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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a reboot that’s actually good

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - netflix - poster

The series is now on Netflix, just in time for a Halloween binge…

We’ve lost track of how many times we were disappointed or disenchanted by remakes of some of our most beloved pop culture moments. Don’t talk to us about Point Break, The Mummy or The Karate Kid. and we’re already seriously worried about the newly-announced reboot of Clueless.

But we have some good news for fans of the 1996 Melissa Joan Hart kids show Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Netflix’s reboot The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, starring Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka (yes, Sally Draper all grown up!) is nothing like that television show. And trust us, that’s a good thing.

Film critics and fans alike have declared the Netflix show a resounding success and that’s pretty rare: A reboot that actually works. Because the ten-episode series diverts almost entirely from the original TV show, drawing instead from the original comic series from Archie Horror, Netflix’s iteration is darker, grittier, sexier and something completely new.

The humour is twisted, the plot is seriously spooky, and Sabrina’s characterisation is bold, bright and brilliantly badass as she approaches her 16th birthday and the agonising choice over whether to renounce her human side and live in the real world with her sweet lunk of a boyfriend Harvey or embrace the darkness and become a full-blooded witch. 

With its exploration of sexuality and female power, many are calling The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the closest thing to an heir to Buffy the Vampire Slayer we’ve ever had on television.

And it’s not just the fans who are raving, critics are applauding the series, too. It currently has a four-star rating on MetaCritic, with many celebrating the show’s lush production design, dark themes and stellar acting turns from stars Shipka, Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis, who plays Sabrina’s aunts Zelda and Hilda respectively.

“It’s a delight and an obsession, and the scariest thing about it is just how good it is,” noted Collider.

“This is a show that’s willing to both revel in the witch fantasy and to think about its limitations in a way I’ve never quite seen a TV show do before, to examine about what kind of women are allowed to be powerful, and what kinds of boundaries are put upon them in consequence,” argued Vox.

While IndieWire added that “to say it’s the best Sabrina yet is a bit reductive, but it’s certainly a new series worth screaming about.” 

Rolling Stone gave it four stars, praising Shipka’s performance in particular as well as noting that “the superb Chilling Adventures is the first version that’s an outright horror story.”

Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The only thing left to decide is whether or not you’ll be able to savour each episode over the next few weeks or if you’ll binge the lot of them this weekend.

Just make sure to leave the lights on if you do, this show is seriously spooky. 

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is streaming on Netflix today. 

Images: Netflix

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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