‘Chilling Adventures’ on Netflix

Streaming site premieres new series based on 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' comics

By on October 30, 2018

For this year’s round of Halloween tricks and treats, Netflix cast a spell on viewers with top trending releases. The latest release is the new series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (CAOS) on Friday, Oct. 26.

Photo Courtesy of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina/ Netflix
This version of the comic is a reprise of the old Sabrina Spellman series, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” which premiered in 1996. However, this version of the stories is focused on the original Archie comic books and magnificently contrasts the old show.

The show focuses on our beloved teenage witch, Sabrina Spellman. Spellman was born as a half mortal/half-witch and has been immersed in her mortal life up until her sixteenth birthday – which falls on Halloween. As her birthday approaches, Spellman and her aunts, Zelda and Hilda, are preparing for the biggest decision she will have to make in her life. On every witch’s sixteenth birthday they must attend their very own “dark baptism” in order to sell their souls to the leader – Satan, the devil himself. In doing so, they relinquish their own freedom in exchange for more power and must do the devil’s bidding.

Since she was raised with a mortal life, Spellman is torn between giving up her friends Susie and Roz, and she’s especially worried about losing her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle. But the pressure to please her family and her coven, The Church of the Night, is tearing Spellman in two different directions.

The show takes place in Greendale, the first connection to other Archie comics world, Riverdale. The town is filled with images of nostalgia – old cars, diners, vintage movie theaters and even the wardrobe fits the 60’s. However, no one is really sure what time period the show is set in since Kinkle uses an iPhone, which takes away the 60’s theme.

The casting for the show was quite perfect. Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina Spellman) plays her character with courage and heart, showing the viewers how strong female empowerment can be.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Shipka said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “It’s been a crazy character to play – so amazing, so fun. And just to play someone that really does have an arc and growth is just amazing.”

In fact, female empowerment is a main theme in the series and is touched upon in every episode. In the first episode, Spellman, Susie and Roz create a women’s club (W.I.C.C.A.) at their high school, Baxter High. This club is utilized throughout the show to prevent harassment and bullying, sexual offenses and gender equality.

Spellman’s main conflict revolves around whether she wants to give up her liberation for Satan, a man. This meaningful storyline was well-appreciated, but seemed a bit forced at times. For example, a group of football jock-jerks punch Susie in the face which seemed very unrealistic and over-dramatized.

Another aspect of the show that didn’t quite work was the film style. To add to the haunting and sinister vibe of the show, the lens becomes distorted and fuzzy around the outer frame of the shot, adding a disorienting element to the scene. When done sparsely, it is a really cool detail that enhances what is happening in the moment, but in some moments, the camera became fuzzy throughout the whole image, making everything blurry. This became distracting and since the camera barely had a focus, it was hard to realize where the eye should be looking.

Unexpectedly, the show was quite mature in its content. The show included small amounts of nudity and a LOT of blood – there was even an episode fixated on cannibalism. When the show first began, it seemed to be very similar to the PG content that “Riverdale” exhibits, much the show tended to make much darker turns.

Each episode is at least one hour long, and covers a lot of plot lines so attention is highly necessary. The episodes are rich in hints and different lives of the characters so it isn’t hard to get distracted, but it is easy to want to zone off to since it can be a little overwhelming.

Due to the show’s success, Netflix will be renewing the series for a second season with no released premiere date.

“It gets even crazier,” Shipka said. “It gets even crazier, and darker.”

 

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About Charlotte Gardner

Arts and Life Editor