The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hits Netflix on October 26, just in time for your Halloween binge.
Based on the Archie comic, “as her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends.”
Creator and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa puts together a great cast set in the perfect universe. The opening of the show is ripped directly from the comics but is dark enough to prepare you for something new.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the American version of Harry Potter with Hermione Granger as the lead. 18-year-old Kiernan Shipka is perfect as Sabrina, with the right amount of moxie combined with the awkwardness of a teenager. Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto are an excellent Yin and Yang as Sabrina’s aunts Zelda and Hilda, with cousin Ambrose as the wildcard of the series.
As Sabrina is only a half witch, the bullies are coming for her on all sides. Chilling Adventures is set for today’s social environment with a powerful female lead challenging the social norms. With the show set in the 60s, it becomes effortless to have conversations about race, sexual orientation, and a woman’s place in the world. Aguirre-Sacasa deserves credit for creating a universe where these debates can evolve. But all that goodwill and female empowerment gets thrown out the window by one scene in the first episode.
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As Sabrina gets closer to her 16th birthday, she becomes conflicted as to what path to choose. This conflicted state results in nightmares and visions. It also doesn’t help that a group of teenage witches put a curse on her as well. Hilda instructs her to take a bath to wash the curse away. During her bath, Sabrina has a vision and gets out of the bathtub naked.
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The way director Lee Toland Krieger shot the scene; you see the side of Shipka’s breast. I was immediately taken aback because in the show Sabrina is 15-years-old, and Krieger, along with Aguirre-Sacasa, should not be sexualizing a 15-year-old. With #MeToo and everything else that has been going on in Hollywood and the rest of the world, how did this scene make it into the final cut? It is not needed. There was enough tension built by the other elements of the scene (the sound, the music, lighting, and situation). The scene in question is so brief that if it were cut it would not change the narrative. But you do know it’s there when you see it, as Krieger frames up the shot.
Everything Aguirre-Sacasa is trying to accomplish gets forgotten with a two-second shot, and all I can ask is why?
There are more positive aspects to the show that we could talk about, but it is more important to focus on this one scene and how it changed the dynamic of the series. Krieger and Aguirre-Sacasa strip Sabrin and Shipka of their power with a two-second clip. Their disrespect to the character and actor is what hurts the most because the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina now becomes fake girl-power.
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