Based on an Italian comic book. This show aired on ABC Family and Toon Disney's Jetix block and decided to try something else from the typical comic book adaptations at the time. It re-imagines the first two story arcs of the comic, tying them together and making them one central, stand-alone, connected plot-line told in the show's serial narrative. To some fans' regret, however, this results in them changing a few things around. Greg Weisman, creator of Gargoyles, was a showrunner during the second season.On the distant planet of Meridian, a tyrannical young man named Phobos has acquired the royal throne and begun his crusade to spread his reign over all other planets in the universe. In order to counter his ambitions, a magical wall, known as the Veil, was created in order to seal Meridian away from the rest of the universe. However, over time, the Veil has begun to deteriorate, creating tears in the fabric of space which turn into portals, allowing free passage between Meridian and Earth. On Earth, five young girls are recruited to become the Guardians of the Veil, a group of super-powered defenders who are tasked with keeping order in the universe and acting as the protectors for all planets in the various galaxies of space. To do this, they must maintain the Veil by closing the portals.Soon into their Guardianship, they encounter Caleb, the young leader of a rebel army on Meridian. The rebel army opposes Phobos' rule, as Meridian is a matriarchal planet, and he tells the Guardians that the rightful heir to the throne, Phobos' sister, is hidden away somewhere on Earth, and now that the Veil is weak enough to pass through it, both the rebels and Phobos are racing to find the heir located somewhere on Earth. As they work together to search for the rightful heir to the throne, the Guardians slowly begin to learn that other forces are at work behind the scenes, manipulating and coercing various events involving the war on Meridian, and that everything and everyone they encounter is not what they appear to be.The five girls (whose initials spell "Witch") form a classic Five-Man Band, plus a sort-of Sixth Ranger (one of the Meridian rebels, who's pretty much there from the beginning), a Mentor (grandmother of one of the girls from a previous team, CHYKN), and a Non-Human Sidekick (a goblin-like smuggler from Meridian who is both cute and utterly gross) which sounds fairly standard, but the show distinguishes itself by clever plotting, writing, and bold attempt at creating a series with a centralized plotline that develops each episode with little-to-no filler episodes. Most of the episodes revolve around chess-like maneuvers between the villains and the girls, and the girls start out on the losing side of the war, and must slowly build up their victories. However, they tend to lose more often than they win due to the villain's cunning intelligence, but the plot still moves one step closer to its conclusion.This show is also notable for totally avoiding many tropes found in the action genre. One example is the Sorting Algorithm of Evil; neither Phobos' minions or the girls get any more powerful, or visibly better at using their powers. Instead, the Character Development comes from how both sides treat their war. The girls initially treat their missions like a game or a nuisance, and get much more serious with time. Both the girls and Phobos get much smarter, too. Early episodes have the girls making Keystone Kops blunders in trying to hide their secret, while the bad guys make ham-fisted attacks. By the end, both the girls and Phobos are incredibly sneaky. The second-season avoids it as well, even though the girls get some upgrades and neat new powers, they still have trouble beating the season's Big Bad Nerissa, even though she's arguably weaker than Phobos. The trouble the girls have stems from Nerissa's uncanny scheming ability. The girls never match Nerissa in terms of strength, so they must rely on their wits to outsmart her. Unfortunately, Nerissa tends to be the one outsmarting them and leading them right where she wants them.See also, the comic: W.I.T.C.H.Due to ratings, the show was cancelled after its second season.
This show provides examples of:
The Ace: Caleb, though only when it comes to non-powered opponents.
A-Cup Angst: Will is less than well-endowed and, in the comics, rather sore about it, too.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Matt and Hay Lin's grandmother both got black hair in the cartoon adaption of the comics (whereas they usually have brown and grey hair respectively).
Irma's hair is in a lighter shade of brown.
Adults Are Useless: Averted, the only times the kids beat the adults are when there's a large power gap, such as the Guardians fighting the non-magical Mooks. When they fight other magical-endowed adults, however, they tend to lose the battle due to their lack of experience and power.
Age-Inappropriate Dress: The guardian costumes are rather...provocative for 13-14 year-old girls. Lampshaded by Cornelia's mother in season two when she thinks Hay Lin is wearing a costume.
All Your Powers Combined: This was a major theme for the villains in the second season, with each villain becoming more powerful than the last because they kept capturing each other.
Happened to Cornelia in "N is for Narcissist" when she's inadvertently infused with all the other Guardians' powers and becoming Uber-Cornelia, causing the others to go powerless. She proceeded to curb stomp Nerissa's minions. In the end, she makes the decision to give up the newly gained power and distribute them back to the others.
Alpha Bitch: Cornelia sometimes, mainly in the first season, the Grumper Twins definitely.
Nerissa was very likely one when she was a teenager, going by how she acts with restored youth to her teen years.
Badass Normal: Caleb - by the end of the second season, he's pretty much the only character who can't shoot some form of laser beams. Caleb eventually molds Matt into this with warrior combat training, to the point that our musician can match Caleb in a spar, but then Matt gets powers of his own, leaving Caleb alone once more.
Bare Your Midriff: Pretty much every one of the main protagonists does this in their Guardian forms. They show less midriff in their civilian forms when they show it at all.
The Big Damn Kiss: Caleb and Cornelia in "Z is for Zenith" as it was right in the middle of a battle.
Bigger Is Better: Subverted. Irma tries on two occasions to use breast expansion to her advantage, but in both occasions ends up being embarrassed. Played straight with Will, who prefers her Guardian form because of the larger chest.
Brick Joke: In "I is for Illusion" the Guardians go to Kandrakar for information on Nerissa, not knowing her name they refer to her as "Ugly old hag" with a "No offense!" thrown in from Irma to The Mage, in a OOC moment The Mage (normally The Stoic) puts her hands on her hips and glares out a "None taken" back This becomes a billion times funnier when it's revealed that The Mage is Nerissa in disguise and has been all along. Really there’s a lot of them in regards to Nerissa's identity as both The Mage and Trill.
Butt Monkey: Cornelia. If one of the guardians screws up, chances are Cornelia's the one hit in the face, or drenched in water, or otherwise screwed.
Buxom Is Better: It's an official plot point, in the comics, novelizations and TV series... subverted by Irma, however, whose oversized bust is the butt of jokes.
Camera Abuse: In the first episode, after the girls first transform, Hay Lin starts flying circles around the other girls (especially Will), presumably due to her being the air element. She ends up flying straight into the camera. Also possibly a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
The Chessmaster: Nerissa - this is unsurprising given that the second season had as a showrunner Greg Weisman, creator of Gargoyles and thus of David Xanatos.
The second season also featured Will giving it a try. The Wham EpisodeY Is for Yield shows that, with the help of the other Guardians, she successfully outplayed the entire cast, Nerissa included. Except for Cedric, who realized what she was doing and derailed her scheme at the last moment
Clones Are People Too: Altermeres, as opposed to astral drops, are people with free will. Of the two we meet, Will acknowledges her altermere's free will before she dies, and Yan Lin introduces her altermere to her family as her Long Lost SiblingMera.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Phobos does this to Will in episode 2; we don't see all of it (just the part where she's trapped in plant vines) but when Will encounters Phobos face to face several episodes she's visibly terrified of him.
Composite Character: In the original comics, Shagon and Khor are simply a random man and his dog, transformed by Nerissa. In the cartoon, they are the transformed forms of Will's boyfriend Matt and pet Mr. Huggles.
Deal with the Devil: The Guardians were forced to cooperate with Phobos in order to defeat Nerissa. Subverted in that they never planned on him holding to his word and were in fact relying on him betraying them for their plan to work.
Deus Exit Machina: Elyon is imprisoned for much of Season 2, keeping her out of fights she should've been easily able to win for the Guardians otherwise. Justified since it was all part of The Plan.
Dirty Coward: Nerissa in "T is for Trauma". Realizing she couldn't win, she runs despite their fight won't have any runners, which Will calls her out on, but of course, the evil hag pulls Loophole Abuse, saying that Will agreed to not run but she herself didn't.
Disappeared Dad: Both Caleb and Will start the show with these, for different reasons. Caleb's turns up mid-season 1 and Will's in season 2.
In the second season it gets a bit more complicated, with Raythar first being The Dragon to Nerissa, then Shagon. When Phobos regains power, Cedric becomes The Dragon again- and when he takes over, Miranda becomes his Dragon for all of one episode.
Dye Hard: In season 2's "W is for Witch". Accidentally Invoked for Cornelia when Napoleon knocks her pink nail polish onto a strand of hair. Leaving that strand dyed pink for the remainder of the episode.
Earplug: In episode 'G is for Garbage', Irma and Blunk use a pair of earplugs to prevent them from listening to the horn.
Blunk use Bee's wax instead of earplugs.
Eat the Evidence: Will mentions this as a possible way she could hide a bad grade from her mother.
First Kiss: All the W.I.T.C.H. girls and their respective crushes.
Fisher King: Meridian is a dreary wasteland under Phobos and a fairytale-style kingdom under Elyon. Justified because of the magical powers of both rulers, as well as Phobos damaging Meridian during his rule by leaching life-energy out of it, which Elyon didn't do.
Hulk Speak: Blunk. In fact, all Passlings speak that way.
Hypocrite: Will calls her mother out on lying about having a boyfriend when she earlier lectured her daughter about doing the same. Taranee also bawls her mother out for jumping to conclusions about her and Nigel being involved in a serious crime just because Nigel is a bit of a prankster.
Kick the Dog: Phobos does this VERY frequently. He tortures Will in the second episode among other things.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Phobos does this to Nerissa and Miranda; Nerissa by trapping her in a jewel and Miranda by turning her into a really small spider and locking her in a cell for almost half a season. It is hinted that Nerissa was kicked around by Elyon and the previous Guardians after she was absorbed into the jewel by Phobos, as they were NOT happy to see her.
Limited Wardrobe: The girls in the first season. And most secondary characters throughout the entire series.
Loophole Abuse: In season 2 it's shown that swearing on a magical talisman like the Heart of Candracar can bind a person to that promise with bad results if they actually enter the realm of Candracar. Will uses this to entrap Phobos to try and invade Candracar after he swore on the Heart to return his sister's power-it's implied it would have worked had Cedric not intervened by pulling his own Loophole Abuse and taking a "fraction" of Phobos' new power. Ironically, Will seemed to have gotten the idea from Nerissa's actions under Dirty Coward above.
In an aversion to what happened in the comics, Will didn't have an (onscreen) Meet Cute with Matt, he just sort of showed up for her birthday party. Ditto for Caleb and Cornelia. Hay Lin seeing Eric for the first time would have counted if she hadn't turned invisible out of embarrassment.
Mind Control: Happens a few times but most noticeably in "G is for Garbage" in which all the heroines (except for Irma and Blunk), Jeek and Matt fall victim to this.
Missing Mom: For Caleb. Becomes a plot point in season 2.
Mooks: The rebels, Phobos' Guards, later Elyon's guards.
Mundane Utility: The girls once guardian-up in order to bake a few pastries for a school function.
My God, What Have I Done?: In "U is for Undivided", Cornelia when she realized the bedtime story she was telling Lillian was ACTUALLY HAPPENING outside, Where the other Guardians were fighting Nerissa and her group according to how the story was told.
New Powers: Beginning in season 2 the girls all get an expansion in powers. Along with several Psychic Powers (see below) Hay Lin can turn invisible, Cornelia gained the ability to grow taller and Irma could change the colors of clothes, possibly other things, too. The biggest upgrade has to be Will finally having a few defensive powers of her own as she accepted her control over Quintessence.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Will's decision not to tell Elyon ultimately results in Phobos successfully manipulating her for half the season.
No Bisexuals: Averted, sort of. A questionable relationship between Nerissa and Cassidy's relationship is alluded to, though later on we found out she seduced a man to impregnate her to have a child. While one could argue she only used him to get pregnant, she has shown loving feelings for him, such as when she spared him his life during a deadly confrontation.
No Clue: In 'W is for WITCH', Irma spoke a few ways that she was too matured for taking out the kids to threat-a-tricking. After they asked her about it, all she said was she had no idea what they were talking about.
Cornelia: Andrew Hornby. Irma: I have no idea what you're talking about.
No Loves Intersect: Rather than crush on a character for the entire series, the characters actually have the nerve to break trope tradition and ask the character out with little hesitance, which causes them to hook up fairly early on in the series.
Older Alter Ego: The girls age up noticeably when they transform into their guardian form. At one point a transformed Cornelia is thought to be her own (non-existent) older sister. When Cornelia's mother sees Hay Lin in her transformed state (using it as her "Halloween costume"), she comments how she didn't know Halloween costumes nowadays came with that kind of padding.
Exaggerated in 'N is for Narcissist' when Cornelia is accidentally imbued with all of the guardian's powers, she transforms into a fully adult version of herself. Caleb even calls her "hot."
Out-of-Character Moment: Hay Lin is usually the cheerful one, but in "T is for Trauma", she goes catatonic after seeing clone Yan Lin and Eric being controlled by Nerissa. Even when transforming, she silently had her back turned, not even bothering to do her usual pose.
Played straight with Caleb, whose one parent is believed to be dead when the series starts and the other is not around.
The Plan: Phobos pulls off a good one in Season 1, and everyone gets in on the act in Season 2. Then there's the fact that Phobos' initial plan was in fact part of an even bigger one pulled by Nerissa. Which is the only way that Phobos' take-over makes much sense in the first place. Think about it. His little sister is in her early teens. He is in his twenties. Phobos would have been somewhere around twelve when Elyon was taken to another dimension because he was such a threat to her life. Enfant Terrible or not, you'd think someone was around with the power to send him to his room.
Psychoactive Powers: All the girls have issues with their power upgrade in Season 2 being triggered by their emotions, but Cornelia has the worst of it due to her breaking up with Caleb making her lose control over her powers at a critical moment.
Rapunzel Hair: Quite common. Cornelia, Hay-Lin, Nerissa, Kadma, and Halinor all have ridiculously long hair.
Spared by the Adaptation: Kinda. In the comics, Yan Lin dies of old age shortly after having presented the girls with their powers. However, she turns out to live on in Kandrakaar, as part of the Council. In the series, she lives on in Heatherfield. Also, Mr. Huggles dies after being hit by a car in the comic, though it is in a later storyline that was never adaptated for TV.
Skeleton Government: The entire planet of Meridian seem to be run by a single monarch, assisted by a couple of advisors. In a particularly egregious scene in the second series, Elyon was asked to negotiate a boundary dispute between two groups of farmers. You'd think there'd be some sort of regional governor to see to such matters.
Xambala's the same.
May be justified in both cases as Meridian was recently under a dictatorship and probably lacks any infrastructure while Zambala's population is basically a bunch of living trees.
School Play: Based off a story line in the comics where the girls recreate the origin of the Heart of Candracar for a school production. It doesn't go as well in the show.
Will used one in Season 1 as an excuse to brainstorm for their school's upcoming renaissance festival.
The Sixth Ranger: Many thought Elyon would be it. And while the show does indicate that Caleb fills this category, the comic offers somebody different entirely.
Smug Snake: Phobos and -literally- Cedric. Nerissa.
So Last Season: "J is for Jewel" features the previous season's Big Bad Phobos and several other villains that were imprisoned with him breaking out and trying to stage a coup. But the Guardians have become much more competent since those days, and have several more powers, and easily kick their asses.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted: when Nerissa first appears, she is much weaker and less influential than Phobos ever was, though that does change overtime.
The Starscream: Cedric and Miranda in the Season 2 finale. After being left to rot in prison by Phobos, the two plotted against him in secret, while forming a relationship. Their plan was successful as Cedric succeeded in capturing all of the power Phobos had collected as well as taking control of Kandrakar and Merridian in one fell swoop. Fortunately, they weren't any lucky than the previous villains they succeeded.
Transformation Sequence: Usually all the girls together. This trope was played with in one episode: while every girl cheerfully announce their element as they transform like they always do, Hay Lin, while still going through the sequence with everyone else, stands still quietly with her head bowed.
Ungrateful Bitch: Kadma in the show. She was suckered by Nerissa that the Guardians were attacking Zamballa, causing her to imprison the group when they first arrive until only Taranee was left. When the ruse was found out, she doesn't bother to apologize for her mistakes nor thank them for saving Zamballa and reviving some of her coma-induced subjects after she coldly undermined the Guardians' abilities that they could. This more than annoyed Taranee.
Villain Decay: In season 2, in the same episode that he was freed from prison for the first time, Elyon forces Phobos back in, without even an onscreen fight.)
Cedric plays this totally straight, getting easier and easier to defeat each time he shows up. Even when betraying Phobos and absorbing ultimate power in the end, he winds up not knowing how to properly use it and is defeated yet again.
Wham Episode: Y is for Yield. All of the Guardians' "losses" since Phobos' release were planned by them to get Phobos in a position where he had no choice but to lose. Some of Phobos' minions have pulled a Heel-Face Turn. Finally, right when Phobos is about to do what W.I.T.C.H. has been manipulating him to since they released him, Cedric eats him.
Hay Lin:Did he just... Irma:...Swallow Phobos whole? Oh yeah.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Heart of Kandrakar grants 4 of the girls elemental powers, and to Will, the power to give them those powers! Maybe not totally lame, but at the least, unfair. Retconned in Season 2 of the TV show when it's explained she had no powers as most of hers were used to keep the Veil up. When the Veil is lowered, she gains a lot of new abilities.