Sabrina Spellman is about to bring her witchy ways to our television screens once again, but viewers looking for a repeat of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the days of TGIF past are going to find themselves visiting a very different story. Netflix’s upcoming The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is based on the comic book of the same name by the Archie Horror imprint with Kiernan Shipka stepping in as Sabrina Spellman (previously played by ’90s favorite Melissa Joan Hart). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (known for his work in creating the insanely addictive CW show Riverdale) is not just the creator of the newest Sabrina TV series, he’s also the writer of the comic series the show is based on. With the writer also being the show creator, we can expect that there will likely be more than light inspiration taken from the eight issues that currently make up The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic series. Let’s take a look at the characters and plotlines featured in the comics to see what we might expect out of the TV series.
Warning: the remainder of the article contains spoilers for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic.
The horror: If the comic tells us one thing, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will not be the whimsical family-friendly show of the ’90s. Aunts Hilda and Zelda frequently consume dead bodies (it saves money on the grocery bills). Black magic and demon summoning take center stage as compared to the silly hijinks Melissa Joan Hart got up to when the role was hers. The antagonist, Madam Satan, is not just homicidal, but removes the face of a pretty teenager to use as her own. Given that the official trailer features Aunt Zelda telling nephew Ambrose that she murdered Aunt Hilda and buried her in the yard, it’s safe to bet that the show is going to bring in some of the darker and grosser elements of the comic series.
Sabrina Spellman: Our titular heroine is being raised by her aunts, unaware that her mortal mother is not dead, but committed since her usefulness in providing a “half-breed” witch is over. She is also unaware that Edward Spellman, having already flouted the rules to marry and have a child with a mortal, has been held in a type of magical purgatory ever since his sisters discovered he’d also been faking his ability to summon Satan. It’s quite possible that the dark fates of her parents could come into play. It’s also worth noting that in the comic, Sabrina seems less concerned about choosing to join “the path of night” and more focused on insisting that if her father could be with a mortal, then she should be able to keep boyfriend Harvey Kinkle. The Sabrina of the trailer for the show seems to be caught up in making the choice between magic or no magic, but choosing magic will come at the price of signing herself away. This added conflict is likely to be a plotline improvement over the comics.
Salem: If we’re being truly honest with ourselves, Salem the cat was the true breakout favorite of the ’90s series. In the comics, he’s been cursed to a feline body because several centuries ago he impregnated a witch and refused to marry her. Presented to Sabrina as a birthday gift in her childhood, his job is now to try to keep Sabrina out of too much trouble. A Netflix clip showing his first meeting suggests a different take on his origin story. Hopefully, we still get a touch of that trademark Salem sarcasm, however, there are some concerns on how much Salem can be featured after Kiernan Shipka revealed in an interview that she is allergic to Salem.
Harvey Kinkle: Sabrina’s dreamy boyfriend is in serious trouble if the comics are anything to go by. Madam Satan tricks Harvey into interrupting the dark baptism on Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday, and he ends up killed for this indiscretion. To make matters worse, Madam Satan gets Sabrina to help her “resurrect” Harvey, which turns out to actually be bringing back Edward Spellman—in Harvey’s body. If this storyline carries through to the TV series, Edward in Harvey’s resurrected body could easily end up as the season finale cliffhanger.
Madam Satan: The true antagonist of the comic series is Madam Satan. Edward Spellman’s old lover dramatically killed herself when she learned that she was being thrown aside for a mortal. Upon being restored back to life, Madam Satan conspires to bring Edward out of his magical purgatory as well as to bring harm to Sabrina and her mother. The official trailer certainly shows us that she doesn’t have Sabrina’s best interests at heart, but it remains to be seen if Sabrina’s parents will be part of her plotline.
Betty and Veronica: One of the parts of the comic that is likely not going to appear in the TV series is the appearance of Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. The two Riverdale citizens appear as witches responsible for bringing Madam Satan back, as well as assisting in parts of her plan to get Edward brought back into Harvey’s dead body. Any magical back up is likely to be provided by the television version of the Weird Sisters, a trio of teenage witches who only appeared in the comics to encourage Edward Spellman to have a child with a mortal. In the show trailer, one of the trio threateningly says “you’re dead” to Sabrina with a disgusted “half-breed” tacked on. The Weird Sisters clearly aren’t as favorable towards a half-witch as their comic book counterparts were.
Are you a fan of the comics? Are you looking forward to the series? Let us know in the comments. If you want to read The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for yourself, it’s currently available to read for free to Amazon Prime members.