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A Review of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is very different from the beloved sitcom. PHOTO/ Netflix

By Carmen Saffioti

Published: November 28th, 2018

This Halloween came with a pleasant surprise: a reboot of the beloved story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This time however, things came with a satanic twist. Sabrina first appeared in a comic book in the early 1970s as a part of the Archie Comics franchise. Since then, this story has been retold through the forms of a live action and cartoon television shows. Most recently, Sabrina has reappeared in a Riverdale-esque fashion. The show is not as light hearted, heavy on drama, and Salem the cat doesn’t talk. With the Riverdale styled reboot, the show comes with some problems that Riverdale also faces– melodrama and some cringe acting. However, if you’re willing to buckle down with the campiness of the show this might be worth the Netflix binge.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is probably most enjoyable if you are a fan of other “witch” or pop Satanism media, such as the 1990s movie The Craft. This series is much more similar to American Horror Story’s Coven than its popular live action predecessor. The most pleasing aspect of series is the aesthetic. It meshes together dark gothic and satanic elements, as well as influences from 80s movies like The Labyrinth to get an intergenerational and timeless look. Most of the scenes are dark and moody, with Sabrina usually lighting up the scene with her blonde bob and 60s chic outfits. The consistency of the visual elements works very well for creating a world that viewers can get lost in. 

Sabrina is a perfectly enjoyable character, although this comes with a few problems. She is endlessly witty, clever, and mature– so much so in fact that it difficult to find a single problem with her. She is what some may describe as a “Mary Sue,” which is a flawless protagonist who beats the seemingly damning odds every time. This is certainly the case for Sabrina– in each episode she does something that we are told that other older and more experienced and more powerful characters were unable to do– yet somehow Sabrina is able to do them usually within a few minutes. Despite the fact that Sabrina is a half witch, she can outsmart a high priestess, defeat a powerful demon, and break an algorithm puzzle that another warlock couldn’t figure out for the past twenty years.  Characters like this may seem inspiring at first, but this gets old really fast. Viewers will always know how a situation will end no matter how difficult the situation seems.

A few episodes into viewing this new reboot, you may be reminded of another reboot– Riverdale. The Chilling Adventures essentially did everything that Riverdale did– take a light hearted comic and fill it with moody teen drama. This is not meant to insult The Chilling Adventures; the acting is not where near as bad as in Riverdale (although there is some questionable line delivery). The similarities are mostly due to the fact that the two shows have the same creator and executive producer. Fans of both shows can look forward to a cross over in the near future, however it won’t be a televised event. Instead Sabrina will cross over into Riverdale from her hometown Greendale in an upcoming comic release.

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