TV Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 🍎

At least this series is better than Riverdale, I’ll give it that.

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Kiernan Shipka stars as Sabrina Spellman—a half-mortal, half-witch. CREDIT: Netflix

This post for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 is spoiler-free.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018, developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) was very much hyped up months before its release because people were excited that Riverdale was getting an extended universe. It was also because of that hype and the fact that I’m an avid watcher of Riverdale, which intrigued me to check out this show.

And I’m sorry to say that this Season 1 did not live up to my expectations, but one thing’s for certain is that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina definitely tops Riverdale in terms of budget, storytelling, and it’s characters—and that’s thanks to Netflix.

With 10 episodes stretching one hour long each, I found myself finishing Season 1 five days after its release, and that is one of my slowest binge-watching experience yet. I personally found it better had the episodes been released on a weekly basis, but we all know Netflix isn’t going to do that. Each episode was a slow burner and as a viewer, I could feel the entire hour go by. But thank god, I don’t think any episodes of the series was wasted on unnecessary storytelling; even though the episodes felt slow to me, each chapter serves a purpose for the series’ future.

As awesome as the trailer portrayed Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) to be, and as much as I wanted to love the character—I didn’t end up liking her much, but I don’t hate her either. It was in “Chapter Seven: Feast of Feasts” (S01E07) when I came to the realisation that Sabrina always gets what she wants and it was really f*cking annoying. She’s also such a stubborn character that listens to no one, and it makes no sense how she can chant out spells as if she’s already a pro.

It was also in the same aforementioned episode where it became clear to me that the use of the anamorphic lenses is indeed to put an emphasis on the witches’ world. The effect of the lenses feels like a realm separating the witches’ world from the mortal world. In one scene where Miss Wardwell (Michelle Gomez) was trying to shield the other witches from the Kinkle family; they were bounded together by holding onto a cotton yarn, and that scene’s usage of the anamorphic lens felt aesthetically perfect to me.

There isn’t any element of surprise in all 10 episodes of this series and instead, it is filled with tons of predictable plot lines which you can easily guess from the very start. However, that doesn’t mean that this series sucks! I think it’s a good starting point and introduction to fans of Sabrina, I just hope that things pick up better in Season 2.

Though the plot lines aren’t all that impressive, the characters in this series are portrayed by some of the most terrific actors. My favourite one being Miss Wardwell aka Madam Satan; Gomez is just the perfect choice for this role; at her age, she’s stunning, sexy and charismatic as Miss Wardwell. My other favourites would be Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis), and Harvey’s pure heart (Ross Lynch). I don’t know why but the villains really stood out to me this season; I think it’s maybe because their characters were the most exciting to watch on-screen.

Even though Sabrina is surrounded by a group of friends—Harvey, Susie (Lachlan Watson) and Roz (Jaz Sinclair)—and at some point, they each get their own character backstory. I realised that by the end of the series… I do not care about their backstories—except for Harvey’s. Instead, I’m much more interested in whatever that is going on in the Academy of Unseen Arts because who doesn’t like witches?

As for the timeline of this series, I was really praying hard that it was set in the 60s, as almost every episode had been consistently showing materials from the 60s. But no—there are iPhones and laptops! I guess if they don’t follow this blending of old and new media like Riverdale does, then it wouldn’t be possible to have a crossover episode, as that would mean that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would be set in a different era from its sister series. PopBuzz has also tried to investigate the exact year that the series is set in, and they came to the conclusion that it’s 2014.

Overall, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina definitely stands out from Riverdale by having meaningful characters and by not sexualising its teens. I can’t believe I need to wait a year for Season 2—the cast are literally still filming it as I write this review.

Rating: 4/5

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