The instant craze for Marvel’s Wanda Vision has made the mystic heroine, the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) the biggest sensation on everyone’s lips. This is less than surprising as American television has had a long line of beloved, magi-wielding female protagonists. Here are the top five witches of the small screen that we all know and adore.
5. Sabrina Spellman, Sabrina the Teenage Witch
A list about witches wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the bubbly princess of magic herself, Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart), from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. When the show—which was based off a 19671 comic book of the same name—premiered on Sept. 27, 1996 on ABC, viewers couldn’t get enough of the Sabrina’s high school antics as she navigates her newfound power with the guidance of her kooky aunts and talking cat, Salem. Whether it was her “will they, won’t they” relationship with Harvey Kinkle (Nate Richert) or her entertaining rivalry with the overbearing cheerleader, Libby Chessler (Jenna Leigh Green), Sabrina’s dazzling shenanigans captivated audiences for seven amazing seasons.
While several video games were made along with an animated series, no adaptations of the show could compare to the uproar of acclaim for Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s 2018 Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Sacasa’s risky choice in developing the horrific, darker take of his 2014 comic of the same name paid off as the series received rave reviews, further immortalizing the character in tv history.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch is available to watch on Youtube.
4. Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
When Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired in 1997, future How I Met Your Mother star Alyson Hannigan played the role of docile best friend to vampire hunter Buffy Summer (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Though, as the series progressed, viewers watched as she slowly but surely discovered her natural knack for witchcraft. Alongside Buffy and the goofy comic relief Xander (Nicholas Brendon), Willow uses her magic abilities to fight the forces of evil and keep the seemingly sleepy city of Sunnydale safe. She had a long relationship with a sarcastic guitarist named Oz (Seth Green), but her later relationship with fellow witch, Faith (Amber Benson) stands as one of the pioneering depictions of a same-sex relationship on television.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is available to watch on Hulu.
3. Raven, Teen Titans
“Azarath Mentrion Zenthos!” Anyone born in the 00’s remembers those mystic chantings of one of the most favored characters in Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans, Raven. Played by voice acting legend Tara Strong, Raven hailes from the realm of Azarath where she fled from her overbearing, demon father, Trigon. Throughout the phenomenon of the show’s five year run, Raven used her powerful spells to stand with her fellow members of the Teen Titans and prevent her father from conquering Earth. The show’s long legacy as a foothold in cartoon action shows has seen the inclusion of Raven in countless adaptations and spin offs such as Teen Titans Go! and DC SuperHero Girls.
Teen Titans is available to watch on HBO Max and Hulu.
2. Marie Laveau, Coven
While Coven, the third season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story included a star studded cast of witches, Angela Basset’s portrayal as the strong, savvy Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau stole the show. The true historical figure and folklore of Laveau was reimagined in the series as she was given immortality by the demonic powers of Papa Legba in the cruel exchange of her newborn child. As a woman who’s endless life is filled with an onslaught of mistreatment, Laveau terrorized those who wronged her, like Marie Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates)—who is also a true historical figure. With powers that easily rival those of her protagonist foils, Laveau proves to be a challenging foe and amazingly engaging character.
Coven is available to watch on Netflix.
1. Alex Russo, Wizards of Waverly Place
While we all know Selena Gomez for her chart hitting pop songs, many forget her child star roots as Alex Russo. Though not actually titled a witch per say, Alex of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place is yet another outgoing, female character with mind blowing magical abilities. From the show’s inception in 2007 to its bitter ending in 2012, Wizards of Waverly Place put spell casting back on the map, racking in around 4 million viewers each week. When they weren’t running their family owned subway shop, Alex and her brothers, Max (Jake T. Austin) and Justin (David Henrie) received wizard training from their father Jerry (David DeLuise). As Alex juggled the responsibilities and perks of magic and “writing reports on books she never read”, the world fell in love with Gomez’s electrifying, breakout performance.
Wizards of Waverly Place is available to watch on Hulu.
*Honorary mentions include Piper, Phoebe and Paige, Charmed and Samantha Stephens, Bewitched.
By Omar Letson