The new Netflix series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” takes viewers on a series of dark and twisted events complimented with charm and black magic. Though it’s based on the 90s ABC comedy series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” this series is nothing like the original. The horror-inspired show follows a dark, twisted and spooky storyline, which is quite the opposite of the original ABC series’ aesthetic.
To add another twist, the show follows the comic series “Archie,” created by Roberto Aguirre Sacasa and has a sister-show on The CW Network, the popular teen drama “Riverdale.” One may be expecting to see Sabrina as the peppy, relatable teenager, but she is almost the exact opposite in this chilling and gruesome series — the once-relatable teenage witch is not-so-relatable anymore.
Sabrina Spellman, played by “Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka, is still a half-witch and half-mortal teenager. Instead of following the original series of living in Massachusetts, she resides in Greendale, a fantasy town adjacent to Riverdale. Living with her two aunts and black-cat companion, Sabrina struggles to balance the dual nature of being half-witch and half-mortal.
As Sabrina’s 16th birthday approaches, she has to make the difficult decision of continuing her family’s legacy by going through with her dark baptism which will convert her into a full-time witch. Doing so would force her to leave her boyfriend, friends and mortal life in Greendale for a new life at the Academy of Unseen Arts.
Although she loves her mortal life, she comes from a long line of Satan worshippers, and it is her duty to give herself to the Dark Lord. As the storyline unfolds, the Spellman’s are thrown into a series of unfortunate events, giving viewers a glimpse into their world of witchcraft and Sabrina’s quest to save Greendale from dark forces.
Unlike previous adaptations of the Archie Comics character, magic is no laughing matter. The Netflix show’s representation of magic is more closely aligned to the medieval concept of witches, who were believed to have been awarded with power by Satan himself. Lucifer makes a few appearances in the show, in the form of a grotesque goat monster similar to the devil figure of 18th century Spanish painter Francisco Goya’s haunting “Witches’ Sabbath.”
Even Salem, Sabrina’s feline familiar, is no smart animal, but a cat that occasionally reveals hints of his fearsome demonic form. The show’s darker depictions of magic makes for some deliciously spine-chilling scares.
Overall, the series was not how I was expecting it to be, but I did enjoy the witchcraft storyline as it is unlike any other series on television currently. However, I wish that it had no ties to the original “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series as the two shows have almost no similarities.
I appreciate Sabrina’s story being told in a new light by portraying her as a tough heroine that displays female empowerment. The show presents many encouraging examples that I think are important in today’s society. Portraying Sabrina as someone who stands up for what she believes in even when people are constantly against her is something that many teens can learn from.
To say this is Netflix’s best show yet would be misleading, but this show is definitely worth watching if you are eager to see the Spellmans in action again.