The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the latest offering from the creators of Riverdale, based on the Archie Comics of the same name. It follows Sabrina Spellman as she comes up to her 16th birthday, where she’ll undergo a dark baptism, pledging herself to the Devil himself. Obviously. The Netflix show is a far-cry away from the beloved ’90s show most fans will be familiar with; Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Don’t get us wrong, there are Teenage Witches aplenty. But a comedic sitcom, this definitely isn’t. Did we mention that the comics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is based on, are pure gothic horror?
HER CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE SERIES PROVES THAT NOT ONLY IS THIS A DARK ADVENTURE, IT’S A WELL WRITTEN ONE.
And the show is delightfully no different. For fans of the original comics and graphic novels, the story arc faithfully adapts some of the best moments throughout its ten-episode run. It even gives us an origin for Sabrina’s distinctive white hair that makes complete sense. No, it’s not hair-dye. But best of all, Kiernan Shipka (of Mad Men fame) brings Sabrina to life perfectly. For a half-witch, she’s incredibly human – it doesn’t shy away from her flaws and her mistakes. Her character development across the series proves that not only is this a dark adventure, it’s a well written one. Even if we’re disappointed Salem the cat/familiar doesn’t talk back to Sabrina all the time. Fans might expect a certain outcome by the end of the tenth episode, but the show plays on those expectations.
While Riverdale comes across like Teen Peaks for the Instagram generation, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina refreshingly keeps things analogue. A rare glimpse of a laptop or a mobile phone are the only hints to when this takes place. It doesn’t rely on social media or technology to keep the plot moving forward, instead using the impending doom and the literal work of the devil to push things forward.
It’s not all fantastic, as it drags in the middle of the ten-episodes. One (mis)adventure in particular grinds the overall story to a halt as a budget Freddy Krueger plagues the Spellman family through a laborious episode. Luckily the horror elements in the show make up for the occasional shortfall. It may not be a pulse-pounding, terrifying series but it has some genuinely creepy moments that wouldn’t look out of place on the big screen. Body horror, possessions, resurrections and monsters? This show has it all.
While the middle of Part One suffers from being stretched out to accommodate the ten-episode run, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina manages to be both a faithful adaptation of the comics and an entertaining show in its own right. Most importantly, the show is returning with a Part Two, also having another ten episodes. It’s probable that this will debut in early 2019… And we can’t wait.
PS. Look out for a piece from our very own Millicent Thomas on why Sabrina is a feminist icon – coming soon!