Penny Dreadful for my thoughts on Netflix’s Sabrina

I grew up watching “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” which is why, when “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (CAOS) came out on Netflix, I was immediately glued to my screen. However, CAOS departs from the Sabrina we’ve all grown to love. “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” was lighter-hearted, comedic and a bit more feel-good. The two series share character names and a somewhat similar general concept, but the similarities end there. CAOS is twisty, intense and at times a little frightening— definitely not for the faint of heart or easily spooked. If you’re looking for the 90’s Sabrina, you’ll be disappointed— but if you’re willing to open your mind to this new portrayal, you’ll be spellbound.

When CAOS Part 1 came out last October, I fell in love. The show reminded me of a cross between the first season of “Riverdale” (both shows were developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) and the CW’s new “Charmed.” It’s dark and a bit grungy, with fun witchy elements. And when I say “witchy,” I mean witchy. CAOS delves into a deeper craft, not the snap-of-the-fingers, magic wand kind of trickery, I’m talking latin spells and demon talk, which I was not anticipating. Around Halloween, it was the perfect amount of spooky.

WARNING: the review beyond this point will include mild and vague spoilers for CAOS Part 2.

Watching CAOS in April felt a little strange, not going to lie. In October, when Part 1 came out, everyone was already in enough of a witchy vibe for Halloween— in April, not as much. However, the show did a great job explaining all of the events and plotlines without feeling forced, so as someone who’s not really down with the background of it all, this was appreciated. However, I will admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the “prophecy.”

I’m beginning to feel like almost every television show that’s not realistic fiction or documentary feels the need to throw in some sort of prophecy to be fulfilled. I get it— it’s an easy way for new plots to happen. But in CAOS, I felt it was a bit rushed. By the time the prophecy was revealed, I felt like I blinked and it was solved. They essentially fixed the most enormous problem in the world… in a day or two. I found myself awaiting a cliffhanger by the second to last episode, and was shocked to see everything resolved in the finale.

However, I won’t say that saddened my spirit entirely. I still love the show. One thing I’ve always appreciated about CAOS is that the characters seem very real (aside from them being witches). You can go from hating a character (The Weird Sisters) to liking them, and vice versa (Harvey and Roz— I’m still not over how they turned on Sabrina so quickly, even if they did realize their mistake). Additionally, my opinion of a character can change within an episode. I was disappointed by Ambrose’s actions when it came to his loyalties to the Church over Sabrina, as well as Zelda’s willingness to go along with horrific ideals, despite remaining fiercely protective of her family. The depth of the characters makes me care for them and what to see how they end up even more.

Will I come back should Netflix decide to make a Part 3? Of course. I want to see what messes Sabrina ends up in, whether or not Father Blackwood gets taken down for his sexist values, how Harvey, Roz and Theo do in high school and where Nick is. But was it better than Part 1? I don’t think so. This season felt very much like a transition season. It just felt like it was setting up the plot for more epsiodes, rather than actually telling the story in and of itself, but not necessarily in a bad way. That being said, I am eagerly awaiting to see how everything turns out. Hopefully no one has to sell their soul and sign over their name for a Part 3 soon.

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