Saturday, June 21, 2008


At long last, the original animated incarnation of Sabrina The Teenage Witch finally makes her very auspicious DVD debut. Genius Products, in tandem with its other Archies releases, brings you a 3-DVD set of the original Filmation animated series featuring all 31 episodes.

Sabrina made her first appearance in the Archie's Madhouse comic series and gained a fair amount of popularity, eventually spawning her own comic book. Filmation brought Sabrina to animation in the prime-time special Archie And His New Pals, and eventually spun off her own series after showcasing her as part of The Archie Comedy Hour. The resulting cartoons depict Sabrina as a resident of Riverdale and a student at Riverdale High, accompanied in her adventures by her boyfriend Harvey and her friends Spencer and Ophelia (who respectively serve Jughead and Betty functions to Harvey's Archie).

However, as our title says, Sabrina is a witch, and therefore must keep her magical abilities a secret from the Riverdale denizens. Though witches are expected to hex people, the good-natured Sabrina often uses her powers in attempts to help others or solve problems, usually with disastrous results. Most of the plots revolve around Sabrina's attempts to juggle her witchly studies and her teenage life, featuring her magical cat Salem and her two aunts, the cantankerous Hilda and the kindhearted Zelda. There is also Cousin Ambrose, a sophisticated, somewhat bon-vivant warlock who is more sympathetic to Sabrina's teenhood and occasionally aids her in her adventures, serving as a mixture of the Dr. Bombay and Uncle Arthur characters from Bewitched. The Archies crew makes regular appearances, with Reggie continuously (and unsuccessfully) trying to out Sabrina as a witch to the rest of the gang.

And of course, there are the Groovie Goolies. Yep, this set not only has all of the Sabrina episodes from her own series, but also the episodes in which everyone's favorite gang of maladroit monsters made their first appearances. Mixing the Goolies, the Archies and Sabrina together creates a special blend of comic chaos, and these episodes do not disappoint. As a special feature, the set includes the first episode of The Archie And Sabrina Surprise Package, in which Archie, Sabrina and the gang work together to solve a mystery at Riverdale. (Will this series be a future DVD release? Only time will tell.)

The set is colorfully packaged, though not in a clear slipcase like the other Archies releases, and the artwork is of the usual excellent standard. The episodes appear to be sourced from the best materials, showing clear pictures and few signs of aging. The DVD holder is a bit difficult to operate at first (the first two discs are overlapped, placing the click-tabs on the sides rather than in the middle), so examine carefully rather than tear into it.

Pick up this set if you're an Archies or Sabrina fan, and pair it with the Groovie Goolies set for the right mix of supernatural Saturday-Morning silliness. You'll see her tug her ear... and you'll see your blues disappear. Count on it.