“I have to be a witch, I have to be a mortal, I have to be a teenager and I have to be a girl all at the same time. That’s what’s the matter.”
Sixteen-year-old Sabrina Spellman, played by Melissa Joan Hart, uttered these infamous words during Season 1 of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” which aired exactly 25 years ago on ABC.
Hart, 45, celebrated the quarter-life milestone on Monday. “It’s been brought to my attention that 25 years ago today, September 27, 1996, our show first aired on ABC for 7 seasons,” the “Melissa & Joey” actress captioned a series of photos from her time on the show. “The little engine that could we called it since it was in the shadows of the largely anticipated show #Clueless but it persevered and we got to steal @reddonovan to come over to our fun cast.”
Based on the Archie Comics character of the same name, the series followed Sabrina as she tried to navigate her high school life as she deals with her magical powers all while finding her true parentage, with a little help from a very chatty yet witty pet cat and her crazy 600-year-old aunts, played by Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea.
She continued, “Tons of talented guest stars, musical acts and magic tv tricks over the years. Full of friendships and crazy memories, it was an incredible ride to be sure! Thanks for the love and support to help us do what we love to do, make people smile!! Happy #SabrinatheTeenageWitch Day!”
“Sabrina the Teenage Witch” premiered in the fall of 1996 as part of ABC’s TGIF lineup. Over 17 million viewers tuned into the series debut and the show ultimately ran for seven seasons until 2003. In 2000, the sitcom moved to its new home — the teen network, the WB.
The main cast also included Nate Richert, Jenna Leigh Green, Martin Mull, Lindsay Sloane, David Lascher, Soleil Moon Frye, Elisa Donovan and Trevor Lissauer. Nick Bakay voiced the Spellmans’ talking black cat Salem Saberhagen, a warlock forced to spend 100 years as a feline after he attempted to take over the world. His purr-fect one-liners and dry humor became a staple of the sitcom’s plotlines.
Season 1 showrunner Nell Scovell recently reminisced about the teenage spellbinder comedy with Elle magazine.
“I wanted to make a show that I would’ve liked to watch when I was a young a girl,” she said. “And the revolutionary idea of ‘Sabrina’ is she’s a good kid. She doesn’t want to be a cheerleader [or] popular. She, like me, wanted to be good in school, and a good person.”
Scovell also explained she was inspired by some women she admired as she grew up in a “post-‘Bewitched’ world.”
“But that is the difference between a show in the ‘60s and a show in the ‘90s created by someone who grew up in the ‘70s and had Gloria Steinem in her life,” she said. “It was, ‘Be careful of your powers, but we will encourage you to use them.’”
A soft reboot of the show and a darker adaption of the Archie Comics strip entitled “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” aired on Netflix for four seasons until its cancellation in 2020.