Review: “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

Kerrigan Clark, Assistant Web Editor

It’s a cult or whateva.

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is a gruesome tale of a witch named Sabrina Spellman (played by Kiernan Shipka) and her encounter with the dark lord.  The Netflix series shows how Sabrina must deal with a dual-nature as a half-mortal, half-witch while fighting against all of the forces that are trying to turn her towards the Church of Night and the dark lord.  

The show is a play on modern day religion.  Sabrina is being pushed into her dark baptism where she will join the Church of Night which is the coven that all witches are a part of and will make her a full witch.  But the gag is, she likes her mortal life and would rather not give it up. After running from her dark baptism, she starts her stroll down the dark path that her so called protector, Ms. Wardwell (played by Michelle Gomez), is guiding her down. She begins making very bad, life-altering decisions that place her right on the path that the dark lord wants her on.

Despite the darkness of the show, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” most certainly sheds light on a very important topic in today’s society: the looming cloud of patriarchy. Although you may think her most formidable enemy would be “Satan,” men are the real enemies here. Sabrina and her feminist friend Roz Walker (played by Jaz Sinclair) and sprightly friend Susie Putnam (played by Lachlan Watson) who is exploring gender identity, begin fighting the patriarchy after Susie is bullied. They start a club called WICA whose the goal is to protect the girls of the school. Building this club, however, sets Sabrina on her long trail of dark deeds leading right to Hell. But Sabrina enjoys the freedom that she has while leaving her dual life. Being able to manipulate the witch realm and the mortal realm, but not without its consequences though, suites her. From truth-telling cakes to resurrection spells, she’s fighting against one of the major male figures in her life, Father Blackwood (played by Richard Coyle). She’s showing him and everyone else that women can make their own decisions with or without the help of men or a particular man, the dark lord.

One of the most important characters in the series other than Sabrina, is Prudence Night (played by Tati Gabrielle). She is a Afro-Asian orphaned witch with a bad *insert word here* attitude. She is portrayed as Sabrina’s first antagonist in the series but after some rough hazing and combined spell-casting, they become frenemies. She is portrayed as the mean girl who everyone wants to be and everyone wants to sleep with. But many people in the African-American community find it repulsing the way she takes part in some of the hangings in the show. From first glance, Prudence is just playing her part as a witch, even being hanged in one scene, but if you think about it, the writers should have been more careful when planning this scene. Showing a woman of African descent being hanged on television does not give a pretty message and without context of the show, anyone could have clearly taken it the wrong way. In lieu of the recent lynching of Danye Jones in Ferguson, Missouri, this is not what the world needs to see on television right now. I wasn’t extremely upset about this scene in the show and to be frank, I didn’t really think about it until doing more research, but this could cause tension in the film industry and cause a lot of writers and directors to caution what they write into their scripts. But despite the lynching, Gabrielle played her part as Prudence very well. She is a gorgeous, self-serving, powerful woman that controls her own life, abilities, and sexual identity and I wish I had been able to have that kind of role model as I have grown up. She takes charge of everything in her life and even during her own personal trauma in the show, comes out on top and shows the world that she will not be disrespected.

All in all the show was a refreshing look at the 90’s television show that many people know and love. With more dark scenes, it now appeals to the new age as well. With controversial topics like religion and feminism, it gives the show the kick that it needed to distinguish itself from all of the other shows.