With Halloween knocking on our doors (pun intended), Hollywood releases their spooky productions. Whether they are beloved classics like Night of the Living Dead, Frankenstein, Dracula or new adaptations, we will always link them with Halloween. Here I will talk about a reboot of sort, presented by Netflix, of the beloved teen sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. By my opinion the new show title is far away from chilling and closer to dreadful, but that will be something to speak about in the following paragraphs.
In Bulgaria, Sabrina the teenage witch was widely popular in the 2000’s, despite it being released in 1993 in USA.
It was one of the most watched teen tv shows out there. I, myself remember some very impactful moments and almost all of the actors. The tone of the series was light and jesting, telling the story of teenage girl, who at her 16’th birthday finds out that she’s a witch. From that point on, she has to learn to balance the human world of her friends and the magical world of her family. That led to comical situations, from which she had to escape, by using magic and wit. Although we didn’t have magical powers of our own, we managed to side ourselves with these characters and secretly hoped to at least find a talking cat.
All of that is in the past now, with the new Netflix show, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This version, which can be seen as a reboot has nothing to do with the sitcom, except the main characters. It was directed by the creator of the Sabrina comics, which were published in 2014 by Archie Comics. They follow the story of Sabrina, half human, half witch, who after her 16’th birthday must choose between two worlds, that here can’t exist together. The world of witches and their God, Satan or the world of his human friends, which doesn’t even suspect that witches live in their town. Defying Satan and her Dark Baptism (the ritual that will give her immense power in exchange for her dedication to the Devil), she is granted a temporary permission to live in both worlds. However, she soon finds out that they are truly incompatible.
The show takes place in the universe of Riverdale or to be more precise, in the universe of Archie Comics. That said, while in Riverdale, the focus is the teen drama and the supernatural is just mentioned and referenced, in Sabrina, the witches doesn’t show any slack and go full on, bewitching teen boys, random people and even themselves. There are some truly disturbing moments.
The characters themselves, are almost the same as in the sitcom from 1993. Sabrina lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, and the love of her live is still the human Harvey Kinkle. Even, the favored cat, Salem is transferred in the new adaptation, but his role is completely different. While in 93′ he was bewitched magician, turned into a cat to serve his sentence as a convict, here he’s a goblin, a familiar of Sabrina, which takes on the form of an animal and has the purpose to protect her, as she’s protecting him. His presence in Sabrina’s life is quite interesting and on several occasions, he even saves her life. New character for the Spellman family is Ambrose. A cousin of Sabrina, which most like Salem in the sitcom is sentenced to house arrest, in order to serve his sentence as a convict. As here, the witches are almost immortal, it is really hard to grasp the real age of any of the characters, except Sabrina. Another new character is the young witch’s teacher, Mary Wardwell. In the beginning of 1’st episode, she is shown as a good, shy person, who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Saving a washed up girl on the road, it turns out that she’s not so washed up. In fact she turns out to be the Bride of the Devil, which posses or turns into Mrs. Wardwell (not explained). She plays a key role in misguiding Sabrina into the choices that will lead her closer to becoming a full time witch, thus throwing away her humanity. The main antagonist seems to be the High Priest of the Night Church, which worships the Devil. Father Blackwood must take care of the coven and his pregnant wife while at the same time running The School of unseen arts, attended by all witches. The subjects of teaching there are witchcraft, occults, necromancy, potions, etc. Sabrina also must attend the school after she’s finished in the human one. She must develop her potential, under the watchful eye of father Blackwood. In the end, his role as antagonist is shifted towards Mrs. Wardwell, which turns out to be the villain that we hate to love.
In conclusion, all 10 episodes of season 1 are filled with dark elements, creepy creatures, dark magic and several deaths. The light tone of the teen sitcom is completely turned upside down, showing the grim stories of Sabrina’s adventures and her inner fight between the light and the dark (literally). Which path she will take, I will leave for you to find out. If you’re into magical creatures, spooky effects and demon possessions, then this is a show that you mustn’t miss. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will sink you in the world of the occult and will leave you wanting more from the young witch and her friends. We’re waiting the second season with much anticipation and until then, here’s the trailer for the first. Enjoy!