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Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Fifth Season



DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Color/ 2000-01
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 8 hours, 6 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Video: Color/Full Frame (1.33:1)
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: None
Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Melissa Joan Hart is back as Sabrina Spellman, television’s most popular teen witch! This season, Sabrina’s enrolled in college in Boston, where she discovers just how hard it is juggling school, romance, and three new roommates, straight-talking Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye), resident advisor Morgan (Elisa Donovan), and science geek Miles (Trevor Lissauer). Still working at the coffeehouse with her secret crush Josh (David Lascher) Sabrina is surprised when her Aunt Hilda (Caroline Rhea) decides to buy the popular establishment. And since Aunt Zelda (Beth Broderick) now teaches at Sabrina’s college, talking cat Salem (Nick Bakay) is able to conjure up even more outrageous schemes! The fifth season marks the show’s first year on The WB, after a 4-year run on ABC. 

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

I’m really the wrong person to ask. The area where I lived when Sabrina was originally on the air didn’t have a WB affiliate, so I never saw the show again after it left ABC. Due to dwindling interest, I never really followed the show in syndication, so I’m new to the episodes included here. Changing around the overall plot and settings of the show has never resonated well in my book -- it’s a sign that a TV series is showing its age. Nonetheless, the series continued for a few more years beyond this fifth season, so clearly the episodes are of a good quality, otherwise it wouldn’t have managed to survive both a setting overhaul and network change in the same season. Yet it did, in what can only be seen as a testament to the show’s strength.

During the show’s fifth season, Harvey (Nate Richert) was written out of the show, only for the producers to realize this to be a mistake -- as a result he recurs in season five and once again becomes a credited cast member in the sixth season. Roger Lodge, best known as the host of the surprisingly-long-running syndicated series Blind Date, appears in the third episode “Heart of the Matter.” Kal Penn, of Harold & Kumar fame and now a cast member on House, appears in episode 4 “You Can’t Twin” as does Charles Shaughnessy, best known from the series The Nanny. Tisha Campbell appears in episode 6 “The Halloween Scene.” Three’s Company’s own Larry -- actor Richard Kline -- appears in “Welcome, Traveler.” Michael Trucco, who now plays Samuel Anders on the new Battlestar Galactica series, appears in “Love is a Many Complicated Thing,” “Sabrina, the Muse,” and “Beach Blanket Bizarro.” Also appearing in this episode are Frankie Avalon and Aaron Carter. Charles Shaughnessy returns in the episode “Witchright Hall.”


If you’ve seen the cover art, then you pretty much know exactly what to expect here. Everything is standard operating procedure for CBS DVD sets. Hard plastic case, with two of the three discs on a plastic flipping panel in the center. Third disc is on the interior right panel of the case. Cover art has Sabrina/Melissa doing a little magical pointing motion, with some blue sparkly stuff emanating from her finger in a spiraling pattern. Salem peeks his head out from the bottom. Rear cover features Salem being held by Melissa/Sabrina, with a collage of photos near the bottom. As evidenced by the sparkle colors, the theme color of the set is blue. Discs are silver, but you probably guessed that. 8 episodes on the first disc, 7 each on the second and third discs. Apply appropriate addition and subtraction for the episode breakdown, or look at the runtimes section -- it’s really like having the answer in the back of the book. 

Menu Design and Navigation:

Static blue menu, with a photo on the right side and the episode list on the left. Show logo is at the top, with the play all feature at the bottom of the episode list. Disc 1 features Melissa by herself, Disc 2 features Melissa holding Salem, while Disc 3 puts Beth and Caroline in the photo place. This page is the only menu on each disc. The blue menu keeps up the sparkle design consistent with the front cover. The selected episode glows in a teal color which can be slightly hard to see against the blue background.

Video and Audio Quality:

Let’s get this out of the way: Two disclaimers:
“Some episodes may be edited from their original network visions”
“Music has been changed for the home entertainment version”
No point in acting surprised in other of these, but at the same time it’s always a little disappointing to see them. But after dozens of titles released with one and/or the other printed, a person gets used to them. It’s still bad, but at the end of the day most average consumers don’t particularly care. Whether they should or not is your personal opinion, but the fact that this set is at season five means that clearly, quite a few people don’t care.

Video quality is pretty decent for a non-HD show, though there are minor flaws and the colors are a bit...dull. There’s some sort of green/blue noise that appears over the video. Audio is an average stereo track that does an average job -- it’s nothing special but it does the job adequately. We get chapter stops at the appropriate places.


Disc 1:
Every Which Way But Loose: 22:05
Double Time: 22:05
Heart of the Matter: 22:06
You Can’t Twin: 22:05
House of Pi’s: 22:05
The Halloween Scene: 22:05
Welcome Traveler: 22:05
Some of my Best Friends are Half-Mortals: 22:04

Disc 2:
Lost @ C: 22:05
Sabrina’s Perfect Christmas: 22:05
My Best Shot: 22:05
Tick-Tock Hilda’s Clock: 22:07
Sabrina’s New Roommate: 22:05
Making the Grade: 22:05
Love is a Many Complicated Thing: 22:04

Disc 3:
Sabrina, the Muse: 22:05
Beach Blanket Bizarro: 21:53
Witchright Hall: 22:04
Sabrina, The Activist: 21:24
Do You See What I See: 21:35
Sabrina’s Got Spirit: 21:24
Finally!: 21:34

Special Features:

We get no special features again. How about some bloopers? New interviews with Melissa Joan Hart would be nice. Or even archival. Spell me some extras, CBS!

Final Comments:

The show is good, but I wholeheartedly admit that I prefer the ABC years. The show is still decent, but from where I sit the show has started its decline. For fans of the show, this season is still a must-buy. As for the fine folks at Paramount/CBS DVD: There are a group of fans who will not buy this set because of those two disclaimers. Have your accountants do a cost-benefit analysis of projected lost sales vs. cost to present original episodes, and then assess your business strategy accordingly, if the results turn opposite your current plans.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Final Score: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 02/04/09

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