Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chillingadventuresofsabrina.jpg
Advertisement:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is an American supernatural television series based on the comic book series of the same name. Just like its namesake, the series is a darker retelling of the long-running Archie Comics title Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It is the second live-action series based on Sabrina, following the 1990s sitcom. In this adaptation, Sabrina Spellman must reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.

The series was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa originally as a companion series for Riverdale, but it was later acquired by Netflix and developed for them by Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions, with the first 2 seasons being shot back to back. What kind of continuity, if any, the series will have with Riverdale remains a mystery.

Advertisement:

The series stars Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) in the title role, with Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto as Sabrina’s aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, respectively. Other roles include Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell / Madam Satan, Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle, and Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman.

Part 1 of the first season was released on October 26, 2018. A Christmas special was released on December 14 and placed as part 1, episode 11. Part 2, the back half of the first season, was released on April 5th, 2019.


Advertisement:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Species Change: During an exorcism designed to call upon the power of dead witches of the past, several pagan goddesses are mentioned, implying that instead of deities, they were really human witches.
  • Adapted Out: Nag and Nagina, Ambrose's familiars, plus Betty and Veronica who have a minor, but important role in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic.
  • Adorable Abomination: The Psychopomps. They look like small songbirds, but they will viciously drag a soul caught on the Astral Plane straight to the afterlife.
  • Adult Fear: Hilda and Zelda demonstrate the Truth in Television that surrounds hazing rituals like The Harrowing. Kids being killed by careless cruelty while adults turn a blind eye is as much a part of real schools as it is a part of the Academy of Unseen Arts.
  • Adults Are Useless: Thankfully averted. Unlike most TV shows with a mainly teen cast, all the adults who appear in the show are heavily involved with the story. This is particularly true of both parent figures in Sabrina's life, Hilda and Zelda, who are always ready to help her get out of trouble; and if they should be unavailable, she has a second pair of senior mentors in Ambrose and Ms. Wardwell. The exception to this is the very misogynistic Principal, who serves as the antagonist for most of Sabrina's non-supernatural troubles.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The story appears to be set in a Retro Universe just like Riverdale:
    • Notably the only character shown to use a modern cellphone is Harvey Kinkle which grounds the show in The New '10s, but everyone else still uses a landline. Specifically the Spellmans still use a wall phone, and both Hilda and Zelda are shown running to answer it instead of using a cordless phone from the 90s. This, however, could just be a quirk of the Spellman sisters taking their time to modernize.
    • Due to Sabrina's birthday being October 31st and specifically mentioned to happen on a Friday, the year could either be 2003 or 2014. However, there was no lunar eclipse on either of those Halloweens.
    • Dr. Cerberus is a former tv Horror Host, a job that had pretty much died out by the 1980s. Muddying the water is the fact that he's played by an actor in his mid-forties, meaning if the show is indeed set in the 2000s-2010s, he would likely still have been an adolescent during the final days of the genre.
    • Although Roz kind of ruins it in the Christmas special comparing Susie to an Elf on the Shelf, which, despite marketing itself as an old tradition people never heard of, started in 2005.
    • When Harvey references the Dark Phoenix to Sabrina, which she's unfamiliar with, they talk only about the classic X-Men comics, whereas most people in the New Tens would think immediately of the upcoming movie.
  • As You Know: Despite being raised by a very devout member of the Church of the Night, Sabrina constantly needs to have witch holidays, traditions etc. explained to her.
  • Astral Projection: Witches can do this, but it is a fairly dangerous thing to do, as the Astral Plane is meant only for the dead, so the psychopomps patrolling it will snatch any disembodied soul wandering through and take it to the other side. And then there’s the Dweller in the Abyss.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: In "Lupercalia", Zelda essentially advises this for Hilda in order to win Dr. Cerberus and has her dress in a provocative outfit.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Harvey plays the wholesome, artistic and vulnerable Betty to Sabrina's Archie, while Nicholas plays the mysterious, dark and lustful Veronica. As of the end of part 1 of the first season, Nick is not getting anywhere with Sabrina. In fact, he even convinces Harvey to forgive her and take her back after what happened to Tommy.
    • In part 2, however, Sabrina and Nick become an Official Couple, while Harvey begins dating Roz, who plays the Betty to his Archie and Sabrina's Veronica.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Mary Wardwell/Madame Satan and Father Blackwood, who are both working for Satan and trying to secure Sabrina's soul for him, even if they don't like each other and have very different methods and ideas of how to do so. Madame Satan's works.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: In Part 2 of Season 1, Madame Satan and Blackwood are pursuing entirely different agendas (she's manipulating Sabrina into fulfilling the prophecy, while he's focused on enacting his reactionary reforms for the Church of Night) and don't even interact from that point forward. At the end of the season, Satan himself takes over the Big Bad role, sending Blackwood packing and pushing Madame Satan/Lilith towards working with the Spellmans against him.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Unseen Academy appears as a dilapidated building next to the railroad tracks, but it's a much bigger building when you cross the threshold.
  • Blackmail: Sabrina and the Weird Sisters charm the four jock bullies into stripping and making out with each other. Sabrina proceeds to take Polaroids to blackmail them, but The Weird Sisters have other plans...
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Weird Sisters each have one of the hair colors: Blonde (Prudence), Brunette (Agatha), and Redhead (Dorcas).
  • Blue and Orange Morality: When it isn't just straight up evil (such as their utter contempt for mortals), a lot of Witch morality tends to be this. For example, once a year a witch is selected to be killed and cannibalized by the rest of the coven. Everyone in the coven aside from Nick are perfectly okay with this, with Zelda only being concerned at all when Sabrina forces her way into the ceremony. And the chosen sacrifice for the year isn't only not scared about her imminent death, she is excited for it.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Witches are all extremely beautiful and sophisticated.
  • Body Horror: When a familiar dies, the corpse that is left behind looks like the goblin and animals forms fused together.
  • Boring, but Practical: There is an old Witch Hunter's trick of ramming a stake in the spot a witch stepped. It binds the witch to his or her current spot and unable to use magic to remove the spike from where it is. Even Dorcas and Prudence are not able to free themselves when Nicholas binds them.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • Zelda's continuous murders of her sister, her identical Sibling Yin-Yang chemistry and to top it all Zelda's nightmare of the Dark Lord snubbing her sacrifice in favor or Hilda's, then proceeding to murder her in a fit of jealousy, and then replying, "Am I my sister's keeper?" when asked by the Dark Lord about Hilda's whereabouts, mirrors the story of Cain and Abel.
    • Zelda and Hilda are also a Shout-Out to Cain and Abel of The Sandman: Zelda is the tall, mean, proper one while Hilda is the short, fat, nice one, and Zelda is constantly killing Hilda and bringing her back.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, it's not the first time we hear Noriko Shitaya (Sabrina) voicing magic users before, especially from a powerful race of them.
  • Cessation of Existence: The souls trapped in Limbo are in danger of this if they come across a being called the Eater of Souls which will eat said souls.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When the Spellmans are trapped by the sleep demon, the light in each character's nightmare world has an unnatural shade to distinguish them from each other and from the real world: red for Sabrina's, blue for Ambrose, yellow for Hilda, and purple for Zelda. This becomes a visual aid when Ms. Wardwell and later Sabrina are jumping through other characters' dreams.
    • While Sabrina often wears an iconic combination of red, black and white, her Mandrake double actually wears blue and brown. It's one of the very early hints that there's something off about her.
  • Composite Character: Sabrina's two friends have various traits of her rotating circle of best friends in other media.
    • Roz is a curly-haired non-conformist like Jenny and with supernatural abilities like Dreama.
    • Susie is unpopular and awkward like Valerie, while being androgynous like Pi from the animated series.
    • Both become secret keepers for Sabrina's powers like Chloe from the animated series.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: One of the major conflicts of late season one is connected to Sabrina ignoring the advice of everyone to not conduct a ritual that she knew was dangerous and could have unknown, negative consequences. Her decision to bring Tommy back to life with no sacrifice leads to much more pain than what would have happened if she just left Tommy dead.
  • Chickification: In-Universe, Father Blackwood’s adaptation of "The Passion of Lucifer Morningstar" hits Lilith with a particularly bad case of this. While the Church of Night’s holy texts say she provided for herself like a survivalist after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Blackwood’s version has her wandering helplessly in the wilderness.
  • Christianity Is Catholic:
    • The Church of Night seems to be under the impression that Catholicism is not just the only form of Christianity but apparently the only other religion in the world. Especially strange given that the show is set in the historically Protestant United States. This may be somewhat justified in that the show seems to take place in Massachusetts (what with the witch hunts), which, despite its Protestant history (once again, the witch hunts), is now predominately Catholic.
    • This is in force to the extent that the Church of Night is basically just dark Catholicism, more or less. Sabrina's Dark Baptism takes place on her 16th birthday, but that Dark Baptism is more akin to a Confirmation, and she essentially had a, er, christening into the Church of Night which basically held the same significance as a Catholic Baptism does (her soul was pledged to the Dark Lord by her father, much as a Christian baptism pledges the infant's soul to Jesus). The Dark Lord is actually specifically referred to as the Church of Night's savior. The religious authority of the Church of Night on Earth is Father Blackwood. Everything about the Church of Night and witch society is just an aesthetic inversion of Catholicism and American society, with much of the substance unchanged. Basically the only point where this is not so is that Father Blackwood has a wife and kids much like a Protestant minister would. note 
    • Played with as the two religions turn out to be Not So Similar. While they have structural similarities and similar issues with Straw Misogynist characters, the Church of Night really is actively devoted to violating any and all taboos of regular human society. They're cannibals, murderers, and answer to a very God Is Evil version of Satan. Sabrina figuring this out is part of her character growth.
    • Finally Averted in Part 2, where a group of witch hunters has a distinctly Mormom missionary aesthetic.
  • Creepy Child: Daniel Webster's daughter. She's a damned soul who blames her father, not without reason, for her eternal torment. Unlike the ghost children at the Academy, the horrific injury that killed her is still visible. She's also considerably more malevolent, although probably not physically dangerous.
  • The Cheerleader: When Sabrina gets trapped in Batibat's Nightmare, she dreams that her witch life and mortal life merge, which has the Weird Sisters becoming Baxter High Cheerleaders.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: All witches, upon turning 16, have their "dark baptism" in which they pledge themselves to the Dark Lord.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series is considerably darker and more adult-oriented than the original comics, and a whole magnitude darker than the previous live-action adaptation. In fact, this series takes elements that were either played for comedy or only implied in the sitcom and either expands on them or plays them for drama instead.
    • The Witches Council being unfairly biased towards mortals and having really silly rules - now they're a corrupt church with some really gross and archaic traditions.
    • Harvey's father was implied to be strict or hard on him. In this series he's a straight up abuser.
    • The rivalry between the aunts? Zelda now frequently kills Hilda and buries her in the garden.
    • Sabrina not thinking things through before she casts spells? Disastrous consequences when trying to resurrect Tommy.
    • Sabrina having to keep up The Masquerade from her friends was occasionally played for drama in the sitcom. Here it's a huge part of her character conflict.
    • The school principal being indifferent to the students' plight? Now he's a misogynistic jerk who does nothing about some of the worse bullying at the school.
    • Sabrina being tormented by an Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse? These characters now have magic powers of their own, and do their best to bully Sabrina into hanging herself.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • On their 16th birthday, most witches and warlocks sign the Book of the Beast, gaining more power and immortality, in exchange for promising Satan their soul and obedience. Sabrina refuses on her birthday, but later goes through with it to save Greendale.
    • In "The Trial of Sabrina Spellman", Sabrina's lawyer, the mortal Daniel Webster, made a deal to become the greatest lawyer ever, only to find himself constantly getting off the worst murderers, rapists and the like off scot-free. In the same episode, Sabrina makes a deal to allow her to live her normal life so long as she attends weekly Black Mass and part-time classes at the Academy of Unseen Arts.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Agatha gets some attention in an episode where Sabrina sacrifices her in an attempt to resurrect Tommy. She gets better. Tommy sadly doesn't.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Salem's role from the 1990s sitcom as Sabrina's confidant and his background as a warlock being punished for breaking the rules of the magic world were given to Ambrose Spellman. As a result, Salem has been downgraded from a warlock to a goblin who has taken the role of a familiar.
    • Tommy, Harvey's brother, is killed, and Sabrina is manipulated by Madame Satan into resurrecting him, which goes wrong, which, in a slightly different way, happened to Harvey himself in the comic.
    • Sabrina usually has one best friend in the 1990s sitcom and animated series. Here, she has two friends named Roz and Suzie.
  • Dirty Old Man: Anti-Pope Enoch continuously uses terms including "fine", "supple", "fresh", "pure" and "potent" when referring to teenagers. Even the warlocks guarding his door refer to him as a pervert.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything??: When the characters are saying "Hail Satan" and "Hail Judas", it does remind the audience of crowds shouting "Heil Hitler".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The idea of witches not being able to feel love seems to have been dropped in the back half of season 1. Nick says he's truly fallen in love with Sabrina, Zelda's response to Sabrina's objections about her not being in love with Blackwood but marrying him anyway is "sixteen-year-olds don't understand love" rather than "witches don't do that", Lilith falls for Mary Wardwell's fiance, and so on.
  • Eldritch Location: The Greendale Coal Mines are reputed to contain tunnels leading all the way to Hell, which might be true considering there are ancient demons sealed in its tunnels and its not unusual to run into Satan himself taking a walk through the mines. It turns out that Greendale is built on the spot where Satan fell from Heaven, and the Gates of Hell are in the depths of the mines.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Madam Satan and Father Blackwood. They both want Sabrina to sign the book... but they both want to be Satan's highest acolyte (wife, in Madam Satan's case) and thus attempt to fuck one another over several times in the season. Madam Satan wins in the end.
    • At the end of the season, Lilith helps the Spellmans to defeat Satan. Not because she cares about stopping the Apocalypse, but because she's tired of serving him and wants to usurp his crown.
  • Evil Makeover: When Madam Satan takes over Ms. Wardwell's body, she appears without glasses, her hair is worn down, and her outfits are much more flattering.
  • Evil vs. Evil: As the actions of the Three Plague Kings shows the Dark Lord's grip on Hell is not as tight as previously implied, with the aforementioned high demons working openly to thwart Lucifer's plans.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Subverted when Madam Satan spies on Sabrina and finds her talking to Harvey. Something interesting does happen very quickly - but she misses it because after about 5 seconds of a teenage girl talking to her boyfriend about non-magical stuff, she got bored and stopped listening.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Sabrina signing her name in the book is followed by her hair turning platinum blonde.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The plot of "The Feast of Feasts" is about stopping the titular Feast, but it happens anyway thanks to Mildred slitting her own throat and offering her body up.
  • Familiar: As part of their Dark Baptism, witches choose a familiar to serve them. These are typically goblins who assume the form of regular animals and are usually picked by the witches from a book. Sabrina, however, takes an unknown spirit to be her familiar instead in what is explicitly not a master and servant relationship. Since Salem is with her of his own free will, she gets a lot more and better service of him than most witches can expect.
  • Fanservice:
    • The first episode alone features Sabrina completely naked twice, though thoughtfully blurred so as not to show anything too sensitive. Some subsequent episodes feature Sabrina removing her clothes along with wearing outfits that show off her very nice legs.
    • Ambrose Spellman wears a robe around the house most of the time, though in later episodes, he's not wearing a shirt underneath, clearly showing his nice torso. Also, the morning after he and Luke spend the night together, he's shown walking around wearing nothing but boxer briefs.
    • Madam Satan spends a whole episode in a robe with Absolute Cleavage.
    • Harvey is shirtless on several occasions.
    • In late season 1, Nick helps Sabrina retrieve something underwater, giving us after a look of his muscular physique shirtless and wet.
    • When Satan finally shows up in person, he spends a lot of time wearing either very little or just some strategically placed blankets. When he finally does get clothes, he apparently owns only one shirt without a plunging neckline which shows off his abs.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sabrina faces a lot of discrimination over the fact that her mother was a mortal, with some witches even calling her a mutt to her face.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The three Morrígan Badb, Macha and Nemain along with Artemis, Luna and Hecate are summoned to help exorcise Apophis in a town where Satan makes house calls and Lilith teaches literature.
  • Feminist Fantasy: A somewhat twisted example. On one hand, the main character and nearly all her allies are women, and Sabrina's main opponent (that she is aware of) is a man who is a very patriarchal leader of the Greendale Coven. And she has a mentor in Miss Wardwell who often advises her to use her power to conquer the men in her life, culminating with Miss Wardwell telling her to sign the Book of the Beast at the end of the series to "take" Satan's power, not be given it. However, the twisted aspect is that Miss Wardwell is really Lilith, a demon who killed and took over the real Miss Wardwell's appearance, and despite her appearing to be an ally to Sabrina, she is really evil through and through, and all of her actions are to manipulate Sabrina into selling her soul to Satan. Even though she tells Sabrina that Sabrina would be taking Satan's power, Lilith knows that's BS and is simply manipulating Sabrina. And at the end of the first season, she succeeds in tricking Sabrina into Satan's thrall.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Hell is apparently a physical place that you can reach through the mines near Greendale. It has blue, sulfurous flames that can burn both a person's body and soul as revealed when Sabrina uses it to dispatch the Greendale Thirteen. An interesting example, in that references suggest it still has nine circles, per Dante.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Zelda drops a spoon, Hilda mentions an old saying "Drop a spoon, baby coming soon". Zelda dismisses it as an old wives' tale. As it happens, when the Blackwood twins are born and the oldest is a girl, Zelda steals the baby and takes it with her to Spellman Manor.
    • Madam Satan's narration for the opening of "The Witching Hour" mentions that Roz's grandmother is preparing a death shroud for herself. Sure enough, she dies by the end of the episode.
    • Roz's introduction in the opening focuses on her eyes; the only animation she does in said opening is to blink. Her eyes become a major plot point when it's revealed that she is destined to become a Blind Seer, and the more she loses her eyesight, the more she will be able to see things with her "cunning."
    • When Batibat recognises Madam Satan, she describes her as the Mother of Demons; if you're familiar with your demonology, one can quickly determine her true identity to be Lilith.
    • When Madam Satan disguised herself as a tarot reader she showed Zelda the high priestess card, at the end of season 2 Zelda becomes High Priestess after Father Blackwood flees after his attempt to poison the entire Coven.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Baxter High gang, Sabrina, Roz, Harvey and Theo.
  • Generation Xerox: Both Roz and Susie mirror their ancestors, Roz develops the same Blind Seer powers as her grandmother and Susie is a Badass Normal heavily involved with witches who also happens to prefer to wear male clothes. Harvey is an inversion; while he comes from a line of witch hunters, he's a sensitive soul who can't bring himself to shoot a deer and is in general a disappointment to both his father and grandfather.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Hilda and Zelda's relationship is fraught with lifelong bickering, bullying and resentment. But through their nightmares and later interactions, it's clear they do love each other in their own way.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: We never really get to see much of what the Church of Night calls the False God (which is apparently the God of Christianity), but what we do see isn't great. He apparently consigns infants to Limbo if they aren't baptized, where the Eater of Souls prowls through the fog looking to consume them. If Daniel Webster's vision of his daughter is supernatural rather than a dream or hallucination, older children can apparently be condemned to eternal torment in Hell. Unfortunately, Satan is not any better, despite the claims of the Church of Night. Neither of the two seems to be at all benevolent, but he is almost certainly worse.
    • Although given Diana's fate, Limbo seems both self-imposed and souls can eventually get to Heaven. In other words, the writers seemed to mix it up with Purgatory.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • The family being attacked by a sleep demon forces Madam Satan to step in and tell Sabrina how to defeat it, revealing her identity in the process. Subverted in that she quickly creates a cover story that she is a Witch trusted by Edward to protect Sabrina, even allowing her to manipulate Sabrina far more directly than before.
    • Invoked later by Ms. Wardwell herself. To force Sabrina to sign her name in the book, she summons the spirit of the 13 witches of Greendale, who in turn summon the Red Angel of Death against both the mortals and the witches.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: When playing the False God in a school play, Ambrose’s costume is entirely white and gold.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: In the flashback sequence of "A Midwinter's Tale", Hilda and little Sabrina and Susie have the same hairstyle as in present day.
  • Heir Club for Men: Invoked by Zelda and Prudence when the oldest of Father Blackwood's twins happens to be a girl and not a boy. They spirit her away and claim the boy absorbed his brother in the womb due to fear Blackwood might harm the girl.
  • Hellfire: It burns blue in addition to being the only thing that can destroy ghosts, and only three witches in history have been powerful enough to summon it. After a Deal with the Devil, Sabrina makes that four.
  • Hellgate: The Gates of Hell are a very physical thing, and are located in the Greendale mines.
  • High Priest: As leader of the Church of Night coven, Father Blackwood's official title is actually High Priest. However, it's later explained that the Church of Night is part of a worldwide collective of "Churches of Darkness", led by the Witches Council, headed by the Anti-Pope.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Multiple historical and mythological women are called upon to assist with the exorcism of Jesse Putnam. Among them we have: Morgan Le Fay, Black Annis, Anne Boleyn (who was infamously called a witch in her lifetime) note , The Witch of Endor, Artemis, Luna and Hecate; as well as Juventas and Juno, Hildegard of Bingen, Marie Laveau, Tituba, Mary Bradbury, Badb, Macha and Nemain, Moll Dyer ,Sybil Leek and Circe
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Witch oaths are often the inverse of vaguely religious human ones—"unholy shit", "what the heaven", etc.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: An interesting variation in that witches are unable to perform regular exorcisms as they are Catholic rituals that work by invoking the power of God himself to cast out the demon, meaning that no Satan-worshiping witch could accomplish one. This means that a witch exorcism requires them to use their own power and call upon the powers of generations of dead witches in order to cast the demon out by brute force.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Generally played straight. All witches and warlocks worship Satan, although their loyalty varies between individuals. Many of the Church of Night's practises are warped versions of Christian services such as the Dark Baptism when they turn 16 and pledge themselves to the church. Other rituals such as the Feast of Feasts feature Human Sacrifice and cannibalism of the victim. Father Blackwood pays lip service to the beliefs of Real Life Satanists that Satan is a personification and representation of free will, but the series has Satan as a very real figure and the Church of Night's promises of free will are not all they seem (see Hypocrite below).
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: After Father Blackwood poisons the Church of Night out of spite, the entire coven is reduced to handful of witches consisting of the Spellman family, the Weird Sisters, and a bunch of students of the Academy of Unseen Arts.
  • Hypocrite: The Church of Night claims to value free will above all else. However, in practice, they are supposed to follow the orders of the Church's hierarchy without question.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Zelda laments that a boy's parents asked for an open casket, as they haven't had "long pig" for quite some time. Witches also hold the Feast of Feasts celebration to commemorate a young witch named Freya, who sacrificed herself to feed her coven in the cold winter. The Queen of Feasts is eventually sacrificed and devoured by the coven. Raw. They consider it a great honor.
  • Hot Witch: Witches are immortal and visibly age much more slowly than muggles do, and as such most of the witches on the show, both male and female, are presented as youthful beauties. Even the visibly older ones are still shown as attractive, like Zelda (who resembles Golden Age Hollywood screen starlet) and Miss Wardwell/Madame Satan (a hot cougar who personifies the Femme Fatale and is arguably the show's main Ms. Fanservice). Only Hilda is portrayed as anything less than instantly desirable.
  • Insistent Terminology: The witches are very insistent... it's not "the Devil", it's the "Dark Lord".
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Salem and Miss Wardwell's raven do talk, but it just sounds like animal noises to anyone but their witches.
  • Jesus Taboo: Despite the witches' antagonism with the Catholic Church and the Abrahamic God being a constant element in the show, mentions of Jesus are conspicuously absent for all of Part 1 and only sporadically mentioned in the second half of Part 2. Even when talked about, he is almost always referred to as "The Nazarene", with his actual name only uttered twice.
  • Lighter and Softer: The series may be Darker and Edgier than the original Sabrina comics, or the previous series than most people are familiar with, but it's nowhere near as dark as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic it's mostly based on.
  • Left Hanging: The first part of Season 1 left a few unanswered questions hanging, which isn't too surprising since the second was filmed almost immediately after it, and did address a few. However, a few are still left unanswered. To wit:
    • Who killed Connor? Was it a witch hunter as Ambrose speculated? Was Luke involved in the murder somehow? Did Connor's familiar die of natural causes as Zelda mentioned, or did Luke kill it?
    • Speaking of Luke, are his feelings for Ambrose real or were they caused by Hilda's potion?
    • How and why is the ghost of Dorothea Putnam visiting Susie to give her guidance and comfort?
    • Who were the witches who cursed the Walker family with blindness? Are the accompanying Blind Seer powers part of the curse or not?
    • Was the plane crash that killed Sabrina's parents really an accident? Also, why is her mother's soul stuck in limbo? Or does this link to a similar fate with her comic book counterpart, where her mind is sane, but her soul is still in limbo forcing Sabrina's mother to remain in an institute!?
      • The second part is answered in the Season 1 Christmas special: Diana's soul was in limbo because she was afraid that Sabrina's aunts (particularly Zelda) wouldn't love and protect her as well as she would have if she'd lived to raise Sabrina herself.
      • Both parts are answered, actually: Diana proves who she is to Sabrina by mentioning the number of the plane that she and Edward were in when it crashed - Flight 2331. Thus, both she and Edward did die in a plane crash, and the only thing that remains to be answered is whether the crash was an accident... or deliberate murder.
    • As Doctor Cerberus is leaving the Spellman house after kissing Hilda, his eyes flicker an unnatural orange. What exactly is he?
      • Answered in Part 2 of the season. He's possessed by an incubus.
    • In the first episode during Sabrina's nightmare/vision, we see that her parents where holding her as a baby, taking her to an altar, where another baby that looks exactly like Sabrina is already there. Present day Sabrina lifts the covers of her baby-self, showing normal human legs. When she lifts the covers of the other baby, however, their legs are deformed and/or burnt or looks like devilish goat legs. What does this mean? Is Sabrina a twin? Or is Sabrina actually the other baby and grew up with a false name?
      • Answered in the season finale: the two babies are a metaphor for Sabrina's true nature — she was actually sired by Satan, making her a human/witch/demon hybrid.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: The Weird Sisters cast a spell on some bullies from Baxter High that makes them impotent until Sabrina decides to release some birds trapped in a cage.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • The ownership of Sabrina's soul comes down to dueling cases of it. Her father signed her name over to Satan shortly after her birth, but her mother had her baptized the day before that, giving the Catholic Church a prior claim.
    • Sabrina figures that there's no reason why the Human Sacrifice required for a Resurrection Ritual needs to stay dead, when it's a witch who can be resurrected in the Cain Pit. This blows up in her face quite horribly.
  • The Lost Woods: You can't throw a stone in the woods near Greendale without hitting a magic portal to Limbo, a mine that goes down to Hell, a tree where 13 witches were hung, a renegade witch queen, a dark baptism taking place, a bonfire to summon the Red Death. There's also a decent chance that if you go hunting you'll accidentally kill a goblin that has transformed into a stag to have a run in the woods. Considering that Sabrina and Harvey walk through here every day on their way to school and back, it's a true miracle the magic world hasn't been exposed and that mortals don't suffer from magical radiation poisoning with all that magic floating around unchecked.
  • Lovecraft Country: The series is set in Greendale and heavily leaning on local witchcraft lore.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Done by none other than Satan himself when he finds his partner falling for a kind and devoted suitor.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • On Harvey's wall, there is a front cover of an Archie's Madhouse comic. Sabrina first appeared in issue 22 of this title.
    • Riverdale being mentioned is either this or the first hints of a Shared Universe.
    • Hilda's full name 'Hildegarde Antoinette Spellman' comes from the sitcom.
    • Sabrina messing with necromancy brings to mind Afterlife with Archie, and just like in that story it has catastrophic consequences.
    • During the Animated Credits Opening, there are cartoon versions of all the characters as they appear in the series, but near the end (appropriately enough, when the credits read "based upon the comic book by Archie Comics"), you will see an image of the original Sabrina from the comics, who is lying on the floor and propping herself up. This is actually from Sabrina's very first appearance ever, on the pages of Archie's Madhouse #22.
      • The image of the original Sabrina is followed by the cover of the second issue of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic book series.
    • A rejected suitor of Sabrina's sneeringly calling Harvey "Farm Boy" is a reference to the sitcom.
    • The opening of "The Epiphany" shows Sabrina twirling in front of a mirror to change her outfit, homaging the original opening credits of the sitcom.
  • Not as You Know Them: Compared to the original Archie comics, Hilda and Zelda have completely swapped roles. In the comics, Hilda was the tall, red-headed, more traditional wicked witch type who wanted Sabrina to follow suit, and Zelda was the short, rounder-figured witch who had a much sweeter temperament.
  • No Immortal Inertia: When the Spellmans’ powers are temporarily taken away during Sabrina’s trial, Zelda and Hilda begin to age at an accelerated rate. Once they’re restored, they become young again.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The Students of the Academy of Unseen Arts — witches wear mostly dresses and skirts, all black, grey, dark purple, or burgundy, dressy tops and long sleeves, while warlocks wear dress pants and button ups or sweaters, also in black, grey, burgundy or white. Also, almost all the girls wear high heels.
  • Older Than They Look: Potentially any of the witches, as they start aging much more slowly after their Dark Baptism. Ambrose for instance, looks to be in his early 20s but has been under house arrest at the mortuary for 75 years.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Weird Sisters are given karmic punishment for their cruel harrowing of Sabrina - when the ghosts of children who died harrowing collectively simulate the three of them being hanged. Just as they had been planning to do to Sabrina.
  • Pet the Dog: As Lilith returns to Hell, she leaves Sabrina with two gifts — she restores the magic abilities that Sabrina was tricked into giving away as part of the prophecy, and brings the real Mary Wardwell back to life.
  • Physical Hell: The mines near Greendale seem to literally reach down to Hell, which suggests that it's somewhere beneath the Earth. They're likely the source of the town's many problems, having been dug originally by the Greendale coven after they came across the ocean to the New World, near the spot where Lucifer fell to Earth after being cast out of Heaven.
  • Poke the Poodle: The Dark Lord tests Sabrina's loyalty by asking her to... steal a pack of gums. However he later requests worse actions.
  • Polyamory: Nicholas proposes Sabrina that he be her other boyfriend besides Harvey but she turns down the offer. According to Father Blackwood, in the old times, all witches were polyamorous and monogamy was just for mortals.
  • Pretender Diss: Lucifer is not impressed at Blackwood's renaming of his church to "The Church of Judas":
    Lucifer: I knew Judas, you know. You sir, are no Judas.
  • The Prophecy: Madam Satan repeatedly mentions a prophecy that involves Sabrina and takes steps to help her fulfill it. It turns out to be making perversions of Jesus' miracles (exorcism, resurrection, curing the blind, etc.) in order to unlock the Gates of Hell and start the Apocalypse.
  • Psychopomp: They take the form of sparrows and patrol the Astral Plane looking for the spirits of the dead to ferry them to the afterlife. Hilda has a particularly low opinion of them and they represent a grave danger to any witch attempting Astral Projection.
  • Public Domain Artifact: During "The Mephisto Waltz", the Dark Lord mentions that the Spear of Longinus is the only artifact that could actually kill him.
  • The Purge: As a final act of spite, before Father Blackwood flees in light of Satan intending to place Sabrina above him, he poisons the entire coven, with only a handful surviving.
  • Religion of Evil: Despite Father Blackwood's protestations to the contrary, the Satanism the witches practice is very much this, as the entity they worship is objectively evil, their rituals involve cannibalism, and they look forward to the apocalypse.
  • Rescued from the Underworld:
    • Sabrina travels to Limbo to rescue the soul of Tommy Kinkle, but it gets snatched away by the Eater of Souls just as she was about to bring him back into the mortal world.
    • As one of the Sequel Hooks at the end of Season 2, Sabrina intends to free Nick from Hell.
  • Resurrective Immortality: While witches can be killed, they can also be resurrected using the Cain's pit in the Spellman's graveyard. Zelda apparently has made a habit of killing Hilda when she’s particularly annoyed at her. She claims it's her right as her older sister.
    • Late in the season Sabrina unlocks great magical potential in herself, she resurrects once and later says she doubts she can be definitely killed at all.
  • The Reveal:
    • Ms. Wardell/Madam Satan is none other than Lilith the mother of all demons.
    • The reason that Satan is so interested in Sabrina? She's his daughter, and the key to his plot to bring about the Apocalypse.
  • Running Gag: The newspapers Zelda reads in the kitchen keep switching to being from different parts of the world, in appropriate languages.
  • Satan: The Greater-Scope Villain of the series, who is worshipped as the true god by witches covens like the Church of Night. He usually manifests in the form of Baphomet but upon being released onto Earth in the season finale, retakes his original angelic form (minus the wings that God ripped off him when he fell.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: According to Madam Satan and Nick, the human body is the strongest and most sacred binding in nature, the first and mightiest prison for a supernatural entity, designed by the False God himself. During the climax of the season 1 the Dark Lord is trapped inside Nick's body, which is then put into a supernatural sleep to keep Lucifer from trying to escape.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: After Lilith develops feelings for Mary Wardwell's fiancé Adam, the Dark Lord tricks her into eating his corpse disguised as a roast. She's disgusted and horrified, but he forces her to keep eating it as punishment.
  • Sequel Hook: Season 1 ends with three major ones: Prudence and Ambrose go on the hunt for the now renegade Father Blackwood, Zelda declaring herself as High Priestess of the Church of Night, that now consists of a bunch of teenage witches and warlocks. while Sabrina and her friends plan to break into Hell and free Nick.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The fifth episode is called "Dreams in a Witch House", referencing the famous H. P. Lovecraft short story "Dreams in the Witch House". The Monster of the Week for that episode is essentially a Composite Character of Pinhead and Freddy Krueger via being a demon released from a puzzle box that can twist people's dreams to its will.
    • "An Exorcism in Greendale" has plenty to The Exorcist, such as the possessed attacking with projectile vomit.
    • Daniel Webster is a not-so-subtle allusion to Stephen Vincent Benét's short story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster."
    • As mentioned under Cain and Abel, Zelda's nightmare is a Whole Plot Reference to the biblical story.
    • The Academy of Unseen Arts can be considered a Shout-out to The Unseen University and its Tower of Art, the main wizarding school in the Discworld.
    • Harvey is shown in bed wearing a white crop top with the number 10 and watching a movie in bed with his headphones on mirroring Johnny Depp's appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the only difference is Harvey is watching it on his laptop instead of a small TV.
    • During the exorcism of Jesse Putnam, Zelda calls out the Spellman ancestors to finally break the tie they are stuck in with Apophis, one of the names she calls out is Evanora.
    • When Principal Hawthorne returns and summons Sabrina to his office, Roz looks up and says He's baaaaaack.
    • During Ambrose's first appearance, he's wearing a purple shirt with the message"Aloha From Hell".
    • The teenager that Madam Satan sacrifices to bring back the Thirteen has the surname Loomis, a reference to the Scream and/or Halloween series.
    • Numerous Clive Barker paintings can be seen throughout the series, including in Suzie's bedroom and Father Blackwood's office hallway.
    • The glass ceiling above the Spellmans' living room resembles the one from Suspiria (1977).
    • Aunt Zelda and Father Blackwood both make a point of describing the path of Satan as delicious.
    • Gryla's backstory references the story of the two starving mothers in the Books of Kings.
    • Several teachers at the Academy of Unseen Arts share their surnames with horror authors, including Brother Machen, Brother Lovecraft, Brother Bierce, and Brother Barker.
    • At one point Harvey compares Sabrina's newly acquired über-powers to The Dark Phoenix Saga, going into great detail about the plot because Sabrina hasn't got the faintest idea what he is talking about.
    • In the season finale, Sabrina utters the phrase "Not today Satan, not today!", originated by Bianca Del Rio.
    • While Theo and Harvey are exploring Mine 13, Theo starts talking about the movie The Descent, remembering about that movie now that they are in a dark cave.
    • The way the Mandrake copy of Sabrina grows out of a plant while she sleeps, tries to copy others the same way, and expresses its displeasure by pointing and screeching is a reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).
    • In "The Mephisto Waltz" the entire main cast performs the song "Masquerade" from the musical The Phantom of the Opera as part of a plan to save the world. It Makes Sense in Context.
    • The episode "Doctor Cerberus' House of Horror" is a whole-cloth homage to Dr. Terror's House of Horrors.
    • The physician who checks up on Tommy after the accident is called Doctor Phibes.
    • Possibly unintentional, but The Inquisition in Chapter Twelve very quickly starts to resemble a scene in Damien: Omen II. In both examples a student is rigourously quizzed on dates relating to their class by a teacher trying to make an example of them, while recieving supernatural help with the answers.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Upon discovering that the Kinkles are descended from the Von Kunkles, Agatha and Dorcas decide to punish them for all the witches the Von Kunkles killed back in the 1690s. It’s made all the worse because of their disregard for collateral damage and by the fact that Grandpa Kinkle's story showed the family doesn't even remember that the people they drove out of the hills and the mines were witches.
  • Special Edition Title: In "A Midwinter's Tale", the opening sequence replaces the usual image of Sabrina with another where she looks at Santa Claus on his flying sleigh.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Father Blackwood is a reactionary conservative who believes that women/witches are meant to serve men/warlocks. Part 2 of Season 1 reveals that his ultimate goal is to institutionalize these beliefs for the Church of Night and all the other covens in the world.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: In the Pilot, Mrs. Wardwell is listening to "Bad Moon Rising" while driving home. Right before she runs into Madame Satan, the lyric "I see trouble on the way" plays.
  • Telepathy: Hilda seems to be able to read minds or at least is an extremely good judge of character that would make Sherlock Holmes yell "Witchcraft!!!" She reads two of Susie's bullies and by their reactions correctly deduces that one had something terrible happen to him when he was eleven, and the other is "in lust" with his jock friend.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "Feast of Feasts" happens during Thanksgiving and features three forms of Thanksgiving celebrations: a take-out dinner by Ms. Wardwell, a hunting party with frozen dinner by the Kinkles, and a supernatural feast by the Church of Night.
  • Tranquil Fury : Sabrina is very calm, but visibly angry, when Roz tells her that she had a vision of Agatha and Dorcas magically causing the accident that killed Harvey’s brother Tommy and four other miners.
  • Truer to the Text: In at least one respect, compared to Sabrina the Teenage Witch - Sabrina has her iconic bob rather than the long hair the sitcom popularized.note 
  • Truth in Television:
    • While usually not supernatural in method, particularly vicious hazing traditions like the harrowings have been known to kill, traumatize, or severely injure children on more than one occasion.
    • The belief that Satan is the embodiment of free will rather than the embodiment of evil is a common one among self-professed Satanists in Real Life, though In-Universe, this seems to be propaganda spread by The Church of Night.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When Father Blackwood learns that Satan intends on placing Sabrina above him, he poisons the whole Church of Night congregation and flees.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Madam Satan shapeshifts into a young girl and brings one of the jocks to the hanging tree. When he denies being a virgin, she mocks him and claims that a virgin just happens to work best for her plans before she proceeds to slice his neck and sacrifice him.
    Madam Satan(disguised as a mortal girl): Why are you virgins always so aggressive?
    Jock: W-what? I'm not a...
    Madam Satan: Oh, Mr.Loomis, I smell virgins the way a rabid dog smells blood. But don't be embarrassed, a virgin suits my needs tonight.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Several times in Parts 1 & 2.
    • Agatha vomits dirt after an exorcism.
    • After failing the Bubbler challenge, Sabrina vomits in front of the entire Academy.
  • Wake Up Make Up: When the Weird Sisters have prophetic dream in the middle of the night and rush to tell Father Blackwood, they're all clearly wearing makeup (particularly obvious during the close-ups on their mouths).
  • The Weird Sisters : Prudence, Agatha, and Dorcas are three orphan witches known as the Weird Sisters who also act as the Girl Posse of the Academy of Unseen Arts.
  • The Witch Hunter: There are people in this setting who specialize in hunting down and killing witches. Harvey's family, centuries ago when they were still called the Von Kunkles, where a whole clan of these who single-handedly drove all the witches from the hills around Greendale and took over their tunnels as mines.
  • Witch Species: As other adaptations of the story have already shown, witches are considered a separate race from humans and even though they can breed normally with mortals, the resulting child is considered a "mutt" as Sabrina has experienced first hand at the Academy. Whether they're actually a different race or species or just another form of Fantastic Racism towards mortals has not been discussed; however, both the thirteen witches of Greendale and the demon Apophis immediately recognize Sabrina as a half-witch so there may be some truth to the claim.
  • Wizarding School: The Academy of Unseen Arts.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Connor is confirmed as a warlock and his adoptive parents apparently commit suicide, none of them are ever mentioned again. How he obtained his familiar, how he made contact with Luke, or why he didn't join the Church of Night is not explored.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Familiars are goblins forced into service to witches. They're selected out of a catalog, will die a painful death shortly after their witch dies, and can be murdered by their witch with no ill effects to its owner. Zelda even intends to kill one and have Hilda turn it into a purse (to which both Ambrose and Hilda react in horror, but apparently is perfectly acceptable in the witch world). On the flip side, Sabrina and Salem made a contract as equals, which is why Salem is shown to care far more for her than other familiars shown in the series.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Big time for Sabrina when everyone is mad at her for disturbing the Natural Order by bringing back the dead Tommy Kinkle and then trying to cheat by resurrecting Agatha, who was sacrificed for the ritual. The results are pretty bad for Sabrina, because Harvey breaks up with her and her family tells her to fix this mess she created without their help.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: While Greendale was specified as being in Massachusetts in the comic, in the show it's left ambiguous, except that it's somewhere in New England that's not Connecticut (where the Academy of Unseen Arts is located) or New Hampshire (where the Church of Shadows, Madam Satan's former coven, is based) or Rhode Island (where Harvey moves during a vision). On top of that, if the neighboring town of Riverdale is the same one as in the eponymous show (as a mention of the Sweetwater River in Part 2 might indicate) then the geography gets even more screwy, as all clues in that show point to Riverdale being somewhere in Upstate New York, near the Canadian border.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The Dark Lord suing Sabrina for breach of promise is one to The Devil and Daniel Webster, going as far as naming Sabrina’s lawyer Daniel Webster.
    • The premise of the first season, which has our heroine decide between the path of light or the path of dark during her 16th birthday, forms the basis of the first two books of The Caster Chronicles and its film adaptation Beautiful Creatures.
    • Already mentioned under Cain and Abel, but Zelda's nightmare is basically a dark retelling of the story of Cain and Abel from The Bible.
      • Not only that, but the Spellmans are in possession of soil from Cain's garden.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • Inverted. The Academy of Unseen Arts is made up of perfectly interlocking pentagonal rooms that may go on forever. Pentagons cannot be used to tile a plane in normal space, but it's justified here because this is not normal space.
    • Hilda mentions being drunk at the coronation of Queen Victoria, while Zelda refers to the Greendale Thirteen as being contemporaries of the Spellmans' ancestors. Witches are shown to live a very long time, but just how long a witch generation lasts has yet to be clarified.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: The plot of "Dreams in a Witch House."
  • You Should Have Died Instead: During a heated argument at Tommy's funeral, Mr. Kinkle tells his son Harvey this.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback