Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

reviews the pilot episode of the new Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, not your typical teen witch drama

Netflix once again delivers yet another solid original drama with its release of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. Released in its entirety exclusively to the streaming service this month, the reboot of the Archie Comics series and the 1996 TV show “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” brings a new but darker version of the show to cater to a modern audience.

Within the very first episode, “Chapter one: October Country”, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa brings a perfectly balanced story, with the first half heavily focusing upon the immense bonds of friendship between Sabrina Spellman (played by Kiernan Shipka), her boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch) and their two other friends. As the thorough and convincing characterisation of the protagonist of the series progresses, the episode transitions into much darker themes, with the reveal of Sabrina’s links to the dark arts and the fact that her whole family are witches… except her mother. This mixture of the mortal and magical blood within Sabrina creates a multitude of problems involving her outcast by other witches as well as the potential loss of the mortal world that she faces if she signs her name in the Book of the Beast on her 16th birthday.

It is at this point that as a viewer, you are shocked by the overlying theme of the series revolving around Satan and his worship. Initial appearance and thoughts would make an audience expect a typical teen drama, however, the series rather effectively delves deeper into the darker realms of religious devotion; even daring to depict Satan himself which could be considered as controversial but effective in grabbing the attention of a viewer’s more blasphemous tastes. The representation of LGBTQ+ themes are also successfully introduced, with the issues in society regarding the treatment of non binary individuals showcased in the character of Susie Putnam (portrayed by the non binary actor Lachlan Watson). This rather poignant mixture of themes which are both arguably not common occurrences in major TV productions insinuates that this series could be one to watch for bold and audacious topics.

It must also be added that the acting and casting within the series is very well performed and chosen; with each characters demeanour and motives meticulously thought out and executed. Notable mentions to the characters of Mary Wardwell (Michelle Gomez) and Hilda Spellman (Lucy Davis) who both demonstrate immense character potential to be fan favourites; with the powerful deliverance of both mystery and comedy respectively.

With the ominous ending of the episode revolving around the decision Sabrina must make regarding her devotion to Satan, it is safe to say that this series is more than binge-worthy for an audience who enjoys teen drama, fantasy themes or even horror. The show is very clearly going to become a regular hit for Netflix, with a second series already commissioned and the confirmation that the show exists in a shared universe as another popular original series “Riverdale”; demonstrating the power that the streaming service has developed through creating quality content such as “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”.