To continue the current influx of reboots and sequels, Netflix has released a new version of the beloved 90’s sitcom, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Unfortunately, 2018 Sabrina Spellman does not cast the same charming spell on viewers that Melissa Joan Hart did in 1996.
The original comics, published under Archie’s Comics as “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” in 1971, has the similar eerie vibe that the reboot possesses. On the flip side, the sitcom under the altered name, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” was lighthearted and quirky. In the 90’s sitcom, Sabrina discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she has magical powers. While fitting in with her peers at high school was already difficult, having magical powers and two equally as witchy aunts, made Sabrina’s life uncomfortably funny.
In the Netflix 10 episode reboot, the set design makes it seem to take place in the 50’s, although the plot is rooted in feminist motifs. However, this Sabrina is seemingly aware that she will become a witch on her 16th birthday, which is conveniently on Halloween. On her calendar, she has “dark baptism” written under “sweet 16. ”
This allusive “dark baptism” will make Sabrina Satan’s servant. However, Sabrina refuses this baptism, and this is where her chilling adventures begin. Sabrina is somehow more troubled by leaving behind her mortal friends and previous life than becoming a slave to Beelzebub.
After the first few minutes, viewers can tell this remake is a distant relative of the cherished 90’s sitcom. We also learn more about Sabrina’s past. She is only a half-witch. Her father was a warlock and her mother a human. Sabrina is still being raised by her two aunts. However, her upbringing has shifted from the suburbs to a funeral home.
While I’m not versed in witch linguistics, the dialogue is forced and unbelievable. It is understood that Sabrina is bright for her age, however teenage girls and their teenage friends do not communicate with the language that viewers are expected to believe.
Aside from the dialogue, the show also strains to be scary. Many scenes come across as a failed attempt at horror. This might be another way to distance themselves from Hart’s quirky interpretation of Sabrina.
For those hoping to be filled with nostalgia, this reboot is not for you. Fans might have been more pleased with a reboot similar to the 2016 sequel of “Full House,” “Fuller House.” Even though the jokes are corny and the writers have not learned to mature with their audience, seeing characters you admired in the 90’s reimagined to the current age will keep viewers coming back. While “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” can be appealing to some, fans are looking for something reminiscent of the Sabrina they grew up with.