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5 Shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Enchanting Adolescence

Riann Smith itcherMagic and angst have been popular television devices for several decades. They let us look at life’s foibles from a different perspective, allowing TV networks to deliver life lessons from familiar experiences without being too preachy. If you like light teen comedy cut with supernatural goings on, then you will like TV shows like ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’,‘Round The Twist’, ‘Bewitched’ and ‘That’s So Raven’. ~ Riann Smith

Whoa, Adolescence is not sitting well with you…

‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ is an iconic 90’s teen show, complete with belly tops and index finger rings.  Sabrina turns 16, moves in with her 2 aunts, starts a new school and discovers she’s a Witch.  If that’s not enough to deal with, she now has to navigate 2 worlds. Magic, mystery and mayhem and the much scarier…high school!

Hi jinx and the odd life lesson are thrown in as Sabrina tries to master her powers, not get caught by her peers and hold onto her boyfriend, Harvey.

Oh and don’t forget the occasional celebrity appearance, everyone from Penn and Teller to the Backstreet Boys!

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Shows Similar to ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’…

‘That’s So Raven’ (Disney, 2003)

Would you watch a show about a teen psychic?

Raven is a high-school girl with a special ability: she gets visions of the near future and then craziness ensues. Each episode is, invariably, Raven trying to avoid or understand her vision with a a hard-learned lesson at the end.

‘That’s So Raven’ is a show that deals more directly with issues of race and body image than some teen comedies… and it does it with sass! 

This is a TV series like ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ in other ways too – like guest stars, musicians and whole episodes dealing with how power does not always solve your problems. Raven’s psychic abilities very often is the cause of them.

Similarity Match: 90%
It’s hard to imagine a completely similar series to ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ without it just being an animated series of ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ but ‘That’s So Raven’ manages it. Pre-cognition isn’t witchcraft but the tone of Raven’s high school experience is SO Sabrina.

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‘Bewitched’ (ABC, 1964)

Try to control your temper. Remember, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men” includes witches…

‘Bewitched’ was an iconic show broadcast in the 60s and 70s and the theme song still makes me smile. Samantha is a Witch who has fallen in love with a human, Darrin. She is trying to live a normal life with him and keep magic out of it. It’s just lip service, of course, as Sam uses magic for everything – from making dinner, cleaning up and fixing broken crockery to flying over cities.  

Darrin is portrayed as the long-suffering husband who is quite opposed to magic… which seems daft when you consider the amount of alcohol she has poofed into his hands. While magic is the central plot device, there were actually lots of clever stories. Actress Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) playing her own cousin Serena for one. And their young daughter, Tabitha, (who also has magic) makes an impressive statement about racism by putting white spots on her black friends face and black spots on her own to show they weren’t different at all.

Because of the broadcast dates of the TV show, it transitioned from Black and White to Colour. There were also an impressive array of special effects. They’ll seem a little bit cheesy now, but they were spectacular at the time.

Similarity Match: 65%
We still have witchcraft and dealing with living a ‘mortal life’ but Samantha is trying to avoid using her powers. Even if that doesn’t always go to plan. There are also different relationship stakes, as Samantha is a married Mother, not a high school teen.

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‘Round The Twist’ (Seven Network, 1989)

What are you doing here, toilet face?

‘Round the twist’ is an Australian kids show that ran for 52 episodes over 4 seasons. Interestingly they were not consecutive years, the last being in 2001.

The TV show centres around Pete, his twin sister Linda and younger brother Bronson who have moved to the Australian coast to man a lighthouse. They stagger through school, life and their town while regularly being dunked in craziness. Let’s see, there was the time Pete had to end every sentence with ‘without my pants’, the time a dog in a painting kept appearing in real life to dig sand holes.  Oh yeah, and the time Bronson’s “little Bronson” turned into a propeller!

My personal favourite is a rather touching story focused on Pete’s twin sister Linda. She falls for a the new guy at school only for him to seemingly take ill. Even becoming wheelchair bound. He is, in fact, making a slow transformation into a merman.

Similarity Match: 55%
Just like ‘Sabrina’, the grown ups seem to know about and accept the bizarre things goings on. The kids are sometimes in control of the supernatural or unnatural events. But more often than not they are a victim of circumstances. Weird, weird circumstance. This show, despite it’s wacky plots, feels a lot more real and down to earth to me.

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‘Eerie Indiana’ (NBC, 1991)

To whom it may concern, if you’re reading this document it means I’m either dead or have disappeared under mysterious circumstances…

Formerly of New Jersey, the Teller family move so a small town in Indiana for a better quality of life for their children. Or so the opening credits would have us believe!

That’s the thing with Eerie, Indiana, you never really know what is going on. This slightly odd family has come to a town with the creepiest name possible and oldest son Marshall is convinced there are bizarre secrets all around.  

As it turns out he is right. The adults don’t believe him or want to see it but Marshall’s new pal Simon is game for an adventure. The two uncover strange goings on such as twins who stay forever young because their mother keeps them in giant tupperware tubs at night and a mind control eye test machine that makes kids conform! The horror!

Although it only lasted 19 episodes, it gained cult status through re-runs. ‘Eerie, Indiana’ is the classic disenfranchised teen story. The kids can see what is really going on and the adults just don’t have a clue.

Similarity Match: 40%
This TV show is definitely about the supernatural but the main character, Marshall, is trying to uncover all the weird things going on rather than being the cause of them.

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If You Like ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’, You Will Like…

A family with a super secret? Check. Trying to blend in to ‘normal life’? Check. Kooky antics and corny jokes? Check Check. Except that the next series has  a twist. Rather than just trying to figure out how to balance their superpowers and normal life, there is evil in their midst.

‘The Thundermans’ (Viacom, 2013)

We don’t all need to study to get gooder grades…

Max and Phoebe are teenage twins living in Hiddenville (a bit on the nose) with their family. A family with superpowers!  

The show seems to draw heavy inspiration from the Pixar Movie ‘The Incredibles’ as we have ‘retired’ superhero parents trying to make an ordinary life, teaching their kids to hide their powers.  Oh and they have 5 kids, so that’s a lot of powers to hide.

There’s telekinesis, teleportation, super speed, laser vision, heat breath, freeze breath, flying, electrical control and sensing danger.  I’ve probably missed some, the mix is quite heady. But the large number of powers serves to add variety to main plots and sideplots.

‘The Thundermans’ TV Series was originally broadcast on Nickelodeon, the home of so much Teen funny business.

Ok, it’s superpowers and not witchcraft but the teenage struggle of fitting in, finding yourself and trying to use extraordinary power in a meaningful way are themes both shows explore. Both have similar types of humour and superpower family issues as a backdrop as well.

***

With Great Power Comes Great Hilarity

What’s great about all of these shows is how they tap into difficult issues for teens. OK, they are mostly for laughs, but most teenagers feel different, misunderstood or not taken seriously, whether or not the supernatural affects their lives.

Do you know any other shows like ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ that I may have missed?

Let me know in the comments down below.

itcher Mag is the place for entertainment recommendations across movies, books, music and games.
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