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Featured TV on DVD Review: Sabrina: The Teenage Witch: The Seventh Season

July 21st, 2010

Sabrina: The Teenage Witch: The Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon

Sabrina: The Teenage Witch ran for seven seasons and dealt with numerous cast changes, and even a switch in networks over that time. The Seventh Season was also the show's last season, but can it go out on a high?

The Show

After a very clumsy opening wrapped up the cliffhanger of the previous season in a less than satisfactory way, we get to the major changes for the show's final season.

For those who don't remember what happened at the end of last season... Hilda had a serious boyfriend, but that fell apart, but she met a guy, it was love at first sight, and they decided to get married. Sabrina and Zelda decided this was a mistake and broke up the relationship. However, it really was love and the loss of her soulmate caused Hilda to fall apart, literally. In order to put her back together, Sabrina would have to sacrifice something of equal value. Her opening bid was a reduction in her use of the phrase, "Woo hoo". That was rejected. In the end, she gave up her true love, which caused her to fall apart.

At the opening of season seven, Zelda sacrifices her adult years to put Sabrina back together, but with Hilda married and Sabrina grown up, Zelda decides to head back to the Other Realm. Now Sabrina, Morgan, and Roxie move into Sabrina's aunt's house and start the next chapter of their lives.

This begins when Morgan wins an essay-writing contest with Scorch Magazine and gets to interview a band, taking Sabrina and Roxie to New York with her. Or to be more accurate, Morgan hands in an essay Sabrina wrote and wins the contest. And this eventually turns into a new job for Sabrina. And all of this by the end of the first episode. Her job involves a lot of guest stars (Avril Lavigne, Da Brat, that guy from the Backstreet Boys, etc.). However, these episodes feel like stunt casting run amok and the Scorch episodes never really find their footing. There are some that work, like Call Me Crazy or Sabrina Unplugged, but those are less about the job and more about Sabrina's magic gone awry, which is a long running theme of the show. One of the better episodes on the first disc is Witch Way Out, which has Sabrina nearly falling victim to a collector, who wants to add a Witch to his collection of mythical beasts. On the other hand, Bada-Ping! was disappointing. The Amanda episodes are usually fun, but this one was a message episode, and a heavy-handed one at that. Fortunately, unlike seasons past, this isn't the only appearance she has in season seven.

Disc two starts on a low note with Ping, Ping a Song, which is a bit of self-plagiarism. In a bit of a twist, Sabrina not using magic causes problems in In Sabrina We Trust. It turns out that so little magic has been used in the home, that there has to be a magic systems check performed. The major change of the season happens in the next episode, Sabrina in Wonderland, which has Sabrina introduced to Aaron, who will be her love interest the rest of the show. She goes all Cyrano de Bergerac in Getting to Nose You, while in Romance Looming the Fates threaten to take him away for Sabrina messing with their plans. Meanwhile, Roxie and Morgan find our that Harvey still has a thing for Sabrina, but doesn't want to mess up her relationship with Aaron.

And the relationship continues with wedding plans on Disc Three. After meeting Aaron's mother and father in Spellmanian Slip, Sabrina turns into a Bridezilla in You Slay Me. Then it's Aaron's turn to meet Sabrina's family, more specifically, Aunt Irma. The series ends with a two-parter where Sabrina's doubts come to haunt her.

I would argue that Sabrina: The Teenage Witch peaked during seasons two and three and the early changes to the show for season seven didn't help. However, it did have several good episodes over the course of the season, plus the season finale wraps up the show in an excellent way. A lot of very good shows stumble in their finale (Seinfeld) as well as shows of dubious quality (Voyager) by not understanding what fans are looking for. Seinfeld ended on a glorified clip show. What were they thinking? And in Voyager it didn't matter if the crew returned or not, it mattered how they would adjust if they did. The amazing thing with Voyager is they actually did the right thing, and then used time travel to erase it. It's like the writers were determined to not to go out on a high note.

Anywho, Sabrina: The Teenage Witch does exactly what it should in the end, it wraps up the emotional storyline that was at its core from the first episode and does it in a way that feels like a real ending, while simultaneously leaving opening the possibility of further stories later on. And there was real character growth. I like how Amanda went from just a simple pain in the ass to someone who actually went out of her way to help the person who used to be the objects of her torment. Although it would have been nice if both aunts made returns for the wedding.

Maybe I'm overselling it a bit, as the show rarely rose above the level of a family-friendly sitcom, but for fans of the show, Season Seven succeeds in giving the show the send off it deserves.

The Extras

The third disc includes Sabrina Goes to Rome, which was the TV movie that originally aired early in season three. It doesn't actually have any continuity within season three, as the only characters from the show present here are Sabrina and Salem, while it co-stars Tara Strong as Gwen. (The three returned a year later for Sabrina Down Under.) Sabrina travels to Rome, with Salem as a stowaway, where she is needed to crack the 400-year old mystery of a locket before her aunt's powers are lost forever. Once there, she meets Gwen, who turns out is also a witch, and the two work together. It's nice to have on the DVD and it is better than average for these types of film. A lot of the time, TV movies of concurrent TV shows feel like little more than three or four episodes crammed together, but that is not the case here. In fact, it won the Young Artist Awards for Best Family TV Movie/Pilot/Mini-Series for the year. (Sabrina, Down Under was nominated for the same award the next year, but didn't win.)

The Verdict

While it might have slipped from its peak, Sabrina: The Teenage Witch: The Seventh Season is still worth picking up for fans of the show. If you have purchased the previous six seasons, there's no reason to stop now.

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