O.G Sabrina vs. Netflix

Manhattan, New York
United States

Ever since the 1960s, we have been blessed by George Gladir and Dan DeCarlo with their comic “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Eventually, it turned into the iconic comedy TV series, (1996) and later rebooted on Netflix as the thriller “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (2018). Both series may revolve around the young Sabrina Spellman, but these two versions couldn’t be any more different. That is why this list was created; not to justify one adaptation over the other, but to show you how unique and brilliant each series is. Whether or not one Sabrina is better than the other is up to you to decide. Just know that the sole purpose of this list is to demonstrate how much the reboot has strayed from the original.

1. Salem doesn’t talk!

From the very beginning of the ‘90s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series, the Spellmans’ cat Salem Saberhagen (voiced by Nick Bakay) had been a crowd favorite with his witty banter and desire to take over the world. Not only did he have an interesting backstory, but he also had relatable one-liners every episode. In “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, Salem is no longer a former warlock who was being punished for his crimes but a goblin that Sabrina summoned and made a contract with to become her familiar (protector). Salem’s character as the “go-to friend” whenever there was a problem ended up being replaced by Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) who also happens to be punished by the witch council for crimes he committed in the past. Also unlike the 90s, Netflix actually used a real cat for Salem, not a puppet.

2. Sabrina the feminist

Unlike the original series that depicted Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart) as the awkward new girl in high school trying to fit in amongst the mortals, Netflix took a different approach. In their interpretation, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) was already a regular at school and not afraid to stand up for what she believed in, especially when it came to her friends. An example of this bravery could be shown when she was not afraid to form WICCA (Women’s Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association) at her sexist school where boys were not afraid to get “physical” with girls. Her goal was to create a club that allowed women to support other women in a town that always tried to make females feel secondary. How awesome is that? Sabrina Spellman, the new face of women empowerment.

3. The Plot Thickens

As an overview, the premise of Sabrina’s life-changing 16th birthday remains the same in both series. It’s what each of the writers chose to do with that outline that makes each show stand out. While STTW told the story of a quirky Sabrina Spellman just discovering her powers forcing her to live with her aunts and move to a new school, Netflix decided to take a different route when writing their script. Sabrina’s biggest worries were no longer attempting to survive the harsh jungles of high school and learning how to control her powers. Instead, her greatest concerns became doing everything she could to defeat the devil (yes, Satan himself). She tried endlessly to find out where she belonged.  Was she meant to live amongst her mortal friends in the small town of Greendale or become a powerful witch with her family in the Church of Night? Sabrina is no longer the awkward teenager crushing on the classic jock, but a badass female not afraid to run from her own dark baptism. She has to make a crucial decision that would change her life forever while the forces of evil threaten her and everything she has ever cared about. Think of the new plot as if Buffy from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was Sabrina.

4. Where you at fam?

One of the important aspects of both series was the parents. They shaped how Sabrina came out as a person physically and morally. In the STTW, the Spellmans were both very active in Sabrina’s life up until her 16th birthday where her powers came in and she had to move in with her aunts. As a witch, Edward Spellman was called away to the “Other Realm” for work and Diana Spellman was forced to go off to Peru to protect herself from the witch council that threatened her as a mortal. Both may have been away, but they still kept in contact with their daughter in times of need. As for the reboot, the Spellmans have literally been killed off before the show even started adding to the dark vibe of the show. Nonetheless, their role in the show is not really parental, but more like guardian angels that show up in desperate times in a flash. Either way, we never really get to see Sabrina’s parents that much in both shows and yet we are reminded of them constantly in each episode. One just refers to them in the present and the other in the past.

5. From Westbridge to Greendale

As we all know by now, the new TCAOS is set to take place in the same universe as Riverdale while the STTW was in a realm of its own. Despite this, I bet there are some things you all didn’t know or forgot about while binging the new Netflix original. For example, Jason Blossom. Does anyone else remember where he was planning on running away with Polly? That’s right, the Blossoms/Coopers were planning to raise their child in none other than the witch overrun town of Greendale. This means that at some point they would have eventually run into the Spellmans or their friends. Also, the only thing separating the two towns is the infamous Sweetwater River.

6. Magic School

Of course, just like every magical movie or book, there is always a magical school tied to it. Harry Potter had Hogwarts and now Sabrina has the Academy of Unseen Arts. The only difference is Dumbledore never encouraged Harry to join the dark side and kill people as Father Blackwood did with Sabrina, but that is to be expected when you get your magic from the devil himself. Also despite TCAOS’s school being wicked, the purpose is still more interesting to learn about the STTW’s normal Baxter High where the most magical thing there is surviving lunch.

7. The Unholy Trinity

Every protagonist needs the ultimate foil to challenge and make them stronger. STTW Sabrina had the bitchy mortal Libby (Jenna Leigh Green) and TCAOS Sabrina now has the sinister Weird Sisters Agatha (Adeline Rudolph), Dorcas (Abigail F. Cowen), and their leader Prudence (Tati Gabrielle.) Just as Libby was always catty, the Weird Sisters made Regina George’s groupies look like saints. Unlike these despicable women, the Weird Sisters were never afraid to get their hands dirty even if it meant killing another person making them an even more formidable threat to Sabrina and her journey.