Sabrina the Teenage Witch is Headed Back to Our Screens, Only With A Certainly More Horrific Take This Time Around.

Image copyright Archie Comics 2016

I think I may have hit the jackpot with this.

In my younger days, when Nickelodeon was actually worth watching, Sabrina the Teenage Witch was one of – if not the – best programme a kid could watch. We had magic, comedy, life lessons, and, for myself at least, a real dream-girl in lead actress Melissa Joan Hart.

Ahh.

Anyways, Sabrina has always been a product of the Archie Comics line of books, having been around, in one way or another, since the 1960s. She’s been a typical girl-next-door type heroine a la Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal, a cartoon character more akin to George Gladir and Dan DeCarlo’s originals, and, most recently in a completely new and admittedly scarier interpretation in the form of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

And now, thanks to hints from the producers of Riverdale, along with speculation from fans and the media, The CW and Warner Bros. Television have confirmed that they are bringing the horror adaptation to the small screen.

With Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa onboard as executive producer and writer, the project is planned to debut during the 2018/19 TV season and act as an accompanying series to Riverdale, which will return for season 2 later this year.

Both programmes are, of course, products based on Archie Comics mainstays.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (the comic) was launched in 2014 by Aguirre-Sacasa as well as artist Robert Hack and reimagines the classic story of Sabrina Spellman (the Teenage Witch) in a dark coming-of-age story that has drawn comparisons to horror films such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. The TV drama adaptation will find the still young Sabrina as she tried to reconcile her dual bloodline – she is, as many of you will know, half-witch, half-mortal – and stands against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and even the daylight world that the humans inhabit.

Whilst the comic is set in the 1960s, there’s no confirmation that the TV series will be based on the same timeline.

As a way to introduce her to the public ahead of her own series, there are suggestions by none other than Aguirre-Sacasa that Sabrina may be introduced in Riverdale season 2, as the drama starts to probe the shadowy edges of the Archie-verse.

“We are going to continue exploring the idea of the supernatural being on the fringes of Riverdale,” Aguirre-Sacas said, “and that might be to lead up to Sabrina’s arrival or that might just be to make it more like Twin Peaks and the way they dealt with the supernatural.”

 

Sabrina debuted in 1962 in a comic written by George Gladir and artist Dan DeCarlo. Being the daughter of a mortal woman and a warlock, Sabrina lives with her witch aunts Hilda and Zelda as per the rules of the series lore. They share their house with Salem Saberhagen, a warlock who’s been turned into a cat due to his longing (and unsuccessful) attempts to take over the world – the wizard’s council does not take kindly to such things.

The series made the transition from comics to animation at first, in 1970 with a CBS series and then, famously, premiered as a live-action series in 1996, with the aforementioned Melissa Joan Hart. The series spawned several made-for-TV movies, featuring Hart. Following this, Sabrina also appeared again in Sabrina: The Animated Series in 1999 and the spin-off Sabrina’s Secret Life in 2003.

There was an animation revival announced – described as “Twilight meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – in 2011, and there were plans for a potential live-action movie circling around in 2012. Hart, as seen in the video below from FABLife, teased that there had been talks of a Sabrina live-action reboot series, but it’s unlikely she was referring to an adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Any chance to see Hart in action is time well spent in my eyes, so I’m really excited about anything to do with Sabrina, regardless of if Hart will be a part of it or not. Whilst we’ll have to wait at least a year for this series to air, we’ll hopefully be getting the series straight on Netflix, much like with Riverdale.

I watched something the other evening wherein the presenters were referring to the past few years/next few years as a “golden age of TV”, and, after looking at some of the new programmes that have aired or are in production, it’d be hard to argue against that statement.

-James 21/09/2017

One thought on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch is Headed Back to Our Screens, Only With A Certainly More Horrific Take This Time Around.

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