Basic review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes the TGIF version you loved and douses it in hell fire and goat blood. If you’re a fan of Melissa Joan Hart, this might not be your cup of tea, but if you enjoy the occult and Riverdale, time to start bingeing.
Sabrina kicks off her new series at a horror movie during the last week of October. Our young half-witch is about to turn 16 where she’ll sign the Devil’s book and renounce her mortal life. The first few episodes grapple with this understandably complex decision and the remainder of the season is the repercussions.
We’re immediately introduced to Sabrina and her rag tag group of well-represented companions, including her boyfriend Harvey, and best friends Rosalind and Susie. It’s clear that Sabrina is a good friend who fights against injustice and inequality. This show is incredibly woke, if that’s something people still say.
Okay, so here’s time for my random thoughts and potentially spoilers because I don’t feel like writing a lengthy, spoiler-free and sensical review.
- If I’m being honest, I don’t know why I watched this over the course of two nights. It wasn’t a bad show by any means. But I wasn’t frantically pushing ‘play next episode.’ There was tension, but no sense of I have to finish watching this. Fortunately my obsessive personality doesn’t need real intrigue to become obsessed.
- I had to Google if the kid who played Harvey was at least 18 because I didn’t want to feel weird about my feelings. I really enjoy that his relationship with Sabrina is previously established and the first season wasn’t built on will-they-won’t-they. They were just two kids in love and I feel comfortable rooting for them to make it through the series (with teen dramas, you can never be sure and I hate to have my heart broken).
- I love Sabrina’s character being so confident and aware of who she is. She isn’t having sex but there isn’t a weird pressure and she’s not portrayed as a prude. At one point, she takes off her shirt so Harvey can look for a birthmark, and he takes off his in solidarity. He doesn’t make it weird or try to sleep with her. He just literally checks for a birthmark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super sensual, but he’s very respectful. A new entry for #notallmen.
- I spent the first half of the season deciding if it was actually in the 60s or if it was modern day with that suspended in time feeling like Riverdale. Eventually we see Sabrina call Harvey’s iPhone and I breathed a sigh of relief.
- Speaking of Riverdale, this is shot in the same perpetual sexy haze and it seems almost certain a crossover will occur.
- Speaking of the sexy haze, one of the biggest complaints was how out of focus certain parts of the scene could be. My eyesight is too good for such shenanigans.
- There were realistic conflicts in this story and believable resolutions. Sabrina raises Harvey’s brother from the dead only he doesn’t have a soul and is now just a zombie. Literally. Once she owns up, he decides to kill his brother and can’t look at Sabrina, which makes complete sense. Her friends find out through ghosts and grandmothers and immediately hear her story and accept her as she is, even when Sabrina tells them about Harvey’s brother.
- I don’t understand how Sabrina accepts her witch life while also being a mortal. They praise Satan a lot. Like a lot. Normalization is weird.
- There’s male witch named Nicholas who might be my third favorite character. He’s super into Sabrina, even offering to be her side boyfriend at her witch school, but he’s never pushy or conniving. He even stops other people from getting in her way so she can make things right. When all hell literally breaks loose in town, he goes to protect Harvey for her and does so admirably. He even convinces Harvey to forgive Sabrina. He understands eating another witch out of tradition is weird and doesn’t partake. I would give him a rating of #notallwitches. Nicholas loves witch orgies which apparently are a common thing but really wishes he could experience mortal love, something witches don’t really get.
- This show is based on some rich witch lore, which I thoroughly enjoy. Salem is back as Sabrina’s familiar, only in this version he isn’t a human trapped in a cats body. Every witch has a familiar to help them and instead of selecting one, Sabrina puts a call out into the world and asks for one who could get along with her, because she doesn’t want to own him like that. Familiars are goblins in animal form and when Salem arrives, he seems like a very tall and awkward and he isn’t a properly trained familiar, but he’s the best. I like him better than snarky Salem.
I realize there are about a million other plot lines I didn’t talk about, so if you want a real review you should read a real publication. Now for my predictions:
The GIF above is one of the last shots of the season, after she signs to book and stops being a mortal. Her hair is lightened by all the power she receives and now goes to her witch school full-time. Here she’s winking at Nicholas, who’s upset to see how she’s changed. He liked the different from everyone else Sabrina, not this catastrophe. Prior to this, she says goodbye to Harvey after he tells her he wants to start again. It’s the classic ‘staying away to protect you’ because now she’s so powerful and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Side note but the more I watch that GIF the more it makes me think of this:
Back to predictions. I think Sabrina is faking it. Her plan before was to figure out how she can beat the devil, and it’s actually not unlikely because apparently she’s the strongest witch of all. She wants to keep her freewill and mortal life and get all the fun of being a witch, and dangit she will figure it out.
We’ll probably start season 2 and she’ll be this changed person, but it will be revealed to Ambrose or her aunts or something her real plan and she’ll be the Sabrina we all know and love. During this time, Harvey might find someone else, driving Sabrina into Nicholas’ arms. I’m okay with this because I really believe Harvey and Sabrina are end game. I think we’re heading to Sabrina becoming the most powerful witch and changing the rules and marrying Harvey.
My plan is now to continue watching, but then again that’s my plan for every show and to date I think I’m caught up with one show. There are just too many, you know?