Black cats, high school drama and the Dark Lord— this is all you need to dive deep into the new Netflix original series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Based on the Archie Comics, this Netflix show, released just before Halloween of this year, follows the young half-witch Sabrina Spellman, played by Kiernan Shipka, as she decides whether to go through with her Dark Baptism. This Baptism, in a way, sells a young witch’s soul to the Devil in payment for a lot of magical powers. This would make the 16-year-old one of the most powerful witches in her coven.
What holds Sabrina back, though, is her connection to the mortal world. Unlike other witches, Sabrina is half human. Her father, a High Priest in her coven, married a mortal and had Sabrina. This tie to humanity led her aunts, Zelda and Hilda, to raise her in the mortal world. Sabrina attended public school like normal humans and developed meaningful relationships with full mortals. The viewers learn about her closest friends, Ros and Suzie and her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, played by Disney star Ross Lynch.
Sabrina keeps her witch identity a secret from her friends in fear that they will not accept her for all that she is. This leads to a lot of unanswered questions from her friends. Nonetheless, Sabrina is still able to have close friendships. She, Ros, and Susie work to create an intersectional women’s club to support female literature and protect non-binary students at school.
Many students at Eastern probably remember Sabrina and her story but in the form of an ABC series titled, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In this show, Sabrina attends high school and practices magic much like the reprised version; however, the plot does not include the satanic and dark influences. Although most of the characters from the original series were followed through again in the Netflix version, many of the plot lines were different.
In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the plots are often darker and more sinister. These plots make the series a closer reimagining to its sister production, the CW smash Riverdale. Riverdale High of the smash hit series starring Cole Sprouse is in the same location as Baxter High, the high school Sabrina goes to. This relevance has made The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina popular, especially among Riverdale fans.
In relation to the comics which the series is based off of, there are a lot of similarities, especially when it comes to the casting of the iconic characters. It has also been recognized for keeping with the darker theme that the original ABC spin-off did not include. However, even though I am not familiar with the comic series and cannot possibly discern whether or not the series does the books justice, I can say that the show by itself is extremely satisfying. In some parts, I am laughing at Ambrose, Sabrina’s cousin, falling in love with Harvey Kinkle, or being scared of the High Priest. I think that this show does a good job in incorporating multiple genres, something that was not a part of the original ABC series.
Even with this immense success the Netflix original has gained, there has been serious backlash. This started with the Satanic Temple, a group of Satan worshippers, suing the streaming service for including replicas of their idols in the series’ set. In addition, there has been backlash among other religious communities that are against dark religions such as Satanism.
However, in spite of this backlash, this series still has the power to teach valuable lessons. Sabrina and her friends challenge gender norms, mental health stigmas and instances of patriarchy. In addition, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina include the importance of loyalty to family and the need for love. Also, Sabrina has a familiar in the form of a black cat named Salem. He, as her familiar, is in charge of protecting her. Who doesn’t love a cat and a good spooky show? This show is the dark comedic coming-of-age story everyone needs, especially during the fall.