To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to think when I heard that the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” story was being rebooted as a television show once again. I love the show as a child. The idea of magical powers made me giggle as I imagined the possibilities. To be honest, Melissa Joan Hart did a great job in the original as the Sabrina most people recognize from the original ABC show.
However, only a few minutes into the new Netflix original, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” it was very clear that this was not going to be like the first go around. Not even close.
On both stories, Sabrina Spellman is a teenage girl who, as half-witch, half-human, she struggles to balance both lives.
However, in this new show, it was very clear that the new Sabrina, Kiernan Shipka, with her quick mind and strong will, would not be spending a lot of time in front of her mirror using magic to change outfits. No, this new Sabrina uses her powers for things like exorcisms and summoning hellfire.
The new Sabrina, while still getting sucked into the occasional high school drama, seems wise beyond her years. She attacks every problem that arises with an unabashed confidence that most only dream to have, even in the face of wild danger.
The new series strays from the dull weirdness of high school and grabs the concept of a coven of witches by the (devil’s) horns. Cannibalism, demons and necromancy are all tackled head-on while Sabrina fights the constant pressure to follow the Path of the Night and sign her name in The Book of the Beast, effective promising her soul to, well, Lucifer himself.
However, fans of the old show will appreciate a few familiar faces. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar pet, is still a back cat, though, not a sassy, talking one. Also Sabrina still lives with her Aunts Zelda and Hilda, who are almost identical to their sitcom counterparts.
There is a familiar pang in my chest when I watch Sabrina walk into the kitchen in the new show and see Zelda holding a newspaper saying something mildly degrading to her younger, bubbly sister, who is always cooking or gardening.
Overall, the show has a consistent cast of strong female characters who take no nonsense and get stuff done.
Overall, it’s a great show. Dark, stormy and full of witchy lore.