“ Genre: Television - Sabrina The Teenage Witch / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Tibor Takacs / Actors: Melissa Joan Hart, Sherry Miller, Charlene Fernetz, Michelle Beudoin, Ryan Reynolds ... / DVD released 2005-01-24 at E1 Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a celebrated TV show of the mid nineties to the early noughties, featuring Melissa Joan Hart playing a witch called Sabrina, who also had to deal with life at school and love with jock Harvey Kinkle. However, before the show came around, this film was made as a sort of extended pilot episode, used to test reception and see if it was worth making a series. Now, on the strength of this rather poor opener, it's surprising that a) the show got made and b) that the show ended up being so good at times).
In this special, her name is Sabrina Sawyer instead of Spellman, but the core premise is the same; she is sent to live with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, who actually turn out to be witches who will help her transition into that role as she turns 16. This special consists of her trying to get with the dreamy Seth, who already has a girlfriend, and so the moral lesson becomes that she must find a way to get him to notice her without imparting a love spell which is supposedly illegal in witch law. Harvey stands in the wings, hoping Sabrina will see sense and get with him, meanwhile.
Because the form and idea is quite good, I presume that Nick executives looked past the poor plot and dodgy acting and realised a potential winner was on their hands, as it so clearly was. Fortunately the recasting for the show saw some true professionals come aboard, as well as Salem, the hilariously sarcastic cat, and some more clever writing that's quite challenging for a kid's show at times. This isn't a terribly good barometer and can only be recommended to hardcore Sabrina fans.