tek's rating: meh and three quarters

Sabrina the Teenage Witch, on Showtime
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This first aired in 1996, and led to the ABC series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. I didn't see the original movie until 2020, on Amazon. There are some differences from the TV series, like it's set in Riverdale, and Sabrina's last name is Sawyer, and both her parents (whom we never see) are witches. In both this movie and the series, Sabrina is played by Melissa Joan Hart, and her best friend in this movie and in season one of the series is played by Michelle Beaudoin, though here the character's name is Marnie and in the series it's Jenny. All the other actors are different.

The movie starts a few months after Sabrina has moved to Riverdale to stay with her aunts, Zelda and Hilda, while her parents are away on a sabbatical. Her 16th birthday is approaching, and we learn from the aunts that there's something special about Sabrina that she herself won't learn about until then. Meanwhile, it seems like her only two friends are Marnie and a boy named Harvey, who obviously has romantic feelings for Sabrina, though she's oblivious to that. She's more interested in the most popular boy in school, a jock named Seth (Ryan Reynolds), who is dating a girl named Katie. Seth and Katie both do track & field, and Marnie suggests she and Sabrina try out for the team, to get closer to Seth. Marnie doesn't make the team, but Sabrina does. And when her aunts eventually reveal to her that she's a witch, she uses her magic to help her become a better athlete, and attract Seth's attention.

What else can I say? There is of course a talking cat named Salem, who is Zelda and Hilda's familiar. And at one point, Sabrina uses magic to try on different outfits in front of her mirror, which I liked because she does that during the opening credits of the first few seasons of the series. But on the whole, I didn't like the movie nearly as much as the series.

genre TV movies index