This review contains spoilers for “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
Ever since “Riverdale” premiered in January 2017, the Archie Comics craze has not died down. The dark and sexy reboot of the once family friendly story became extremely popular among teens and young girls, causing many of the actors to rise to stardom. After its success on screen, they transferred it to the page, with a “Riverdale” comic series. This popularity resulted in the writer and director of the show, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, deciding to reboot one of the company’s other properties for the small screen, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
Reboots and remakes have become a popular trend in the past few years, with nostalgia playing a major role in their achievements. With major hype surrounding the idea, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” was destined for success. The comic was originally created in 2014, and although well-liked, it did not have the same initial hype that “Riverdale” did. However, once the show was announced and fans realized it would have possible connections to one of their favorite shows, it immediately attracted a supportive audience who anticipated its release. Although these connections to “Riverdale” were small, the nods to the neighboring town were appreciated by fans everywhere. It was originally slated to premiere on the same channel as “Riverdale,” The CW, but ultimately the property was bought by Netflix.
“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” follows a teenage girl, Sabrina Spellman, played by Kiernan Shipka, in the days leading up to her 16th birthday and the events that follow in the town of Greendale. Spellman is half-witch, half-mortal, and on the night of her birthday, she must choose which path to follow – the Path of Night or the Path of Light. Viewers also follow the lives of her friends and family: such as her aunts Hilda and Zelda, her friends Roz and Susie, her boyfriend Harvey, and her enemies, the Weird Sisters.
When Halloween night and Sabrina’s birthday arrive, she must decide whether or not to attend her dark baptism and choose to sign her name in the Dark Lord’s book, putting her on the Path of Night. Her decision will affect her entire life, and she is torn on what she should do. Once she arrives, she learns that she has been lied to and flees the baptism. Later on, her aunts tell her that her late mother and father already chose to sign her name in the book, and that is why she was encouraged to go through with it. This revealed secret sets up the conflict for the rest of the season, causing Spellman to go on trial in front of the entire coven, attend an academy specific to witches and warlocks, and attempt to keep her mortality through it all.
As the season progresses, we as an audience also learn more about a mysterious character, Miss Wardwell. She is a teacher at Baxter High, the school that Spellman and her mortal friends attend. By the end of the season, it is revealed that she is serving the Dark Lord and wants to rule by his side, and has been stalking Sabrina and trying to guide her on the path that the Dark Lord wants her to follow. This reveal is extremely well done as it is a slow burn, and viewers are guessing until the end what this woman’s true intentions are, even though it is made clear at the beginning that she is evil.
“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” was one of the most anticipated shows by teens this year, and it definitely lived up to the hype. The show accomplished the difficult mix of being spooky, humorous, romantic and heartfelt, leaving viewers with little to be desired. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” dropped at the perfect time, just a few days before Halloween, and allowed for fans to binge the show over the weekend to get in their scares. Although it is extremely different from what fans of the original story and characters might be used to, with Satanic rituals and resurrections, it provides a fun twist on the story that comes just in time for the end of the spooky season.
Grace Barnett // Staff Writer