As someone who grew up in the 90s and was an avid “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” viewer, I was wary of the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” from the start.
First off, no Melissa Joan Hart? Count me out. But my curiosity and love for the show got the best of me, and I eventually caved in. The show, which premiered on Netflix on Friday, Oct. 26, was a mix of “Riverdale” and “American Horror Story” and for the most part, strayed away from the original series. Don’t let that fact keep you from watching though — the new show is binge-worthy in its own right and deliciously spooky just in time for Halloween.
The “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is a dark and twisted take on the beloved Archie Comics. Though many characters, like Harvey, Hilda, Zelda and Salem do appear in the new series, the only similarities the characters share are their names. If you are looking for the happy-go-lucky “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” this version is not for you. This Sabrina should not be dismissed because of these differences, but applauded. While the series is essentially about satanic witchcraft, it also is a show with a strong female lead who never doubts herself or her power. In the era of #MeToo, this Sabrina Spellman stands up and fights for herself and women from the very first episode. At her school she creates a girl powered group, called the WICCA’s where they support other women, in a patriarchal school and town.
The show begins by introducing us to Sabrina Spellman’s life in Greendale. Rosalind Walker (Ros for short), Susie Putnam and Harvey Kinkle are Sabrina’s closest friends at Greendale High. She seems to be enjoying life as a half-witch but is torn about the Dark Baptism looming over her 16th birthday. The date coincidentally lands on Halloween, or Samhain, as the Wiccan call the holiday, as well as the blood moon.
The Dark Baptism inducts Sabrina into the Church of Night, turning her into a full witch after signing the book of the beast. In the show, the ceremony is compared to other coming of age rituals, like a quinceanera or bat mitzvah. She would embrace “the path of night,” renouncing any connections to the mortal world, including her friends and life in Greendale. She would also be transferred to “The Academy of Unseen Arts,” where she would learn things like demonology and conjuring. It’s no wonder Sabrina was torn between her mortal life and powers. But her spunk and confidence ends up helping Sabrina keep in contact with her beloved mortal friends and become a full witch.