Sunday, December 8, 2013

Year Two. Day Eight: "Sabrina, The Animated Series: A Witchmas Carol" (1999)

This animated spin off series from "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" (itself, based on an a comic book series) ran for two years, concurrently with its live action equivalent.

It concerns the fortunes of Sabrina Spellman, a teenager who is dealing with all the expected trials of adolescence, with the added complication that she is a witch.

The live action series was always fun and surprisingly well written, with a neat skill at overarching story lines that ran across several episodes and its animated cousin seems to be a much similar offering.

This Christmas special episode finds Sabrina's rich, snobbish school rival, Gem Stone in the role of Scrooge, who seems to value nothing but commercial gain over the festive season.

Inspired by a sock-puppet performance of "A Christmas Carol" on TV, Sabrina and her friends decide to teach Gem a lesson about the true spirit of Christmas by performing the roles of the classic story; starting with Salem, Sabrina's talking cat taking the reigns as Jacob Marley.

Gem Stone seems less than impressed by their efforts and is surprisingly blasé about the appearance of the spectres at her bedside. What this episode does quite brilliantly is invert the story so that by the end of her evening, Gem Stone is just as selfish and greedy as she ever was, saved only by a last minute intervention of a thoughtful gift from our teenage witch.

This is a wittily written, enjoyable episode but it is unfortunately very shallow, with perhaps too much fear of alienating its young, possibly quite jaded audience with any real sense of sentimentality.

As snappy as a Christmas cracker.

"Sabrina, The Animated Series: A Witchmas Carol." (1999)  3/5

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