I used to watch “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch” as a child. Who didn’t? I found it somewhat entertaining but also too giggly, nice and corny. You see, I like my witches dark and the teenage story of a goody-two shoes perfect teenage girl was not entirely to my liking. Then last year entered the new version of the same story “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and boy, I binged on this dark series like I was 15 and had no work to do (which is why I’m writing a joint review of two seasons).
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 1
Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) is an orphan who lives with her aunts. She’s also a witch and she’s soon turning 16, which means that it’s time for her dark baptism and giving herself (potentially in all ways) to the Dark Lord. Sabrina isn’t so sure about all this satanic stuff, though. It’d mean that she would have to abandon her mortal life including her loving and understanding boyfriend, Harvey and her friends.
It’s immediately apparent that the new Sabrina is nothing like the old version of the story. This series is full of satanic as well as dark references and jokes. It’s truly chilling and scary at times.
The creators have been largely inspired by the Satanic Temple’s symbolism (NOT the Church of Satan, two different organisations) to the point that Netflix was sued by them for the use of the Baphomet statue without permission in the series. The two parties eventually reached a settlement in the dispute.
Some Christians felt offended too but surprisingly for a series mocking Christianity, stronger criticism came from some satanic and witch circles.
The creators probably also didn’t shed a tear over the fact that the old Sabrina (Melissa Hart) was not impressed and was quoted as saying “It’s not something I’m going to watch, that I’m interested in watching right now, and it’s not something that my kids will watch.”
Whatever, old Sabrina. I LOVED the vibe. To be so openly playful with satanic and religious concepts… it was to me one of the greatest things on TV ever after growing up in Poland. I’ll be honest – they had me at the first “Praise Satan” but it was the general attention to dark detail that gave season 1 my undying love.
This series is also more than just dark… it’s sexy. Sabrina in season 1 is a bit boring because whenever she does something sort of evil she does it for the Better Good. She’s a virgin and her sexy times with Harvey go as far as kisses on the forehead. I mean, it’s just not very realistic. With a hottish boyfriend at 16 they’d be at least dry humping! But let’s leave the poor girl alone because there are many characters who enjoy their female sexuality and darker side to the fullest including her aunt, Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Prudence (Tati Gabrielle). Warlocks don’t stay behind with two particularly well-constructed characters standing out of the crowd, Father Faustus (!) Blackwood (Richard Coyle) and Nicholas (Gavin Leatherwood).
Other memorable and interesting characters include Sabrina’s cousin, Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) and Prudence’s sisters. I also can’t forget about Sabrina’s high school friends of whom one, Theo, is transgender and played by one of the youngest non-binary actors, Lachlan Watson.
The series watches very well but it doesn’t mean that it didn’t make me cringe occasionally. Especially some dreamlike episodes, seemingly put there to slow down the action and waste the viewers’ time, are just face-palm worthy. Plus, as an adult I had to sometimes remind myself that the series is mostly aimed at teenagers.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 2
In Season 2 Sabrina turns into a more interesting young woman. As the poster suggests she’s torn not only between two men from two different worlds but also between the two worlds themselves. Even in season 2 the creators are overly idealising the protagonist but she’s become a more multi-dimensional character. There are also some interesting developments for other characters that I can’t say much about not to spoil your fun.
The second season is still fun and has most of the same qualities as season 1. The vibe is still there but unfortunately, the storyline is getting pretty intense according to the rule I described in my review of “Grace and Frankie, Season 5“. Even after watching season 1 I had a bit of a problem with getting fully into the story because it was quite grotesque at times. I must admit I shook my head a lot. My husband who overheard a line during one of the last episodes gave me a very telling look even though he’s been already exposed to years of my teenage series indulgence mania. I think I kept going because I really like some of the characters and find them compelling.
After a literally insane finale that set an interesting premise for season 3 I’m willing to give it a try, when it’s ready. It’s been officially confirmed so clearly people are enjoying something a bit out of the box.
Did you watch “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch”? Did you watch its new version “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”? Tell me what you think! Come on, give me some love!