THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA
Created By: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Stars: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis
Based on: Sabrina Comics (1962)
Original Network: Netflix
First episode date: October 26, 2018
Number of Episodes: 10
Number of Seasons: 1
OVERALL: A darker reimagining of the original tv series, and more closely following the original comic follows Sabrina as she approaches her 16th birthday and must choose between the human world of her friends or the witch world of her family.
This adaptation of the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” tale is a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror and the occult. In the reimagined origin story, Sabrina Spellman wrestles to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family — including aunts Hilda and Zelda — and the daylight world humans inhabit. Kiernan Shipka (“Mad Men”) leads the cast in the titular role of the show that is based on a comic series of the same name.
BREAKDOWN BY SEASON
Currently we have only watched season 1. There will definitely be more seasons coming.
I absolutely loved this show and its take on the world of Sabrina Spellman. Netflix is using the fact it doesn’t have to script its shows based on advertisers means they can delve into topics that might scare those advertisers off.
One of my favorite parts of the show is the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Set as a show in the same world as Riverdale, I was reluctant to watch it. However, while it does focus on the teenager, there are enough things that even an older person would enjoy watching. I enjoyed the revision of the witch trials and how witches are portrayed.
No longer the “Charming” version of the 1990s, witches worship Satan, but still have regular lives, loves and desires. They have normal family units and to be honest are no worse then most Christian friends I have seen in their mores, the only difference is signing in the Book of the Beast in exchange for their powers.
Kiernan Shipka was great as Sabrina and shows how she herself is coming of age as an actress. Supported by great actors such as Lucy Davis as the awesome Aunt Hilda Spellman, the kooky but nice witch and Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman the more serious but turns out to be extremely caring leader of the Spellmans. My favorite though was Chance Perdomo, playing Ambrose her cousin and definitely one of the most interesting for me.
The rest of the cast were great, the action scenes were fine and the special effects worked and weren’t too much. I even thought the orgy scene with teenagers (not graphic) was something realistic for that world. After all I knew of similar happenings with normal late teens when I was growing up, so don’t be that surprised parents.
One good aspect was female empowerment. I felt the show did a fairly good job of not only empowering women, but making it seem normal, something that should be taken for granted.
The one glaring problem that to be honest I didn’t see when actually watching the show due to my white privilege was the race card. The show operates as if its in a vacuum for racial problems and that is a mistake. Casting Prudence as the bad witch and who is also black, along with the imagery of hanging people (something commonly done to black people even to this day) seems to strike the wrong tone. I have read that the producers/writers acknowledge this failing and I hope they change it.
While I think Prudence is a great character, now that I have understood the issues I hope they alter her character’s course (they did accidentally in season one as she didn’t start killing with her cohorts, but that was accidentally). I would go more into this issue but to be honest I am not qualified except to say I recommend reading other sources including https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-chilling-adventures-of-sabrinas-characters-of-color-1830083708 but especially look for people of color writing about it.
I liked the show a lot, but I hope after season 2 they do make the changes on their race questions (they already filmed season 2 so I expect it won’t be much different).