Netflix’s twist on ’90s sitcom Sabrina The Teenage Witch has received healthy praise all round.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which has been called a “darker” reboot of the Archie Comics show, stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as the eponymous teenage witch.
The show, devised by Riverdale‘s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is “spooky as hell”, writes Variety’s Caroline Framke.
“With a little more focus (both literally and figuratively), the series has as much potential as its heroine to become something great.”
- Read more: ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’: everything we know about Netflix’s dark and spooky reboot
Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield said it’s a “darker show, for darker times — the optimism of the 1970s or 1990s versions would look absurd now.”
Elsewhere, the Radio Times’ Ben Allen wrote: “Perhaps most importantly, the exceedingly talented Kiernan Shipka has the on-screen presence to become a genuine icon as the righteous and principled half-witch Sabrina Spellman. On this evidence, she more than measures up to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s ass-kicking vampire hunter.”
Digital Spy lauded the reboot for taking things up a gear in the horror stakes.
David Opie said: “If Riverdale occasionally dips a toe into the realm of horror, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina throws itself headfirst into the murky depths of Sweetwater River, channeling the satanic movies of old to create some genuine ‘Holy s***!’ moments that you might not expect from a show like this.”
Constance Grady at Vox praised it as a “gorgeous, messy thrill ride”.
“This is a show that’s willing to both revel in the witch fantasy and to think about its limitations in a way I’ve never quite seen a TV show do before to examine about what kind of women are allowed to be powerful, and what kinds of boundaries are put upon them in consequence. And it has an incredible amount of fun while it does so.”
“Beyond its uneven premiere, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina proves to be an enchanting confection brimming with pleasures supernatural and mundane, alluring and horrifying, aural and visual,” critic Angelica Jade Bastién wrote. “In many ways, the series takes the best lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
“It so marvelously interrogates notions of freedom, power, and womanhood within this darkly rendered world of magic and intrigue, I suspect it will become an obsession for witch lovers like myself everywhere.”
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is available to stream on Netflix now.