TITLE: SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH - THE THIRD SEASON
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 542 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo Surround
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None
The third season of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is now on DVD! The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as the adorable teen who this season finally gets her witch’s license. However, there is a catch! Before she can use it, she must uncover a family secret -- with the help of her wacky aunt Hilda (Caroline Rhea), wise Aunt Zelda (Beth Broderick), and her talking cat Salem (Nick Bakay). And while they may advise her to keep her magic hidden, at school Sabrina still helps steady Harvey (Nate Richert) and best friend Valerie (Lindsay Sloane), while protecting herself from rival Libby (Jenna Leigh Green) and mean Mr. Kraft (Martin Mull).
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not quite the same reviewer you’ve read for the first two season sets. I’ve assumed the reviews of the show for the third season onward. The remaining ABC years I am familiar with but haven’t seen in several years, while the WB seasons I’ve never seen at all. I do, however, remember enjoying the ABC years of the show -- so this DVD should be good to view.
The plot arc holding the episodes this season together is, of course, the quest to discover the family secret. The plot kicks off in the season premiere, and runs through all the episodes, before concluding in the show’s season finale, set in Hawaii. In addition, this season, in a recurring plot arc, Aunt Zelda begins dating Mr. Kraft -- much to the dismay of Sabrina. This begins in the season’s third episode, “Suspicious Minds.” In an absolutely silly episode, “Pancake Madness,” Sabrina becomes addicted to pancakes after conjuring some up -- and struggles to break herself of her pancake habit before she makes a fool of herself. Later in the season, Sabrina casts a spell that grants the wishbone wish of Valerie’s family -- causing a good deal of trouble. The episode is “Whose So-Called Life is it Anyway?” In the season finale, Sabrina discovers the family secret...that every member of her family is born with a twin. And like any good cliché, one is the evil twin. But, is Sabrina the evil twin or is it Katrina (also played by Melissa Joan Hart)?
There are some interesting guest stars this season. Before he was Turk on Scrubs, Donald Faison had a role as the character Dashell -- this character appears for the only time this season in the season premiere, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Season Opener.” Longtime voice actor Billy West -- who *I* know best as the voice of Philip J. Fry in Futurama -- is Bogart in “Suspicious Minds.” Dom DeLuise guests as Cousin Mortimer in “The Pom-Pom Incident.” In a quartet of guest spots for former Laugh-In regulars, Gary Owens, Alan Sues, Jo Anne Worley and Ruth Buzzi all appear in the Halloween show, “Good Will Haunting.” Jerry Springer appears as himself in the episode “Mrs. Kraft”. Former Major League Baseball player Steve Sax -- plus a pre-Malcolm Frankie Muniz both appear in “Sabrina the Matchmaker.” Mary Ann Mobley -- Maggie from the final season of Diff’rent Strokes -- appears in “Salem, the Boy.” Figure skater Michelle Kwan appears in “Sabrina, the Teenage Writer.” Finally - Monty Hall, host of Let’s Make a Deal, appears as himself in “The Long and Winding Short Cut.”
If it’s a CBS DVD set outside of a handful of exceptions (Wings, for example), you know exactly what type of packaging to expect here. Hard plastic clear case -- it looks like an Amaray product, but I can’t find this model anywhere on their website, and it’s got a couple of design differences that make me think it’s not one of their products. Embedded onto the spine of the case, in nearly invisible letters, is “One-Time.” I am not sure if that is a manufacturer, a brand, a product line or what, but these cases are becoming *so* ubiquitous I’d love to know what they are.
The package art features Melissa as Sabrina pointing (in a sexy dress), with a little trail of what I guess is supposed to be magic coming out from it. Salem is by her feet -- but with the way the packaging is designed, he nearly is hit in the head by the magic trail. Oops. One thing that I am upfront about is that I am not very complimentary when I think studios are phoning it in to save time. Not surprisingly, the discs are the same silver that nearly *every* CBS DVD release is. I’ve even got movies from Paramount/CBS DVD that use this same disc style. I’ve seen them do discs with actual art -- Wings is again a great example. Why the rest of their DVD sets are so uniform is beyond me. The episode listings are behind each disc, which means you have to remove the discs to read them. Wonderful planning there.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Plain, but at the very least effective -- and easy to read. The menu is green, with white effects. Sabrina is on the right side, and points leftward, trail of magic emanating out. On the left are the episode titles. Selecting the episode takes you to the episode. No sub-menus whatsoever. Play All IS available.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video is good for a ten-year-old show. There are minor glitches here and there, and the colors are just a bit overly warm. Audio is loud and well balanced. The audio *is* a Dolby Surround track, as advertised, though it is not put to optimal use. There are no chapter stops to speak of, which is unfortunate.
The Sabrina Goes to Rome TV movie that aired in Season 3 is absent from this set. A big disappointment.
Standard disclaimer on the back of the box for all CBS DVD shows -- episodes may be edited, and music has been replaced for the Home Theater version. I cannot sort through what is or isn’t here, mainly because I don’t have anything to compare these to. If the runtimes are lower than the rest, they could be suspicious. Here are those runtimes:
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Season Opener: 21:44
Boy Was My Face Red: 21:44
Suspicious Minds: 21:45
The Pom-Pom Incident: 21:45
Pancake Madness: 21:44
Good Will Haunting: 21:44
You Bet Your Family: 21:45
And the Sabrina Goes To...:21:15
Nobody Nose Libby Like Sabrina Knows Libby: 21:43
Sabrina and the Beast: 21:43
Christmas Amnesia: 21:27
Whose So-Called Life Is It Anyway?: 21:44
What Price Harvey?: 21:44
Mrs. Kraft: 21:44
Sabrina and the Pirates: 21:44
Sabrina, the Matchmaker: 21:31
Salem, the Boy: 21:44
Sabrina, the Teenage Writer:21:43
The Big Sleep: 21:45
Sabrina’s Pen Pal: 21:40
Sabrina’s Real World: 21:45
The Long and Winding Shortcut: 21:44
Sabrina, the Sandman: 21:44
Silent Movie: 21:43
The Good, the Bad, and the Luau: 21:43
As you should no doubt expect, there are absolutely no special features to be found on this set. Par for the course for the distributor, CBS DVD/Paramount
It’s been some time since I’ve seen most of these shows -- I never *did* learn what the family secret was until now. Evil twin...gotta love sitcom clichés being used because they’re sitcom clichés. I finally remembered why I liked this show during the ABC years. While I haven’t seen the shows to be sure, from everything I’ve heard it seemed like the show just...lost something during the WB episodes.
I can complain about the distributor of the DVDs for a month and not run out of material, but they are not going to change, at least not overnight. It is a good show, on a decent set -- I just wish someone else were putting it out. Still, RECOMMENDED.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 2/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 01/04/07
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