The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
First episode date: 26 October 2018
Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) is pretty far removed from the Sabrina we are used to seeing. She is a modern-day hero, outspoken, brave and unashamedly feminist. She is unafraid to stand up for herself, her friends and what she believes in, which at some times is arguably problematic. Sabrina is already aware of her magical abilities and she has no problem using them for ‘good’, or what she considers to be ‘for good’, which is generally for her own agenda.
Straight from the opening, the series explores themes of gender identity, misogyny, and patriarchal society along with the usual teen angst of fitting in, navigating friendships and relationships.
I do feel, however, that Sabrina is somewhat self-righteous at times. She disparages the faith and beliefs of the other members of the Church of Night, just because she doesn’t agree with their practices. Instead of learning more about the culture she seeks to change everything to suit her needs and her agenda.
Some of my issues in this show are also centered around the treatment of some of the other characters namely Susie (Lachlan Watson). Susie, the series’ non-binary character seems to be mislabeled by Sabrina, in most scenes! I feel like the fact that there is a non-binary character is a great step towards representation HOWEVER don’t make that character a driving force for the main character, let them be a character and a person in their own right.
In the same vein, the treatment of Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) is also very questionable in parts. I found the lynching and the berating by Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) to be problematic. She is treated like a threat and frankly very much like the enemy. However, I particularly like Prudence and would enjoy seeing more of her storylines as the series goes on. She is a powerful Witch and women not afraid to go after what she wants. I believe going forward her and Sabrina would be able to form a very powerful alliance, should they put their differences aside for more than just revenge. In an interview with Bustle, Tati goes on to say that Prudence and Sabrina don’t have the typical ‘enemies at war’ kind of relationship going on;
“As time goes on, I think Prudence comes to kind of respect Sabrina’s conviction, and her drive, and the fact that Sabrina won’t really back down from anything.”
Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) has taken over from the sassiest cat in the 90’s to take on the role of the cursed Warlock under house arrest, doomed to live within the walls of the Spellman house for many many many years. Frankly, I adore him. He is suave, charming and eloquent, he makes me think of the kind of guy you’d meet in a smokey bar in Paris in the midst of the Bohemian revolution. Ambrose makes me swoon.
Miss Wardell- It truly is the season of the witch
Another character I have a weird soft spot for is the delightfully odd Miss Wardell (Michelle Gomez). I know she is up to no good but she reminds me of that sort of mystical drunk Aunty that always just turns up at family parties. I love her and her gigantic hairdo.
Visually- Sumptuous, rich and engaging
Aesthetically The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is my jam. I am a big fan of a moody gothic look and the visuals have that down to a tee! The ‘timeless’ space that this and Riverdale both seem to exist in is something I find really interesting.
The dark and gothic tones could not be further from the 90’s saturated happy go lucky Sabrina The Teenage Witch, but this is not a criticism in any way! The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is GENUINELY spooky!
The spooky narratives are only further amplified by the moody lighting, the gothic sets and the absolutely slamming soundtrack.** Some of the scenes that show the ‘Dark Lord’ 100% gave me the willies! That is one impressively designed creature!
Visually, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a dark and delicious feast. It reminds me of my beloved Hannibal! I particularly love the Spellman Sisters mortuary and home, it is both beautiful and dark a perfect parallel of its inhabitants.
He is getting his own subCATergory as I wanted an excuse to use as many gifs from the 90’s show as possible.
Right now that has been taken care of, I do miss the snazzy and scathing cat. However, this Salem is really something else. In familiar form, a black cat the same as before, he is lovely and cute and if possible ( it’s totally possible) really charismatic. Every time he meows I am here for it.
BUT in his ‘true’ form! Praise Satan he is creepy!! We see him very briefly creeping round Sabrina’s room not long after she ‘offered up the job’ of her familiar to whoever was listening. She may have got more then she bargained for in Salem, but so far he has been nothing but a proper little fuzzy hero.
Final thoughts for this chilling reimagining
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a real sumptuous watch, perfect for Autumn viewing, every scene has that perfect ‘Fall’ Instagram vibe. I really enjoy the art direction and the moody look of the whole show.
Is it perfect? No, it is not but it is a good start. I am here for the unapologetically feminist Sabrina and for the diverse cast and characters.
Binging on the first few episodes has spurred me on to pick up the print series and get some more Sabrina in my life!
You lot feeling it? Let me know!
*** Some of the soundtrack;
- “Magic Eyes” – Billy Fury
- “Atomic” – Blondie
- “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
- “Hurdy Gurdy Man” – Donovan
- “Blue Motorbike” – Moto Boy
- “I Put A Spell On You” – Sylvia Gordon
- “Be My Baby” – The Ronettes
- “Terrible Thing” – AG & Brad Gordon
- “Monster Mash” – Bobby “Borris” Picket & The Crypt-Kickers
- “Devil Woman” – Cliff Richard
- “Strange Magic” (re-record)- Electric Light Orchestra
- “Full Moon Tonight” – Silvastone feat BELLSTAINT
- “Sixteen Candles” – Stray Cats
- “Blood In The Cut” – K.Flay
- “Dead End” – Kaviar Special
- “Wild Woman” – Sleep Machine