Review: The Worst Witch is Heartwarming and Hilarious

I had heard about The Worst Witch from a friend of mine who had watched the first few episodes and loved them. I was looking for something new to watch on Netflix and it was one of the suggested shows in my profile, so I settled down and started the show.

Two minutes into the first episode, I fell absolutely and completely in love. I ended up watching the series once alone and then again with my sister, who also fell in love with it.

As a lifelong Harry Potter fan, the idea of magic has always fascinated me. I was pleased to see similar themes of adventure, friendship, loyalty, adversity and perseverance in The Worst Witch. I’ve heard it called “Harry Potter, but for girls,” which frankly, is ridiculous because Harry Potter is for everyone, regardless of gender. The first book in The Worst Witch children’s series, written by Jill Murphy, came out in 1974; predating the Harry Potter series by almost two decades. After watching the series — all 13 episodes, many times — I have some things to say.

The Worst Witch is honestly one of the most heartwarming and brilliant shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s particularly smart for a children’s show and doesn’t condescend to its audience. Its themes of loyalty, bravery, friendship and standing up for what’s right are universal themes and ones that everyone can relate to.

The show is about a group of young witches who attend a school for magic. By a happy accident, the protagonist, Mildred Hubble, ends up taking part in Cackle’s Academy Selection Day with her new friend, Maud Spellbody. After a drama and mischief-filled episode, Mildred passes the entrance exam despite being from a non-magical family.

In addition to really enjoying all of the girls’ storylines and seeing what mischief Mildred can get up to each episode, I also look forward to scenes with the teachers of Cackle’s. Watching kindly Miss Cackle and strict, Miss Hardbroom play off of each other and interact with their pupils and colleagues is always good for a laugh.

What I find the most refreshing about The Worst Witch is that women and girls make up 99 percent of the cast, and, thankfully, have more to do than talk about the opposite sex. The show definitely passes the Bechdel test, and all of the girls are multidimensional characters. They’re funny, kind, clever, ambitious, cunning and smart, and many other things.

I definitely have a weakness for children’s shows, and the show is a bright spot in my life. It’s funny, it’s very cleverly written and engaging and brilliantly cast. My only qualm about the show is that they’ve recasted Maud for the second season, which is a shame, because the actor was adorable and played the part wonderfully.

The reboot is a joint CBBC, Netflix and ZDF venture, and films in England and on location in Germany. You can find season one of The Worst Witch on Netflix, and the second season of the show will premiere on CBBC in the United Kingdom tonight, January 8. The second season will be available to watch internationally on Netflix in Summer 2018. Happy watching!

-Sage Daugherty
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

One Comment

  1. Karen Price says:

    Yes! I started watching this a while back and haven’t finished it. Thanks for reminding me to move it back to the top of my queue.

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