Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Netflix’s “Sabrina” is a fresh take on its comic predecessor

Brian Luck

Contributing Writer

“Who doesn’t enjoy a good scare every now and then, especially this time of year?”

The new Netflix series, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” was released Oct. 26. It follows the story of 16 year old Sabrina Spellman: a half-witch, half-mortal who must decide whether to follow the Path of Light or the Path of Night.

The Netflix series derives from the popular comic books of the same name published in October 2014 by Archie Horror, a sub-group of Archie Comics. These newer comic books draw inspiration from the older comics of “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” which had their own television adaptation in the 1990s, and three cartoon adaptations.

Fans of the old “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” television show will be surprised at the drastic differences between the old and new series. These changes occur in the context of different comic books.

Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) lives with her two aunts, Zelda and Hilda, (Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis, respectively) and her black cat, Salem. Since the 1990s, Salem has taken over the role of Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). The Netflix Salem is not a warlock trapped in a cat’s body who speaks sassily and offers advice like that of the 1990s. Rather, he now acts as Sabrina’s “familiar,” helping her silently. Ambrose is under house arrest for attempting to blow up the Vatican and tries to provide his cousin with the support she needs.

As a half-witch and half-mortal, Sabrina lives a double life. She attends Baxter High with her boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch) and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair), where she creates the feminist group W.IC.C.A., or the Women’s Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association. There, she also interacts with Mary Wardwell (Michelle Gomez), a secret witch whose true intentions are blurred throughout the series.

In the world of witches, Sabrina faces harrowing, the witch form of hazing, from the Weird Sisters, Prudence, Dorcas and Agatha (Tati Gabrielle, Abigail F. Cowen and Adeline Rudolph). She befriends warlock Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) who comes to her aid frequently at the Academy of Unseen Arts, headed by Father Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle), the high priest of the Church of Night.

Chilling is indeed an appropriate description for the show. It centers around Satanic subjects and the occult and involves numerous graphic scenes of blood and gore. The series is rated TV-14 for these reasons as well as profanity, cannibalism and sexual themes. Certainly “Sabrina” is not for the faint of heart.

Despite the horror and thriller aspects of the series, “Sabrina” functions as a drama of fate, love, bravery, and friendship. It keeps the audience in suspense, with layers of complexity and intertwining story lines, while still providing the satisfaction of family, self-discovery and dark humor.

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” received a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving its worth to the entertainment world. Now that Halloween has passed, “Sabrina” can be our source of “a good scare every now and then.”

(Photo from Inverse)

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