Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Chapter 1: October Country” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Comparing the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to the 90s version is like comparing The Dark Knight to Adam West’s Batman – in the best way possible.


Comparing the Chilling Adventures of Sabrinair?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=0339b12a6ea324e43aace5f7f04cebfa& cb=1540547032592 to the 90s version is like comparing The Dark Knightir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=f2f7d104845a4afd3c448a06dcaceec9& cb=1540547024293 to Adam West’s Batman – in the best way possible.


Network
Netflix
Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Director(s) Lee Toland Krieger
Writer(s) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Air Date 10/26/2018
Genre(s) Drama, Supernatural
Good If You Like Dark Versions of Shows Which Were Light and Fluffy When You Were Growing Up.

Teen Angst.

The Idea Of Watching A Show With A #WokeWitch.

Your Witches To Praise Satan, Act Badly And Have Dry Sarcasm.

Noted This Recap
Sabrina Kiernan Shipka
Harvey Ross Lynch
Zelda Miranda Otto
Hilda Lucy Davis
Ms. Wardwell Michelle Gomez
Prudence Tati Gabrielle
Dorcas Abigail Cowen
Agatha Adeline Rudolph
Roz Jaz Sinclair
Susie Lachlan Watson
Ambrose Chance Perdomo

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The Introduction

We are within a week of Sabrina’s 16th birthday and it is special for a multitude of reasons. The big one being that it’ll be the day she officially joins the coven her father and aunts are in by doing a blood oath. Problem is, Sabrina, by her mother, is half human and the rules of the covenant is that witches much forsake significant connections to humans once they join a coven. Then, to make matters worse, not only would Sabrina be unprotected if she didn’t join the coven but she’d eventually lose her powers. So, to say giving up her powers or her friends, alongside boyfriend Harvey, is a tough decision, is an understatement.

Yet, it is also something quite perplexing. After all, this is a modern Sabrina. Meaning, Sabrina is now a feminist and questions why must she be a virgin, how come she can’t have human connections, and of course this bothers her traditionalist aunt Zelda to no end. As for Hilda? Well, she honestly just wants to keep the peace. She knows how Zelda can get.

But, it isn’t just Zelda who actively desires Sabrina to go through with her baptism. A being who takes over the body of Ms. Wardwell also is doing everything in her power so that Sabrina chooses the path of the night. Though, don’t think everyone is just waiting and overjoyed by Sabrina choosing to be a witch. We meet three girls, albeit briefly, named Prudence, Dorcas, and Agatha who’d rather Sabrina die like her parents, tragically, than join their school. Thus leaving Sabrina with a major decision to make and feeling quite torn. For clearly everyone is biased, mostly looking out for their own self-interest, except maybe Ambrose, Sabrina’s play cousin. So what is a witch to do?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What exactly did Ambrose do to end up on a 75+ year house arrest sentence? Much less, why were the Spellman sisters chosen to watch over him?
  2. Considering how young Ambrose looks, how old can witches get to be in this world?

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

You’re only supposed to start missing things after you say goodbye to them, right?
— Sabrina

Highlights

Harvey and Sabrina Are Already Dating

Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) smiling at Harvey, while in his truck.
Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka)

Let me just say, I’m so happy we don’t have to watch Sabrina pine over Harvey, doing spells wondering if he likes her or not, and we got straight to them dating.

This Isn’t You Childhood Sabrina

While a religious watcher of the Melissa Joan-Hart version, I must say I love this more dark and brooding version of Sabrina. Similar to the aforementioned Dark Knight it fits the times. We see people killed, beasts chase Sabrina, witches talking about dark lords and hailing Satan. Sometimes in a comical way, but deep down you know they are serious. Thus giving us this vibe that, as much as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is yet another teen drama, we shouldn’t look at it the same way we do Vampire Diariesir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=12c4d2989eb0c540dddb45e3637df7c6& cb=1540547294048 or something like that.

For while, yes, Sabrina has a bit of angst and drama in her life, this isn’t a soap opera styled show. It’s one rooted in realism yet flourishes under the moon of the supernatural. Which is used to both create cute, almost Matildair?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=0cac3927399fb3cae458a80a814d23bf& cb=1540547284076 type moments, but also for curses, memory wipes, and traumatizing people. Creating a perfect balance between acknowledging the more fearsome side of witches lore while still keeping things spritely and approachable.

On The Fence

The Social Justice Warrior Aspect

Roz (Jaz Sinclair) announcing the name of the club made to protect girls like Susie.
Roz (Jaz Sinclair): The Woman’s Inter-sectional Cultural and Creative Association: Wicca

Depending on your political views, and how you feel about social justice, you may think this show is a little heavy-handed with its clearly liberal messages. Not to politicize the show, but it kind of does that to itself. For with Sabrina’s friend Roz talking about a Daughters of the Black Panthers club, then Sabrina speaking about creating a group to protect her friend Susie, who might identify as gender non-conforming, might even be trans, it’s clear that human rights are at the core of this show. But, on the flip side, while the human civil rights angle is heavy-handed, Sabrina questioning and challenging the patriarchal culture of the witches seems rather intriguing.

Especially taking note of how Zelda is very much traditional and conservative about the ways and rules of the coven. Perhaps leading to maybe an exchange of ideas. Some which could help Sabrina understand and value some traditions just as Zelda finds herself questioning why some must exist. Bringing about actual conversations that allow both sides to express themselves vs. your usual, you’re either a bigot or on the right side of history dichotomy.

Salem Doesn’t Talk

Well, at least Salem doesn’t talk while in human form. As a goblin, since Salem acts as Sabrina’s familiar in the show, he can talk. It is just when he becomes a cat? It seems he only meows even when it is just him and Sabrina together.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) smirking.
Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka)

While there are a handful of kinks to work out, mostly figuring a way to make this show “woke” without being like an annoying alarm clock, there isn’t a lot to not like here. The characters and writing balance witch lore with a sense this show is rooted in the real world, and also present enough drama for you to be interested without going overboard. Also, while not a sitcom or comedy, like the 90s-00s version of Sabrina, you still get a taste of comedy which may not make you laugh, but definitely does tickle you a bit.

Hence the positive label, as a first impression. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina presents the idea that this 40+-year-old franchise is simply evolving with the times vs. presenting us with a dark reboot. Also, while it’s social justice pursuit in the human world is a bit much, the questioning of patriarchal traditions in the witch’s world brings about many interesting potential takes. Especially in terms of what that culture could be facing as their covens gain younger members who, like Sabrina, question the old ways and challenge superiors who have been around, possibly, for centuries.


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