Sabrina Spellman must reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit. (See Wikipedia)
The Bad News:
One of the main plot points in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is how she is split down the middle. One foot in the mortal world, and another in the witch world. So expect her to be going back and forth between activities of a usual high schooler (dealing with school bullies and authority figures, activism, friends, boyfriend etc.), and the activities of a witch (spells, rituals, summons etc.). And more often than not I am itching for the human stuff to be over. I initially felt the whole thing to be a bit stilted, the interactions between Sabrina’s group of friends. It got a bit better as the show progressed, but I don’t know. I am still not feeling the gang that much. I couldn’t careless about whether they live or die to be honest, and that is not a good thing.
Now Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman, fits the bill lookswise. And she is quite good at showing fierceness. But I think she is less effective in the scenes that require vulnerability.
Now this next complaint is perhaps a little out of my league. I admit I have zero knowledge on both Satanism or Wicca, but I know someone who knows a bit, and I have been told that these two are different from each other. So I am not sure what repercussions there would be because what I am getting is that the show is implying that these two are similar, if not one and the same.
The plot, while it provides enough enjoyable shenanigans, moves at a trudge and I wish they would pick up the pace in the second season. It would do well with less exposition too. And worse, it is quite exasperating when the characters exposit the obvious.
And really I don’t get the stakes. I mean I don’t get all the hubbub about signing your name in the book of the beast, nor do I find enticing, the witch academy. I mean it looks about as drab as a regular school. And this makes Sabrina’s choice a little less grave and a little less exciting.
The Good News:
I love how they made Sabrina a feminist and an activist. I mean I didn’t expect that they will make this characteristic so prominent and I love it. She could easily have been your run-of-the-mill plucky heroine, but they were smart enough to maker her a girl that reflects the modern times because discrimination is still well and truly alive up to this day.
I also quite like the dark atmosphere and the set design, with all the gore and the old-timey horror feel. The world they have created looks properly spooky and unsettling. The tone is a little bit strange at first, it’s like dark but then it tries to be a bit comedic. But it didn’t bother me that much, at the end of the day.
And while I haven’t quite warmed up to Sabrina’s friends including Harvey, I am a fan of the Spellman family. The whole Cain and Abel dynamic of Zelda and Hilda, makes for great drama. And then there’s Ambrose, who lounges with absolute perfection, and who excellent in providing a little bit of levity to the grim moments with his charming personality and wit.
The antagonists can viewed as quite over-the-top but I think it fits the vibe of the show. So yeah, I am all for the Weird Sisters (Prudence, Agatha and Dorcas), aka the Queen Bees of the witch academy, with their black lipstick and matching lace collared dresses and Regina Georginess. And Ms. Wardwell, aka Madame Satan, who seems to be going for sinister, sexy witch with great satisfaction.
Also I am all for the very diverse cast!
Watch this if:
- You like Riverdale, The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer all rolled into one
- You like your witches, woke.
- You love a good coven. (who doesn’t?)