All the details on ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
Although it’s not quite as frightening as the comic book on which it’s based, the series is brimming with witches and warlocks, spells and hauntings.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Picture: Netflix
It’s the season of the witch on Netflix. One of pop culture’s favourite witches, Sabrina Spellman, is back in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, starring Kiernan Shipka.
The first season will launch globally on Netflix today. The series, featuring the teenage witch from the Archie comics, was created and written by Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is also the Archie Comics chief creative officer.
It was developed for Netflix by Warner Brothers Television and Berlanti Productions.
Kiernan Shipka, 18, who dazzled critics as Sally Draper in Mad Men, stars as the magical 16-year-old whose mixed heritage – half witch, half mortal – often leaves her feeling conflicted. The show takes viewers along on Sabrina’s journey of discovery, of what she stands for and where she belongs.
Shipka is joined by the original characters from the comic book, who are brought to life by an international cast of actors.
Ross Lynch, plays Sabrina’s human boyfriend Harvey, who comes from a family of witch-hunters.
Her aunts are played by Britain’s Lucy Davis as Hilda Spellman and Australia’s Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman. English/American actor Chance Perdomo plays her bad-boy cousin, Ambrose Spellman, a warlock. Jaz Sinclair is her best friend, Rosalind.
Scotland’s Michelle Gomez is Sabrina’s favourite teacher, Mary Wardwell, who is possessed by the Devil’s handmaiden, Madam Satan. Gavin Leatherwood plays Nicholas Scratch, the young warlock who catches Sabrina’s eye. Salem the cat is portrayed by five felines.
New characters created for the TV series are Richard Coyle as Father Blackwood, Lachlan Watson as Susie Putnam, Bronson Pinchot as George Hawthorne and the Weird Sisters – Tati Gabrielle as Prudence, Adeline Rudolph as Agatha and Abigail Cowen as Dorcas.
Witches have fascinated people all around the world for centuries, inspiring plays, books, films and hit television shows, but few fictional witches have captured imaginations for more than 50 years.
Sabrina made her first appearance in the Archie comic books in 1962. Since then, she has charmed TV viewers again and again in the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which aired from 1996 to 2003, and two animated TV series.
She has also made appearances in the comic books Afterlife with Archie and Archie Versus Predator.
But Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is something new. It’s based on the comic book of the same name that premiered in 2014 and it’s a darker tale, rooted in horror. It’s a coming-of-age story brimming with witches and warlocks, spells and hauntings.
As the series opens, The Church of the Night has been waiting for years to claim Sabrina as one of their own. On the eve of her 16th birthday, they are expecting her to sign the Book of the Beast committing her to the Dark Lord. But Sabrina has other ideas.
She is determined to forge her own path while protecting herself, family, friends and the people of Greendale from evil forces.
“Sabrina Spellman is a bad-ass,” says Kiernan Shipka, who is excited to be creating a darker version of the character. “Some moments she’s definitely more of a witch; and others she’s definitely more of a mortal. We see her go back and forth between the two.”
Shipka says she enjoyed the 1990s sitcom and the new show has some fun throwbacks to that version of the story. But in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the stories are more, well, chilling.
“There are a lot of similar vibes to the first TV show,” she says, but adds that the occult details give the stories more depth. “You are getting this extra element of the Dark Lord and witchcraft on a really intense level.”
Although it’s not quite as frightening as the comic book on which it’s based, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is likely to find favour with audiences who enjoy dramas laced with horror and the supernatural.
Not that there aren’t some light touches in the writing, says Miranda Otto, who plays Sabrina’s aunt, Zelda. “At times there’s something quite domestic about their Satan worship, which I think is hugely funny,” Otto says. “They’re living their normal lives, but they just happen to be Satan worshippers.”
The Australian actress is no stranger to tales of myth and magic. Although she’s a familiar face on TV, she’s best known for her role as Eowyn, the shield maiden in parts two and three of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.