Chilling Adventures of Sabrina NYCC: Spoiler free pilot review


Did the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina pilot exceed expectations?

Heading into the Netflix and Chills panel at New York Comic Con, the energy is palpable. Fans are eagerly waiting to see the casts of Haunting of Hill HouseThe Dark Crystal: Age of ResistanceUmbrella Academy, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. While all of the series were all hits with the crowd, many audience members eagerly awaited a full episode screening for any of the shows. Luckily, the highly anticipated Archie Comics adaptation was the one to air the pilot for everyone in attendance.

So how did this new version of Sabrina measure up? For one thing, it’s completely different from the original series from the 1990’s. So anyone still expecting to see a rendition close to the Melissa Joan Hart led show will be disappointed. That being said, there’s plenty of humor within the actual pilot. Like Riverdale, there are plenty of moments of levity to balance with the much darker tone.

Speaking of the popular CW show, this Netflix series has a very similar feel to their pilot. Both have come from the mind of Roberto Aguirre Sacasa and it’s easy to see his influence. The two have a very similar vintage look, soundtrack, and even some of the shots could seamlessly work on either show.

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Unlike Riverdale, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina feels incredibly long. Perhaps it was because the panel ran thirty minutes late, but it got a bit tiresome by the end. Especially because it doesn’t feel like a lot of action happens at all within the entire first episode. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the show does take the time to introduce Sabrina and her world to the viewer. This pilot has a lot of exposition to work through, and it’s understandable why the series wants to focus on the characters before the plot.

For the most part, we get the general idea for the main storyline: Sabrina is unsure about which world she wants to live in. Kiernan Shipka perfectly embodies the role of the titular witch. She’s come a long way since Mad Men, and we’re betting there will be plenty of people dressed up as her for New York Comic Con next year.

Her supporting cast is equally as good. Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis both seem to be having a lot of fun in their respective roles as Aunt Zelda and Aunt Hilda. Her cousin, Ambrose (played by Chance Perdomo), seems to like getting into trouble but also doling out sage advice. Perdomo described his character as the “Alfred to Sabrina’s Batman” which should be an interesting dynamic throughout the season. Aguirre Sacasa also revealed Perdomo had originally auditioned for Jughead Jones, and while he didn’t get that part, he was immediately cast in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

What about the love interest, Harvey Kinkle? Yes, Ross Lynch has come a long way from his Disney Channel days. His performance in My Friend Dahmer should’ve been enough to convince fans of his talent, but if not he does a great job in the pilot as well. He’s reminiscent of what Riverdale tried to do with Archie Andrews but somewhat failed. Harvey is the perfect boy next door, endlessly supportive of Sabrina, a hard worker, but not the brightest guy. There will definitely be a lot of people jumping on the Sarvey ship after this season.

We don’t get a big glimpse of the villains in the pilot. Madame Satan gets the most screentime out of them all, but we do get to see the Weird Sisters as well as Father Blackwood. It’s hard to get a good read on any of them yet. However, the Weird Sisters seem like they’re going to be frenemies more than enemies.

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The biggest question would be how the series would handle Salem. Kiernan Shipka jokingly praised her three castmates who play Salem. Sadly, if you were looking forward to the return of Sassy Salem then you’ll have to keep hoping. We won’t spoil exactly how Salem factors into things but he won’t be the same as Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  Nevertheless, the crowd screamed every single time he appeared on the screen.

Should you watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina? Definitely, the pilot might have been a little slow but there’s no denying the potential for the series. Aguirre Sacasa also confirmed that he’s hoping for a crossover with Riverdale in the future. So if you’re an Archie Comics fan, then that’s another reason to tune in on Netflix.

Are you excited for the series? Be sure to check back here October 26 for episodic recaps for the first season.