15 years after the end of the apprentice witch, Sabrina comes back to us… and it has devilishly changed !
For all those who grew up in the 1990s or 2000, Sabrina, it is this little witch mutine, which casts friendly spells around it. A character created in the 1960s in Archie Comics and a hardcover COMIC book, the United States, between 1971 and 1983, the saga Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Except that the teenager mischievous and adorable has become, frankly, antiquated over time. Then in 2014, Archie Comics has decided to give the flavour of the day, publishing (under its own label Archie Horror) a declination horror of Sabrina, co-created, notably, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the showrunner of the tv series Riverdale.
Logically, he proposed to Warner Bros. to make an adaptation, and so this is Sabrina there that we discovered this week on Netflix, in The New Adventures of Sabrina. The story always takes place in the small town of Greendale. The high school girl is raised by her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, since the death of his parents, so that she was only a child. Arrival on the day of her 16th birthday, Sabrina has to make his baptism black, that is to say, to sign the book of the Beast, to give up his life to death and become a full witch. The way of darkness that the young ingenue hesitate frankly to borrow, because the Devil, Evil and all that, but also (and mostly) because she would have to abandon Harvey Kinkle, her boyfriend…
Both say right away, this version Netflix of Sabrina is not a reboot of The Teenage witch played by Melissa Joan Hart. Certainly, one finds familiar names, two aunts wacky, a black cat, and a little bit of magic. But apart from that, nothing to see. Here, everything is more dark, more polished, more adult and more complex too. The idea of the devil and the theme of satanism are ubiquitous, while the otherworldliness naive of the first series gives way to dark dilemmas spirtuels.
These New Adventures lead us into a vast mythology, deep and cloudy. An order mephistophelean, with his “Dark Lord”, the supreme and his servants, the demonic, that one learns to discover with malice. Sabrina and her aunts are not witches loved ones, how Samantha Stevens. They are followers of the Evil one, swearing by the flames of Hell ! Obviously, it’s a little unsettling, and it raises a few moral questions, on the Good, the Bad and all that.
But the real strength of this version, it is to be able to juggle between this story very serious, dark, with his menacing tone assumed, and a style of comics fun and casual. A little picture of his new generic sum (see above), this Sabrina 2018 is it all at once. And if it succeeds brilliantly balanced, this is no doubt thanks to the performance of Kiernan Shipka. The ex-little Sally from Mad Men has grown. Trimbalant almost candidly its pretty little face in the darkness of Geendale, she embodies this young witch, half-human, half-luciferian, strong and fragile at the same time.
A pure heroine of BD, we take pleasure to see evolve in this world “So Halloween !”, designed to the millimeter (the funeral family Home, to the terrifying local forest, passing by the disaster hutch). Sabrina is also talking about his magic on themes teen-social-post-modern, such as the bullying or the struggle for feminism.
Only downside : its relationship ass-to-ass with Harvey Kinkle struggling to convince. It’s hard to see any alchemy in this bluish cutesy and sweet, to which it adheres never totally. And it is a bit of a shame, since it is the engine of all the conflicts of the first season. In spite of everything, and it is undeniable, this new Sabrina is damn sight more enchanting than the sitcom !
The New Adventures of Sabrina – season 1 into ten episodes on Netflix on Friday 26 October 2018.