Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Review
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has finally hit Netflix and is a dark and exciting adventure. A sort of companion show to the CW’s Riverdale that features many members of the same creative team, including showrunner Roberto-Aguirre-Sacasa. This new spin on the tales of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) as our witchy heroine and gets off to a pretty interesting start that continues to develop with each episode.
When we first meet Sabrina Spellman, she is just days away from her 16th birthday, which will also be commemorated with a dark baptism in which she will declare devotion to serving the Drak Lord. As a half-witch and half-human, Sabrina is faced with a huge decision.
She resides in the town of Greendale (which has already been established on Riverdale as a place of supernatural occurrences) at her family’s funeral home with her kind-hearted Aunt Hilda (played by scene-stealing Lucy Davis, Etta from Wonder Woman), her uptight Aunt Zelda 9Miranda Otto of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and cousin Ambrose (a charming Chance Perdomo) who is under house arrest for crimes he committed years ago.
Sabrina is tormented about giving up her mortal half to be a full-on witch, mainly because of her commitment to her friends and her boyfriend Harvey Kinkel (Ross Lynch). The Sabrina/Harvey relationship is the root of the emotions that reside in the series and is way more grounded in reality, which is weird given that there is a supernatural force trying to break them apart. Also realistic is her relationships with her best friends: the strong and curious Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) who suffers from constant bullying.
Michelle Gomez’s character Mary Wardell is an enchanting antagonist and has her own sketchy agenda with Sabrina. What makes her character so interesting is that through the power of dramatic irony, viewers always know what her evil intentions are even if Sabrina doesn’t.
The main focus of the series was Sabrina’s Dark Baptism and her decision to fully embrace being a witch or not. This is dealt with pretty quickly in the season and then we see the aftermath of her decision which all leads up to a powerful finale.
Kiernan Shipka holds the series together with her portrayal of Sabrina. She gives a standout performance that makes you understand Sabrina’s motives, even if you don’t quite agree with her judgments. She is a typical teenager who is thrown into the world of the supernatural, but her experiences are still relatable, in a way.
The acting throughout the series is memorable. Every character is given the opportunity to develop even if they don’t get much screen time. For example, Susie, who is dealing with her sexuality and her family’s past truly embodies her character to the fullest.
All in all, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is off to a great start in their first season and will hopefully fill the Stranger Things hole this October. Season 2 has already been announced and production is currently underway.