First of all, this series is not a remake. 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' is based on the Archie Comic and has very few similarities to the 90s kids classic 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'.
Secondly, this show is amazing. Rated 15+ it allows for strong elements of gore, violence and horror to be shown, really differentiating it from the first incarnation.
Sabrina Spellman (played by Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men fame) must choose between joining her family in the world of witches or staying with her friends in the human world, as on her 16th birthday she is expected to partake in the dark baptism. Sabrina however, is in love with Harvey (Ross Lynch), a human whom she doesn’t wish to leave behind.
First impressions of Sabrina are that she is fearless and fiercely intelligent. She is a passionate feminist, even starting a women’s empowerment club at school with best friends Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) cheekily called Women’s Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association – or WICCA for short.
Not only does the show appear to have a strong focus on feminism; it also has a diverse cast featuring strong characters of colour and a prominent anti-bullying message.
The first 10 minutes of episode one set up the premise for the rest of the season with the brutal death of an important person in Sabrina’s life. This show doesn’t hold back and no character is safe.
Yet another major difference to the 90s version is Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) appear to not only be witches but also cannibals as they refer to a corpse – in the morgue they run – as “long meat”. There is also an air of suspicion surrounding them. They appear to be hiding something but it is unclear what it could be – possibly something about Sabrina’s past or even future as they seem too keen to push her towards the dark baptism.
Salem the cat has also had a revamp, as Sabrina’s familiar he does not talk but protects her from the evil that appears to be after her.
The first episode of 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' sets the scene for a very dark and twisted teen drama, with it ending on an ominously suggestive cliff-hanger.
What awaits in future episodes is unclear but the show takes place in the same universe as 'Riverdale', leading to many rumours and speculations that we could see a cross over. Especially, since Betty and Veronica from Riverdale are witches in the Archie comics.
The show has been commissioned for two seasons so binge-watchers rejoice, there will be new Sabrina soon – perhaps we can expect Jughead to pop up too.