TL;DR Here are 4 reasons why "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" is even better than "Sabrina the Teenage Witch."
"Sabrina" is peak 90s. Watching it now can evoke some some serious nostalgia.
The best parts of the sitcom were its characters and hilarious plotlines. There was Salem, the warlock trapped in the body of a black cat bent on world domination; Aunt Hilda, the bumbling and mischievous guardian; and Aunt Zelda, Sabrina's more studious role-model.
Memories of episodes continue to move me to giggles at unexpected moments. Among my favourites points are the French-speaking dinosaurs, "modern" witches that fly on vacuum cleaners, and ejecting magic like urine from the tip of one's finger.
The show was a comedy at its core, but its more touching moments gave it a cult following.
That's why the announcement that Netflix was not only rebooting, but completely reimagining the series was met with widespread criticism.
The new series, titled "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" promised an all-star cast, with Kiernan Shipka (of Mad Men fame) in the starring role, but fans of the old series remained skeptical.
Today, after months of hype, the new series finally became available.
You heard it first here: it's even better than the original series.
The new show maintains the original cast of characters and their most fundamental traits. But there's a twist.
Hilda and Zelda are now devout servants of the Dark Lord, and Sabrina, half witch and half human, is at a critical moment in her life. As she approaches her 16th birthday, she must choose to either commit herself to Satan or abandon her witchy calling and embrace her mortal connections, including her boyfriend, Harvey, and close circle of friends.
But despite this dark turn, the show still has delightful moments of levity. Hilda is still a goof and Zelda is still hilariously oblivious. The sisters, who now run and live in a mortuary, have their own misadventures.
Best lines from the first episode:
Hilda: A young man has just been stabbed! His mother and father are coming to see us. Poor, poor dears. Zelda: Oh. Praise Satan!
The show also adopts a completely new aesthetic. It purports to take place in 2018, but its fashion is totally late 1960s. While its grey filter gives it a cold, spooky vibe, its sharp edges and saturated colours give it a heightened, graphic-novel-like feeling.
These features give the show a certain timelessness that leaves me wanting to know more about its world.
"Chilling Adventures" also has a definite feminist charge. That's not to say that the original series wasn't feminist, quite the opposite actually. A show about a young woman maturing into adulthood with the help of her two female guardians was pretty boundary-pushing. Witches are, of course, feminist in their very nature.
But now Sabrina finds herself in situations that reflect the current political climate. In the first episode, she takes on her misogynist high school principle, who advises that her friend simply "change schools" after the football team sexually harasses her.
The biggest flaw in "Chilling Adventures" is the now-silent Salem. I will miss his maniacal laugh and devious plots from the 90s series.
The original and reimagined shows are completely different entities. Audiences should appreciate each for what they are.
But comparisons between the "Sabrinas" are inevitable. And there's something delicious about "Chilling Adventures" that makes makes it just a little bit better.
Watch the new series on Netflix here and the trailer below.