The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

From the producers of Riverdale comes a new Netflix original series—The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Taking place in the town of Greendale which is right across Sweetwater River from Riverdale. Originally, it was assumed that this would be a remake of the 2000s iconic series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Although The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS) still borrows key themes and plots from the comic series, the show does take on a much darker tone.

Much like its predecessor, CAOS blends aesthetics, dark tones, and absurd dialogue to create ridiculous entertainment for people who are feeling spooky.  Initially, I believed that CAOS would be another Riverdale but with witches. I expected to find Emmy-worthy dialogue like this gem:

And while we must mourn the loss of Salem the animatronic puppet cat that had all the sassy remarks in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, CAOS still has its high and low points.

There is some undeniably corny ridiculousness that goes hand in hand with a show about 16-year-old witches dealing with dating and also the actual Devil. CAOS’st’s campy charm is evident throughout the blatant overtures of real-world feminism and patriarchy. Sabrina constantly struggles with her desire to have both “power and freedom” from the demands of her witchy world. There are some very obvious parallels in the witch world and the human world about women “having it all.” Sabrina wants to be a witch without giving up her human life and her freedom by signing the Book of the Beast, which swears her life to Satan.

Sabrina also struggles with three witches she calls the “Weird Sisters.” While the classic mean girl hazing is trite and played out, CAOS brings a refreshing new take on what women actually fight about. The Weird Sisters’ leader, Prudence, and Sabrina have a rivalry based on fundamental ideological differences instead of trivial things like popularity, boys, etc. The Weird Sisters embody the ideological beliefs of the community of witches known as the Church of Night. Their devotion goes so far as to offer themselves as a ritualistic human sacrifice to their coven. Sabrina finds this annual ritual abhorrent and acts as another point of debate between them.

The biggest bone of contention between Prudence and Sabrina is their opposing views on the virtues and vices of non-magical humans. The sisters have a deep hatred of humans due to the history of witch hunts and torture in the area, which leads to violent attacks on humans, especially on descendants of witch hunters. This is in direct opposition to Sabrina who is half human and insists on maintaining her connections to the human world. CAOS deals with real world issues including feminism, the nature of patriarchal societies, non binary gender, sexuality, disability and dating idiots.

All in all, while The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina won’t be snagging an Oscar anytime soon, it is definitely worthy of a weekend binge session. Consider Sabrina to be Archie’s cooler, spookier, less cheesy cousin.

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