When Netflix announced plans to release a series that centered on characters first brought to life on television in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, fans rejoiced over the chance to see Sabrina, Salem, Aunt Hilda and Zelda and Harvey Kinkle on screen again. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was filled with the magic, romance and high school drama that viewers expected, but Netflix's dark coming-of-age story didn't really feel anything like the light-hearted, classic 90's sitcom.
While Melissa Joan Hart's version of the iconic half-witch primarily focused on getting a handle on her powers and dealing with typical teenage issues, Kiernan Shipka's Sabrina had to deal with supernatural bullies, demonic possession and pressure to sign her soul over to the Dark Lord. Chilling Adventures was far more horror than comedy, and while the series was still highly enjoyable, countless fans are rushing to binge-watch the original Sabrina series to remember the good old days when being a witch and interacting with other supernatural beings didn't seem so scary.
Most viewers can remember bits and pieces of Sabrina the Teenage Witch because it was a television staple until it came off the air in 2003, but most of what made the show so popular and beloved has been forgotten over the past fifteen years and only the biggest fans recall enough about the series to point out its many differences from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Here are 20 Things Fans Forgot About The Original Teenage Witch.
20 SABRINA'S 16TH BIRTHDAY
In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the arrival of Sabrina Spellman's sixteenth birthday meant it was time for her to embrace her witch half through a Dark Baptism, where she would be forced to pledge loyalty to the Dark Lord and sign her soul over to Satan. By doing so, she'd be forced to say goodbye to her friends and the mortal life she loved so much, so she spent the days leading up to her birthday dreading its arrival and struggling to figure out which route to take in life.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch also started with Sabrina's Sweet Sixteen, but hers wasn't nearly as frightening of an occasion. Sabrina didn't know her father was a witch until her birthday, so the special day came with it that suprising discovery and the arrival of her powers. Her witch abilities didn't bring with them nearly as many consequences, so they were a very welcomed surprise.
19 THE WITCH'S LICENSE
Even though Netflix's Sabrina had to attend a magic school to master her abilities, she seemed to have a solid grasp of her powers even before she stepped foot in The Academy of Unseen Arts. Melissa Joan Hart's Sabrina had far more difficulty reaching her potential as a witch.
In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the titular character discovered upon her seventeenth birthday that she had to earn her witch's license in order to keep her magic. Her aunts constantly told her to study for the exam, but she still failed it and was forced to attend witch boot camp. She eventually passed the makeup exam, but only received a learner's permit and was tested at random throughout the year by a Quizmaster to make sure she really was studying.
18 BRAD THE WITCH HUNTER
In Chilling Adventures, viewers were shocked to find out that Harvey Kinkle is actually a descendant of Greendale's witch hunters. Two of the Weird Sisters attacked Harvey and his brother when they realized this fact, which definitely put a damper on his and Sabrina's relationship and started Harvey down a path which may lead to him becoming an enemy of his former girlfriend.
Witch hunters existed in the original Sabrina series, but Harvey wasn't one of them. In the show's fourth season, a new student named Brad Alcerro enrolled in Westbridge High, and his witch hunter gene allowed him to turn witches into rodents if he ever discovered their secret. He was a major threat to Sabrina and her friend Dreama, right up until an operation removed his hunting gene and Sabrina realized she could use magic freely in front of him.
17 SABRINA'S PARENTS WERE ALIVE
Edward and Diana Spellman perished in a tragic and mysterious plane crash in Chilling Adventures, which forced young Sabrina to move in with her aunts Hilda and Zelda. Sabrina's parents didn't suffer from that same fate in the original series, though, and were still very much alive.
The original television Sabrina moved in with her aunts because her mother was on an archaeological dig in Peru and a Witch's Council decree stated that she couldn't talk to Sabrina for two years after her sixteenth birthday or she'd be turned into a ball of wax. Her father was busy working for the Other Realm Foreign Services, so she could only talk to him through his picture in the Magic Book.
16 THE OTHER REALM
In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, there was an entire other-dimensional world set aside as a home for witches, mystical beings and other bizarre members of the magical community known as the Other Realm. It didn't seem to follow the regular laws of nature and existed millions of light-years away from the Mortal Realm, but Sabrina and her aunts were able to access it through a portal located in their linen closet.
Sabrina frequently visited the Other Realm throughout the series. It was the home of the Witch's Council and the location of the witch boot camp she was forced to attend, but it also contained fun tourist spots like a supernatural outlet mall and spa.
15 LIBBY CHESSLER WAS THE ULTIMATE MEAN GIRL
The Weird Sisters' witch powers made them incredibly intimidating teenage bullies in Chilling Adventures, but they somehow weren't anywhere near as frightening as mortal mean girl Libby Chessler from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Libby was the undisputed queen of Westbridge High. She was a rich, spoiled and incredibly popular head cheerleader, and her greatest joy in life seemed to be tormenting Sabrina Spellman and her friends. She constantly called Sabrina a "freak" and tried to make her high school experience miserable, and her bullying only got worse every time Harvey Kinkle chose to be with Sabrina over her. Her close relationship with slightly sadistic principal Mr. Kraft, who similarly enjoyed giving Sabrina a hard time, made her an even more formidable adversary.
14 THE SERIES WASN'T SABRINA'S FIRST APPEARANCE
The Sabrina the Teenage Witch television series wasn't actually Melissa Joan Hart's first stint as the iconic Archie Comics character. Months before the premiere of the television series, a Showtime made-for-TV movie with the same name served as its unofficial pilot.
In the film, Sabrina Spellman was actually named Sabrina Sawyer, and she and her aunts lived in Archie's hometown of Riverdale instead of Westbridge. It included Hilda, Zelda, and Harvey, but the only actors shared by both the film and the television series were Hart and Michelle Beaudoin, whose character Marnie Littlefield was renamed to Jenny Kelley for the sitcom. While Sabrina ends up with Harvey at the end of the film, she spent the majority of movie crushing on a boy named Seth, who was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
13 IT LED TO TWO SPIN-OFF FILMS
Most of Sabrina the Teenage Witch took place in Massachusetts and the Other Realm, but Melissa Joan Hart's character also traveled around the world and got into magical adventures in both Italy and Australia.
ABC created two spin-off television movies, Sabrina Goes to Rome and Sabrina Down Under in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Sabrina and Salem traveled to Rome to unlock the mystery of her aunt Sophia’s locket to stop Sophia from being lost forever. In Australia, she and Salem again left the rest of their family and friends behind to help protect a hidden mermaid colony whose habitat was being threatened by ocean pollution. Sabrina's intentional adventures were never mentioned in the television series and characters from the films didn't cross over into the show, but the two movies were still must-see still Sabrina classics.
12 SALEM WAS A WITCH, NOT A GOBLIN
Chilling Adventures' version of Salem was a goblin that became Sabrina's animal familiar, but the classic version of the beloved black cat was a witch who was turned into a feline as punishment for trying to take over the world. He still had the ability to speak, and was one of the sassiest and most hilarious characters on television in the '90s.
Salem was a mere puppet on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but he looked surprisingly realistic for his time and his wonderfully diabolical nature and flawless sense of humor kept viewers from ever really fixating on the fact that he wasn't real. He was one of the best parts of the entire series, so Netflix seriously messed up by drastically altering his character.
11 NO CONNECTION TO RIVERDALE
The character of Sabrina Spellman was created in the Archie Comics, and first appeared in Archie's Mad House #22 in October 1962. She lived in a town called Greendale, which was located right by Riverdale, where Archie Andrews, Jughead and the rest of their crew resided, allowing her to frequently interact with those characters in the comics.
Chilling Adventures is located in Greendale and Riverdale is briefly mentioned in the series, but no such connection existed in the 90's sitcom. The original series was set in the fictional Boston suburb of Westbridge, so there was never the hope for an Archie-Sabrina crossover the way there is in the new Netflix series.
10 SABRINA AND HARVEY
Kids in the 90's tuned into new episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch every week to see if Sabrina and her friend Harvey Kinkle would finally realize they were soulmates and get the happy ending together that they both deserved. There was a lot of "will they or won't they" tension between the two characters throughout the first season, and then the couple experienced a variety of highs and lows for years before tragically breaking up when Harvey finally realized that Sabrina was a witch in the fourth season. Sabrina then dated a variety of different guys, but everyone always hoped she'd end up back with her high school sweetheart.
Harvey and Sabrina were already dating at the start of Chilling Adventures and he found out the truth about his girlfriend and dumped her in the very first season, so the Netflix series didn't give viewers the chance to really get invested in their relationship the way fans did in the original series.
9 SABRINA'S TWIN
In order to use her witch's license, Sabrina had to first solve her family's secret. Her family members frequently visited her in the third season to provide her with clues, and eventually, she figured out that every member of the Spellman family is born with a twin.
Soon after, Sabrina met her identical twin sister Katrina and they spent some quality time together at the Spellman family reunion in Hawaii. Katrina seemed to use her magic for various good deeds like zapping up food for the homeless and conjuring children to read stories to, but when she tried to push Sabrina into a volcano, she was revealed to be the evil twin and was sent to an Other Realm prison.
8 THE SHOW HAD SEVERAL BIG GUEST STARS
Some people think that Melissa Joan Hart was Sabrina the Teenage Witch's biggest celebrity, but the popular series actually featured special guest appearances by a surprising number of the most iconic stars of its time.
In the first season, Milo Ventimiglia of Gilmore Girls, Heroes and This Is Us fame could be seen as one-episode nameless football player whom Sabrina's friend Jenny and Libby both tried to convince to vote for them in the race for student body president. Drew Carey, Dick Clark, and Jerry Springer all appeared as themselves in cameos throughout the series. Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston portrayed a witch lawyer, and Kelly Clarkson could be seen as a student on the show long before she appeared on American Idol.
7 THERE WAS A SABRINA ANIMATED SERIES
Thanks to the popularity of the Sabrina live-action series, ABC created Sabrina: the Animated Series, which followed the adventures of the teenage witch while she was still in middle school. The network advertised the show as a spin-off, but it contradicted the live-action show's premise of Sabrina not knowing about magic until her sixteenth birthday and had her experimenting with her powers at the age of twelve.
Almost every episode followed the same formula of Sabrina using magic as the solution to her day-to-day problems and immediately regretting it as her abilities would unintentionally backfire. Melissa Joan Hart voiced both Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda in the series, while Sabrina was voiced by Melissa's younger sister Emily.
6 COUNTLESS MUSICAL GUESTS
Even though Sabrina the Teenage Witch wasn't a musical series by any means, dozens of the most well-known singers and bands of its time appeared on the show in either minor cameos or to perform one of their greatest hits.
Isaac Hanson appeared in an episode as one of Roxie's exes, and he and his brothers performed a show at a soup kitchen. When Harvey bought Sabrina parking passes to a Britney Spears concert because he couldn't afford tickets to the actual show, her father simply zapped Britney into his living room in an attempt to convince Sabrina to leave Harvey behind and live with him in Paris. Sisqó appeared as an Other Realm vampire, and countless musicians from Coolio and Usher to Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC and Aaron Carter all performed on the show.
5 RUPAUL PLAYED A WITCH JUDGE
RuPaul became a household name in 2009 with the launch of the Emmy award-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, but over a decade before that reality competition began, he appeared in Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a witch judge.
In RuPaul's episode, he dressed in drag as a hairdresser before revealing himself to be one of the heads of the Witch's Council. Sabrina had been playing her aunts against each other to get her way, and RuPaul ruled that Sabrina had to choose between Hilda and Zelda and allowed her to see her future with both options. Luckily, the time in court helped Sabrina realize that she had to change her ways and reunite her aunts so they could all live together.
4 MELISSA JOAN HART'S SISTER WAS A RECURRING CHARACTER
There were countless minor recurring characters in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but only one of them appeared in every single season—Amanda Wiccan, Sabrina's bratty younger cousin. There was definitely a family resemblance between Amanda and Sabrina, because Amanda was portrayed by Melissa Joan Hart's sister Emily!
Amanda started out as one of Sabrina's rivals, as her spoiled ways often got Sabrina and her friends in trouble. When Amanda and Sabrina first met, Amanda trapped her cousin inside of a small glass jar for not playing with her enough. Over the series' seven seasons, however, Amanda matured and grew incredibly close with Sabrina. Sabrina named her as one of her bridesmaids at her wedding to Aaron, and Amanda was the one who helped Sabrina realize that she was meant to be with Harvey instead.
3 PENN JILLETTE WAS HEAD OF THE WITCH'S COUNCIL
The magic featured in Sabrina was mostly just special effects, but that doesn't mean the series was void of any true magicians! Penn Jilette, one half of the infamous magical duo Penn & Teller, actually had a recurring guest role throughout the first season of the show as the head of the Witch's Council.
Penn portrayed Drell, Hilda's ex-fiance who was feared for his short temper and powerful magic. He was quick to pass judgment and administer punishments, as shown by his hasty decision to turn Jenny into a grasshopper when she was accidentally transported to the Other Realm. Teller also appeared in the show, as a fellow Witch's Council member named Skippy.
2 SABRINA ALMOST MARRIED AARON
When it comes to Sabrina Spellman's relationships on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, most former fans only really remember high school heartthrob Harvey Kinkle and Sabrina's coffee shop crush Josh Blackhart. But in the series' seventh and final season, Sabrina actually almost got married to a man named Aaron Jacobs.
Aaron met Sabrina at Scorch Magazine, and they immediately became serious despite Salem disliking Aaron and Aaron's parents disapproving of Sabrina. Aaron wasn't thrilled about Harvey being a part of Sabrina's life, but he still proposed and Sabrina accepted even though she was in fact still in love with her former flame. On the day of their wedding, Sabrina revealed to Aaron that his fears were justified and she didn't love him the way she loved Harvey, and left him at the altar as she rode off with her true soulmate.
1 THE KEENAN & KEL CROSSOVER EPISODE
Since she starred in both Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Hart was one of the biggest stars of the 1990s. The only young celebrities that may have rivaled her were Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, who starred in Nickelodeon hits All That and Kenan & Kel. That's why, when Keenan and Kel appeared in an episode of Sabrina as their characters Kenan Rockmore and Kel Kimble, it was one of the biggest television crossover events of the entire decade.
Sabrina was presented with a crystal ball which allowed her to see a bunch of different possible future scenarios, and the first thing she asked the ball to show her was what would happen if Kenan and Kel won the lottery. In the vision, Kenan found their winning lottery ticket after several minutes of searching and put it on top of a half-made sandwich, only to later discover Kel eating that same sandwich and consuming the ticket. It was a hilarious scene that has sadly been forgotten over the years.
Which of these Sabrina the Teenage Witch details did you actually remember? Let us know in the comments!