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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

“Sabrina the Teenage Witch” is now darker with more Satan

The poster of the new, darker version of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Image from Netflix.

In the vein of the show “Riverdale” comes Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Based on the Archie comic books, by the same name, the show tells the story of Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch who is on the cusp of her 16th birthday and her dark baptism. She is faced with the choice of leaving her human life in favor of becoming a full-fledged witch and serving Satan, or abandoning her family’s legacy in favor of leading a normal life with her friends and boyfriend.

Many people remember the first live-action take on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” with Melissa Joan Hart. However, this is nothing like its comedic predecessor. For one, Salem the cat doesn’t talk. This take on “Sabrina” is incredibly violent, dark and Satanic. All of the witches in the show get their magic from Satan himself. Thus, they worship him to no end. I can see many people taking issue with the show because, when I say they worship Satan, they really worship him with many characters saying “praise Satan” and “hail Satan” on a daily basis.

The show itself takes the time to show what it means to worship the devil. I have to say, the disturbing part is that they made some good arguments for Satanism. However, they do make sure that you know that this is still the devil, i.e. he still is a cheat, a liar and straight up evil.

This new take on “Sabrina” is interesting, however, the show uses a formula that we’ve all seen before. Her origin is a mystery, the circumstances behind her parent’s death is questionable and she wants to go against the status quo. It’s a formula that is used very frequently, but it’s still a formula that works very well here.

The plot is quite engaging. If you’ve seen Riverdale you know the aesthetic they use – the style of the show, is very vintage yet somehow modern. It’s pretty much the same here. Many of the locations are very out in the open and ominous. You get their sense that Greendale is a small town in the middle of nowhere and, somehow, always feels like Halloween.

The cast itself does a great job in bringing their characters to life. Kiernan Shipka does a fantastic job as Sabrina Spellman. She’s quirky but, at the same time, determined to do what she needs to do. Almost to a fault, there are a few times where she genuinely made me angry. At one point I said, “Sabrina, you’re dumb,” only I didn’t say dumb.

This show has a lot of great characters that have their time in the spotlight. Michelle Gomez was a stand-out for me. You never know what she is up to – you know she wasn’t on Sabrina’s side, but sometimes she was. Also, she had great hair in the show, to the point where it could’ve been its own character. Richard Coil is really good as a warlock. He’s creepy and foreboding as what is an essentially Satanist pope. Sabrina’s aunts, Zelda and Hilda, are pretty much background characters. They’re there to either scold Sabrina, and or praise her, with Hilda mostly doing the latter. Even Ross Lynch, as Harvey Kinkle, who at the beginning of the series I had completely written off, had a great character arc towards the middle of the series.

Overall, the show is very engaging, yet at the same time a slow burn. There are a few episodes that are very much filler episodes, with the ending of those episodes having a sprinkle of an actual main plot. The season finale wasn’t what I expected, or rather it was exactly what I expected, despite holding out hope that they wouldn’t take the easy way out.

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is the perfect binge-watching show with friends and even family. Just make sure they know what they’re in for.

4 out of 5 stars

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.

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