W.I.T.C.H. (TV series)

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W.I.T.C.H.
W.I.T.C.H. title card
Clockwise from center: Will, Hay Lin, Irma, Cornelia, and Taranee.
Genre
Based on
W.I.T.C.H.
by
Developed by
Directed by
  • Marc Gordon (season 1)
  • Norman J. LeBlanc (season 2)
Creative director(s) Glenn Eichler (creative consultant, season 2)
Voices of
Theme music composer
Opening theme
  • International:
  • "W.I.T.C.H." by Sabrina
  • United States:
  • "We Are W.I.T.C.H." by Marion Raven
Composer(s)
Country of origin
  • France
  • United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Olivier Dumont
  • Stéphanie Kirchmeyer (season 2)
  • Jacqueline Tordjman
Producer(s)
  • Bruno Bianchi
  • Dana Booton (season 1)
  • Nancy Neufeld Callaway (season 1)
  • Greg Weisman (supervisory producer, season 2)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Buena Vista International Television[6]
Release
Original network
Original release 18 December 2004 (2004-12-18) – 23 December 2006 (2006-12-23)

W.I.T.C.H. is a French-American animated television series based on the Italian comic book series of the same name. The series was produced by SIP Animation in association with and with participation from Jetix Europe, The Walt Disney Company and France Television.[7][6]

The show follows five girls – Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia and Hay Lin – who have magical powers, which they use to fulfill their duties as Guardians of the Veil. The names of these five characters form the titular acronym, despite the characters not actually being witches.[8] The series is set in the fictional city of Heatherfield and various mythical worlds, primarily Meridian.

The series premiered December 18, 2004 on ABC Family and concluded on December 23, 2006.

Plot[edit]

The Guardians must save Meridian from the evil sorcerer Phobos and Cedric who are searching for Phobos' sister, the long lost princess of Meridian and true heir to the throne. They later find her and the Guardians then set about saving her from Phobos. When Meridian is freed from evil and true heir takes the throne, a new mysterious sorceress named Nerissa frees Phobos' top henchmen and reforms them as the Knights of Vengeance. Once the Guardians learn more about the sorceress and her evil plan of reuniting former Guardians, they are able to defeat the Knights only to have more powerful Knights of Destruction, in addition to the former Guardians attack them.

The Guardians' chief ally is Hay Lin's grandmother Yan Lin, a former Guardian herself, and the one that taught the girls about their magical destiny. They are also helped by Caleb, a heroic soldier from Meridian, leader of the rebellion against Phobos, and Blunk, a frog-like goblin creature (known as a Passling) who takes things from the human world to Meridian (and vice versa), humorously mistaking everyday objects for other things or items of value.[3] Matt, Will's boyfriend, accidentally learns about Meridian and when he sees the troubles there going on, he learns how to become a warrior to help them. They are also helped by the Oracle, leader of the Universe in Kandrakar, who was the one who chose the Guardians.

Guardian powers and abilities[edit]

Each Guardian's powers are fuelled by Candracar, transmitted to the Heart via the Aurameres (the physical representations of the Guardians' powers). The Aurameres grant the same powers to each of their guardians; for instance, powers held by Irma would also have been possessed by Cassidy. The protector of the Aurameres is Luba, a cat-like being.

When the Guardians transform, they change form and grow wings, which help them fly.[3] Using the Heart of Candracar, a Guardian can create an Astral Drop, a duplicate of herself, when the words "Spord Lartsa" (Astral Drops spelled backwards) are said. Also, the Guardians can combine their powers together and create a beam as seen on the first episode of the series. Since the Veil was taken down, the Guardians have to cross worlds by folding, with the help of the Heart of Candracar. Elyon and Blunk can fold as well.

In order to travel to another place in the same world, each Guardian can teletransport. Teletransporting is a difficult ability to learn and one can materialize into another solid object if not careful enough. If a Guardian teletransports while not connected to an Auramere or a Heart than they will drain their life force.

The Guardians can become one with their dragon (or in Will's case, the nymph Xin Jing) and literally become their element while increasing their power to its absolute zenith, stronger than if they had multiple Hearts. But this is risky and rather dangerous because it costs them their humanity and they could be easily controlled and enthralled.

It has been shown that if a Guardian uses her elemental powers and is not connected to an Auramere, it will drain their life force, making them much weaker. This may be why Nerissa aged so much faster than the rest of C.H.Y.K.N.

A Guardian can also become a Quinto-Guardian, which has the powers over five elements: Quintessence, Water, Fire, Earth and Air. A Quinto-Guardian can gain the power to summon ice. The only known Quinto-Guardians are Cornelia (granted briefly by the Aurameres) and Nerissa (by using her Seal).

Characters[edit]

Protagonists[edit]

  • Will Vandom (Kelly Stables) is leader of The Guardians of the Veil and the owner of the Heart of Kandrakar. Will moves to Heatherfield with her mother at the beginning of the series. Originally Will's powers are limited to activating the transformation into Guardian form and sealing portals. However, in the second season Will fully gains her own elemental ability of Quintessence, the fifth element, which grants her electrokinetic abilities. In addition, Will is able to communicate with electrical appliances. Her only love interest and boyfriend throughout the series is Matt Olsen.
  • Irma Lair (Candi Milo) is the Guardian of Water whose ability allows her to control water, and in the second season, the power of mind control. Irma acts as the series' comic relief, providing witty dialogue and remarks, which is often a source of irritation for Cornelia. Irma is appointed as the station manager of Sheffield Institute's radio station, she titles her radio segment Lair on the Air. Unlike the other Guardians, Irma does not have a boyfriend despite her affection for Andrew Hornby and the unrequited attention from Martin Tubbs.
  • Taranee Cook (Kali Troy) is the Guardian of Fire, able to create and manipulate Fire, and in the second season, she has the ability to telepathically communicate with the other Guardians. Taranee is dedicated to her schoolwork, and often uses her intellect to defeat enemies. Her boyfriend is Nigel Ashcroft, whose social circle initially causes mistrust by Taranee's parents.
  • Cornelia Hale (Christel Khalil) is the Guardian of Earth granting her the ability to control earth and plants and in the second season, she gains the power of telekinesis. Cornelia is vain and haughty, and is often a foil to Will. But she begins to warm up to her eventually, throughout the series. She is best friends with Elyon Brown, later revealed to be the missing Princess of Meridian. Cornelia becomes romantically involved with Caleb. His duties in Meridian later cause a rift in their relationship.
  • Hay Lin (Liza del Mundo) is the Guardian of Air which enables her to control Air, and also become invisible in the second season. Her paternal grandmother, Yan Lin, was the previous Guardian of Air and introduced the new Guardians to their roles. Hay Lin is of Chinese descent and her parents own the Silver Dragon, a Chinese restaurant, where Hay Lin works part-time. Hay Lin enjoys art and is a free spirit. Despite her original distaste for dating, Hay Lin becomes infatuated with Eric Lyndon who eventually becomes her boyfriend.

Antagonists[edit]

  • Prince Phobos (Mitchell Whitfield) is the primary antagonist of the first season. He is the ruler of Meridian, in spite of his missing sister being the rightful heir. He seeks to remain ruler of Meridian by defeating Elyon, the lost Princess and the Guardians of the Veil.
  • Lord Cedric (Dee Bradley Baker) is Phobos' General who is able to shape-shift into a human-snake hybrid. He commands Phobos' army of monsters and was tasked with locating the missing Princess in order for Phobos to absorb her powers. In the first season, he comes to Earth and opens a bookstore, under the false identity Cedric Hoffman, in order to attract the Princess.
  • Nerissa (Kath Soucie) is a former Guardian of the Veil who was gifted the power of Quintessence. She is introduced as the second season's primary antagonist. Nerissa aims to regain control over Kandrakar and the other magical realms. She is successful in procuring the Hearts of several worlds. In order to achieve her aim, throughout the season Nerissa creates groups who can fight the present Guardians. These include the Knights of Vengeance, the Knights of Destruction and C.H.Y.K.N., the former Guardians of which Nerissa was a member.

Recurring and supporting characters[edit]

Other characters grouped by voice actor; ordered by closing credits:

Voice director: Ginny McSwain

Setting[edit]

Various worlds play an important role in the W.I.T.C.H. series. Earth is the home of the Guardians of the Veil, later the Infinite Dimensions while Meridian, Kandrakar and Zamballa are mystical dimensions that are introduced as the story progresses and the evil forces get stronger. Nerissa also briefly visited a place called Aridia, a desert realm in an attempt to steal their Heart (an unnamed male rock giant). But her attempt failed when the Seal of Nerissa signalled that the other members of C.H.Y.K.N. were freed from her control.

The Hearts are the sources of immense mystical energy for each of the worlds they come from. They can be represented by a jewel, a talisman or a living being. Prominently featured in the series is the Heart of Kandrakar, a pendant that allows W.I.T.C.H. to transform. Most of the time a mystic Heart is found to be in the form of living being, as it is for Earth, Meridian, and Aridia.

Meridian[edit]

Meridian is by far the most important world seen in the series, as most of the action takes place here.

Meridian is a kingdom far away under the watching eye of the Oracle. It is ruled by a single Queen, who has powerful magical powers and is the center of mystical energy in the dimension (The Heart of Meridian). The Queen is currently Elyon Brown. This world has streets full of merchants and extraordinary underground caves. People here live mainly from agriculture, although some have other jobs.

Meridian has many different creatures like Larveks, Mudslugs, Mogriffs, Sandpit, Hermeneutas, Passlings, Kaithim etc. Some ceatures can change between an apparently human form and a beast form, Cedric can do this when he wants to be in his Human Form or Beast Form.

Meridian is the most frequent and travelled to place for the Guardans in Season 1. Throughout Season 1, Meridian is the only known dimension to the Guardians besides Earth as the Veil was raised and not much was known about the other worlds like Zamballa, Kandrakar and Aridia. Much of the action happened on Meridian in Season 1 and the Guardians frequently travelled there to help and stop Phobos’ schemes. The important place in Meridian is in a Large Village next to the Castle, which is on top of high land extending upwards. This is where Phobos lives and is the main centre of activity since the Guardians always attack.

The Infinite City[edit]

The Infinite City made its debut in Season 1 "A Service to the Community". The Infinite City is below Meridian and the Guardians didn’t know at first, but Caleb tells them and shows them. The Mage guards the City. The City is underground and has lots of pillars running along. The City is a lime green City, but in daytime the city appeared to be red, orange and cream.

Nobody knows who created or built the Infinite City and when, it has a mysterious past as the City is infinite and keeps going on and on in all directions. The Infinite City is kept secret from Phobos because the Rebellion used it as their base of operations. There is only one way of getting down into the City and its by using a secret passage in a disused area of land and through a little cupboard. It is then led down some stairs and into the City itself. Just a few yard’s is another passage, and under there is like a basement but inside is a waterfall and the Mage stays and guards the city.

Kandrakar[edit]

Kandrakar made its debut in Season 2 "B is for Betrayal". The Guardians learned of this when they were all were at Cornelia’s flat and a purple portal appeared. The Guardians united and went through the portal to find a floating Fortress and everything was purple including the sky. Yan Lin, the Mage, Elyon, Blunk and Caleb also joined the Guardians for a tour of the Fortress. The Veil at the same time was also lifted and the sky turned blue and the fortress to its normal colours.

The Guardians frequently went to Kandrakar for answers, such as why their powers had improved and become stronger. The Fortress was badly damaged and nearly in ruins in "N is for Narcissist", the Knights of Destruction led an attack on the Fortress badly damaging it while Nerissa (Glamoured as the Mage) sealed the Council of Kandrakar (except Luba) inside a purple bubble, which is a smaller Veil, but could be unlocked by the Heart of Meridian, which Nerissa had. Cedric managed to conquer Kandrakar, but was retaken when the Rebels managed to repel the Lurdens and the remaining Knights of Vengeance. The Council was freed from the Veil and began working on rebuilding the Kandrakar Fortress again.

The Council of Kandrakar’s job is to look over the universe and protect it from evil. Kandrakar also has its own Guardians to help accomplish their task and protect the universe from harm. The Guardians also have a leader who holds the Heart of Kandrakar itself, which transforms them and enhances their powers from the Aurameres.

The Aurameres are housed in one of Kandrakar’s room and are guarded over by Luba.

Zamballa[edit]

Zamballa was first introduced in the season 2 episode "P is for Protectors". Zamballa is a purple world with a jungle stretching out as far as the eye can see. At the centre is a Pyramid, the palace where Kadma lives while the Veil is still in effect. The Zamballans themselves look like walking purple trees. The Guardians learned of Zamballa from Yan Lin, who told them the story of when she was a Guardian and had to protect the world of Zamballa from an attack of Phobos. Kadma led the attack against him. After, the Zamballans were so grateful that they offered her the Heart of Zamballa itself and made her Queen. However, the Veil was raised and cut off Kadma her Guardian friends and other worlds and she had to live there without hope of leaving.

But with the Veil lifted and Nerissa out to control the Ex-Guardians, they agree Kadma must be warned, but Nerissa and her Knights are already there and are glamoured as W.I.T.C.H. destroying Zamballa. Soon Kadma learns of the deception and with Taranee's help she manages to defeat Nerissa. In the next episode, "Q is for Quarry", the Guardians and Kadma team up to defeat Nerissa once and for all and come up with the idea of taking the Heart of Meridian. At first, Will gets the chance to, but refuses, saying that much power will corrupt her. Kadma instead takes it and merges the two Hearts, which form the Seal of Nerissa. Because Hearts cannot be taken by force, soon Nerissa will have two Hearts and Kadma under her control. The Zamballians and the Guardians gather to discuss what should happen next.

Ironwood makes herself Regent of Zamballa and her first act is to banish the Guardians, Yan Lin, Blunk, and Caleb from their world so that Nerissa is never tempted to return. In "Z is for Zenith" the Heart of Zamballa is returned and Kadma abdicates from her throne to live on Earth, while Ironwood takes the Heart and is made Queen herself.

Production[edit]

Two seasons were produced, adapting plot elements from The Twelve Portals and Nerissa's Revenge comic arcs from the original series. Each season consists of twenty-six episodes, resulting in a total of fifty-two episodes overall. The animation studios for season 1 were Wang Film Productions and Hong Ying Universe,[6] while Dongwoo Animation animated season 2.

The series has been considered anime-influenced animation in terms of its visual style.[3] The original comics are themselves drawn in line with manga conventions, as opposed to the more rounded style traditionally used by publisher and co-producer Disney.[9]

Intro sequences[edit]

W.I.T.C.H. has different theme songs and openings, depending on country of broadcast.

The original, international title sequence shows the girls and their powers in a story version, with unique footage for the opening. In this version, the opening theme is "W.I.T.C.H." performed by Sabrina,[10] and written by the composers of the show, Alain Garcia and Noam Kaniel. The intro sequence of the second season is changed to incorporate the new plot developments and characters, along with remixed music.

The US version, composed by Adam Watts and Andy Dodd, shows action clips from some episodes and scenes from the W.I.T.C.H. demo reel. It uses a demo version of the song "We Are W.I.T.C.H." until episode 14, when it is replaced with a version sung by Marion Raven.[10] The footage and theme are unchanged for the remainder of the US series.

In Italy, a different opening was used, consisting purely of clips from the show and first international intro sequence. It was composed by Max Longhi and Giorgio Vanni, and performed by the group Lucky Star (Emma Marrone, Colomba Pane, and Laura Pisu).[11]

Release[edit]

Broadcast[edit]

Because W.I.T.C.H. is based on a Disney comic series and was produced in association with Jetix Europe, it has been broadcast on the Disney-owned Jetix channels, as well as Jetix-branded television blocks worldwide, including that on Family in Canada (November 26, 2005 – March 10, 2007; reruns until August 26, 2007),[12] and on ABC Family and later Toon Disney in the United States.

Terrestrial channels in English-speaking countries that had broadcast the series were as follows. In the United States, it was shown on the ABC Kids block, part of the Disney-owned ABC television network. In Canada, it was broadcast on none of the English-language terrestrial TV networks, but the French version was shown on the CBC's French-language television network Télévision de Radio-Canada (September 10, 2005 – October 27, 2007; reruns until April 25, 2010).[12] In the United Kingdom, BBC's children's strand CBBC had broadcast it. In the Republic of Ireland, it was broadcast on RTÉ Two's The Den. In Australia, it was shown on Seven Network and its affiliates. In New Zealand, the show was aired on the 2 Kids block on TV2.

In France, where this TV series was primarily made, it was terrestrially broadcast on France 3. In Italy, where the original comic came from, it was shown on Italia 1.

DVD[edit]

W.I.T.C.H. has been released on DVD in Europe, Australia, the Philippines (also in VCD format), Brazil, and Malaysia containing episodes of the first season, which was divided into volumes of varying number of episodes. Each volume contains 2 art cards, each featuring one of the W.I.T.C.H. girls.[citation needed]

In the UK, the first three volumes were released in 2006 on 1 May, 19 June, and 21 August respectively.[13][14][15] In October 2007 the volumes were re-released as a DVD box set along with the box set of volumes four, five and six, containing the rest of season 1.[16][17]

Season 2 has been released in the Czech Republic,[18] Poland,[19] and Russia.[20] Some of these DVD sets have audio available in multiple languages, including English.

Reception[edit]

In the early stages of the first season, the series was a major hit and a TV breakout.[21]

Common Sense Media noted that the show is "an animated fantasy-adventure series for tweens", and gave it 3 out of 5 stars.[22] The New York Times found the show to emphasize the importance of teenage friendships among girls, while appealing to boys as well.[3]

In 2006, Joey Paul Jensen was nominated for the Casting Society of America's Artios Award for Best Animated Voice-Over Television Casting.[23]

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack for the series was released in January 2007: Music From and Inspired By W.I.T.C.H.[10] Among other tracks inspired by the series, it includes full-length renditions of the first international theme as well as the US version.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wayback Machine". 2 May 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  2. ^ Altehenger, Jennifer (2013). "Chapter 4: Comic Travels: Disney Publishing in the People's Republic of China". In Fung, Anthony Y.H. Asian Popular Culture: The Global (Dis)continuity. Routledge. p. 66-70. ISBN 9781134089956. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Cutler, Jacqueline (6 February 2005). "FOR YOUNG VIEWERS; Growing Up Galactic". Retrieved 25 March 2018 – via NYTimes.com. 
  4. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 7 February 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  5. ^ "Toon Zone Talks to Greg Weisman, Part Four: "W.I.T.C.H." - ToonZone News". www.toonzone.net. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d e DeMott, Rick. "W.I.T.C.H. Licensed On Free TV To 13 Countries Across Europe". Animation World Network. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Disney Animated Co-production W.I.T.C.H. To Launch At MIPCOM". Jetix Europe N.V. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Divide and Conquer". W.I.T.C.H. Season 1. Episode 7. 26 February 2005. Jetix. We're not witches, it's just our initials. 
  9. ^ "Disney's journey to the teen heart". en.tefen.com. Retrieved 2 July 2018. 
  10. ^ a b c Witch, Disney, 2007-01-22, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  11. ^ Salvatori, Danilo. "LS3 (CON LA SIGLA DELLE WITCH) di LUCKY STAR Genere MUSICA PER BAMBINI". www.lallegrettodischi.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  12. ^ a b "Television Program Logs". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 2016-03-02. Archived from the original on 2016-05-16. 
  13. ^ W.I.T.C.H. - Vol 1, Disney, 2006-05-01, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  14. ^ W.I.T.C.H. - Vol. 2, Disney, 2006-06-19, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  15. ^ W.I.T.C.H. - Vol. 3, Disney, 2006-08-21, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  16. ^ Gordon-Bates, Marc (2007-10-01), W.I.T.C.H: Series 1 - Volumes 1-3, Disney, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  17. ^ Gordon-Bates, Marc (2007-10-01), W.I.T.C.H: Series 1 - Volumes 4-6, Disney, retrieved 2018-02-25 
  18. ^ Bambásek, Studio. "Vyhledávání - W.I.T.C.H 2.série - disk 1 - Magic Box". www.magicbox.cz. Retrieved 2018-02-25. 
  19. ^ "«W.I.T.C.H. (Witch) Czarodziejki Pakiet (slim)» (2005) [DVD] Reżyser: Ginny McSwain • DVDmax.pl". www.dvdmax.pl. Retrieved 2018-02-25. 
  20. ^ "Чародейки. Сезон 2. Часть 2. Эпизоды 14-26 (2 DVD)". GoldDisk. Retrieved 2018-03-19. 
  21. ^ "W.I.T.C.H.ing Hour - License! Global". www.licensemag.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  22. ^ "W.I.T.C.H." Common Sense Media. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "Artios Awards". Casting Society of America. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 

External links[edit]