseillaise“.
Sabrina says she’ll get back to them about that and runs backstage.
She repeatedly hits her brooch (a guaranteed fix), and Jessie’s like “Bitch, what the fuck’s going on?!”
Okay, correction: “backstage” is actually off to the side of the stage and in full fucking view of the audience. How has the audience not seen her bamf in and out so far?
Anyway, Sabrina blames it on a “wardrobe malfunction”. She hopes Ambrose is okay.
In Witch World, Ambrose is still running away from the ice giant and crying out for Sabrina.
Back at Greendale High School, Sabrina is getting pissed at her brooch.
Jessie comes by with a tray for Sabrina in time for “the tea and crumpets scene”.
Sabrina fumbles for words and then gives Jessie a salute.
Amy is overacting in the hope of fucking Jim right on the stage.
Unfortunately, she’s crumpetblocked by Sabrina.
“THIS IS SOME GOOD SHIT, YO! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY HAVE SOME!”
Sabrina suddenly bamfs out. Without warning. In front of everyone.
The audience gasps. Zelda is rightly worried. Hilda seems…pleased? Harvey calls these the best special effects ever. Amy asks what the fuck’s going on.
Jessie happens to see the lever for the trap door and gives that as the explanation, despite the fact that Sabrina very clearly vanished in plain sight. They seem to buy it. Jim gets back into character and claims the “maid” has been abducted by the aliens. Amy gets back into character and gives a line that gets a good laugh from the audience.
Back in Witch World, Ambrose is facing certain death.
Sabrina suddenly bamfs in and jokes around with the ice giant. The ice giant drops Ambrose and goes after Sabrina. He suddenly grabs her tray and…
Sabrina’s like “Huh. Okay. Gotta remember that one. Might be on a test someday.”
After he finishes his tea and crumpets, the ice giant roars and starts throwing ice balls at Sabrina and Ambrose, so they run the fuck away. Oh, and they can jump really high too. Witch power?
Sabrina charges up an attack (she can fire from the palms of her hands on this series), but something goes wrong.
Back at Greendale High School, Amy tries to get a little somethin’-somethin’ from Jim but is broochblocked by Sabrina. So that’s what was going on with her in the previous scene. Why didn’t it just show her bamfing out?
Jim discovers a force field is surrounding Sabrina and asks what the budget for this play is. I’m not going to criticize him for not knowing force fields don’t actually exist, because, until recently, I didn’t know anti-gravity chambers don’t actually exist. (The 1980s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” series had the military using one matter-of-factly.)
Sabrina passes through the force field (Jim doesn’t question this) and helps Amy to her feet. Jim gets back into character and asks “the maid” if she was abducted. Sabrina plays along, figuring it’s as good a cover as any. The force field disappears, and Sabrina drops Amy on her ass.
Sabrina is horrified at what she’s done.
Amy is pissed. I’m not sure if it’s because Sabrina dropped her or because the audience is laughing at her. Maybe both.
Sabrina and Jim help Amy to her feet. Jim, in character, questions Sabrina’s “strange garments”. Sabrina claims this is what they wear in “Alienland”.
She bamfs out without warning (and clearly not over the trap door). Jim freaks out and drops Amy, who lands on her ass again. The audience yucks it up.
Y’know, I actually feel sorry for Amy.
Back in Witch World, Ambrose is running away from the ice balls. Sabrina bamfs in, and Ambrose falls on his ass.
Sabrina jumps incredibly high to avoid an ice ball, and Ambrose runs away.
“This is how you stylishly land, bitches!”
Sabrina jumps on the ice giant and somehow manages to knock him on his ass.
Sabrina’s brooch goes off, so she figures the best course of action is to…
…stick her hand in the ice giant’s mouth and grab his tooth. Of course.
As they’re about to bamf out, Sabrina says “Yep,…that’s happening.” What the fuck does she expect?
Ambrose runs by and wonders where the fuck they went.
Back at the play, Amy makes another attempt to kiss Jim but…
The audience is, once again, amazed.
Amy freaks out and runs away.
Sabrina goes into her bad acting again and passes the ice giant off as “the alien king”. Oh, and Amy’s “true love” for him melted his heart. Yeah.
The aunts are impressed.
Amy spits and wipes away the ice giant’s…germs?
She then quits the “stupid play” and storms off.
Awww, the ice giant had fallen in love with her, and she’s broken his heart.
Sabrina gets into character again (well, as much as a person of her acting ability is capable of doing) and tries to make the ice giant feel better while also wrapping up the damn play.
Oh, and Jim and Sabrina’s characters are getting married. Yay.
This makes the ice giant happy.
They receive a standing ovation.
Harvey is brought to (invisible) tears.
Jessie is overjoyed that the play was a hit.
Jim and Sabrina and pretty happy too.
Sabrina repeatedly tells Jessie to close the curtain and finally just does it magically. For some reason, this merits another standing ovation.
Later, at Witch School, we hear Professor Geist praising one of his “finest students”.
It turns out to be the ice giant, who’s apparently…practicing “Hamlet”. Okay.
He does such a great job that Geist gets excited and says he believes him.
This makes the ice giant happy.
The end credits uses this still image of Witch World while a shortened version of the opening theme plays.
So that’s an episode of “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch”. It’s pretty good. While I prefer traditional animation in general (CGI can feel somewhat cold), this isn’t bad. The characters generally look all right.
I love Sabrina’s personality in this series. She’s so humorous and peppy. Ashley Tisdale does a fantastic job. The supporting cast is pretty fun. We didn’t see all of them in this episode, but most of them are here. Amy’s a good mean girl / frenemy, though I prefer Cassandra. Jim is basically Harvey. Harvey has been turned into a total nerd for some reason. I don’t know what the reasoning for the change was. Jessie is an okay best friend for Sabrina. Ambrose is the comedic scaredy cat. Shinji is an annoying ass. The aunts are okay. I like Hilda better than Zelda. Zelda’s accent gets annoying. We didn’t see much of Salem in this episode. I don’t care for this incarnation of the character. He seems to be spying on Sabrina for Enchantra (who we also don’t see in this episode) in order to make Sabrina hate Earth life and want to live in Witch World, so Enchantra can steal Sabrina’s powers. Overall, it’s pretty good, and I look forward to watching more episodes.
I’m sorry that this review is late, but I didn’t want to do another quickie review this week and delay this review again.
Tune in next Wednesday!