The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the modern and gritty take on this classic character. It follows Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) as she attempts to deal with being half mortal and half witch. It's an interesting dynamic and one that drives the plot for the first season. The episodes are structured with an overall narrative, but with smaller key stories that take place over a couple episodes at a time. You get to see her regular interactions as a mortal and then the transition to becoming a witch. There are of course some problems that come into play and that element of leaning over to either side is the basis of most conflict.
It's quite tame and almost campy during the first half of this season, but it gets damn dark in the latter portion. I was truly impressed by how much the tone shifted as you could see her embracing this sense of darkness. It's an important thing to mention as it's certainly worth keeping with it. A lot of this season is basically an origin story as we get to learn about the characters and the world they live in. You get to see an in-depth look at the mortals and then of course, Sabrina's coven. It's a nice mix as you see one side of her life being darker than the other with some bleed over happening throughout.
Kiernan Shipka absolutely nails the role of Sabrina being sweet and innocent, but also fully capable of unleashing this hidden darkness. It was fantastic to see and there's just a great balance. You see that carried with the close Spellman family as well with great casting there. They definitely have some fun with laughs, but it gets serious with some dramatic elements that could be over the top. It's certainly working within that Riverdale style for potential cross-overs.
The sets are reflective of that being high quality and looking just creepy. There are many areas they visit and the effects are fantastic here. It all looks realistic, and all of the magical elements are kept grounded. I particularly enjoyed Salem, Sabrina's cat as those moments were fun yet minimal which worked well. The acting was excellent throughout, I did however find her human friends rather weak. I couldn't have cared less for her boyfriend's side story, it did matter yet was pale in comparison to what Sabrina was up to. The darker aspects of this were the best and they went all out when it mattered.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was an excellent origin story for this character being the right balance of light against darkness and then going all in on the latter. The performance by Shipka as Sabrina was really incredible and helped bring the character to life perfectly. There was just that right tone of being a regular high school student and then her embracing the darkness of being a witch. This series gets incredibly dark towards the latter half and while the shift was sudden, it makes sense with the various narrative elements that come into play.
This was a very enjoyable watch with a good core Spellman cast. The surrounding witches were exciting to watch as well and it was the mortal humans that were boring. I believe it's because they need to be introduced and given some importance, I'm assuming they'll be better in future seasons. There's a high quality to this show, it looks great and it was a treat to view. I'm very curious as to where they'll take this next considering how everything wrapped up.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Netflix