Netflix holds a lot of faith in Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, the series about the teenage witch who refuses to, you know, blindly follow a faith or anything at all. Following an October 2018 debut, the streaming giant quickly renewed the series for three more seasons. That suggests a relatively long-term plan from showrunner (and Riverdale creator) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who authored the Sabrina The Teenage Witch comic that this series is based upon, and it’s nice to know that the producers aren’t winging it. Yet it’s clear from season two that this has transformed into a different animal than it was when it began less than a year ago. Not too surprising, since the leading lady (Kiernan Shipka) recently signed her name in the Book of the Beast. That’s kind of a big deal. So, even though the overall pandemonium doesn’t rise to season 1 levels, what does happen feels more intense and carries more grave consequences.
Things are getting really dark, really fast in Greendale.
Granted, the experience of watching the series remains a goth-y dream, like wrapping oneself up in a red velvet cake. The horror film homages are still arriving on a plentiful basis, and Clive Barker’s artwork still lingers everywhere. It’s really an aesthetically pleasing watch, as shallow and questionable as that sounds with all the blood flying everywhere.
Yet the sense of first-season wonderment no longer exists, and Sabrina has truly thrown herself head-first into coven rituals. The pace with which the series progresses into hellishness actually makes one marvel at how comparatively innocent the first season was, even while the fresh horrors at every turn are not new. Things are simply less silly now, tone-wise, as Sabrina’s immersing herself in astral projection and other witchy feats. At times, she’s levitating and burning foes alive and, as her mortal ex-boyfriend, Harvey (Ross Lynch) tells her, looking “like Dark Phoenix from the X-Men.” She’s also struggling with holding onto free will after taking a vow to do the Dark Lord’s bidding, no matter how small or large, or murderous, the outcome.