Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Chapter One: October Country
October 26, 2018 7:02 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

While Greendale readies for a Halloween eclipse, Sabrina faces a crucial decision and Harvey makes and unexpected declaration.
posted by lesser weasel (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(Someone can go ahead and make a full season if they'd like! I've personally only gotten through the first episode, however.)

I'm liking this so far! I haven't read the related comics, but the atmosphere and visuals of the show are great, and I think I'm finally getting used to the fuzzy camera shots. I didn't watch a lot of the 90s TV series, but already I'm liking the aunts, and Ambrose! Oh my goodness, I love him to pieces already. Definitely interested to keep going.
posted by lesser weasel at 7:08 AM on October 26, 2018

Tuesday October the 28th ? But this year the 28th falls on a sunday.... 2014 has it on a Tuesday though...
posted by Pendragon at 10:11 AM on October 26, 2018

I never watched the 90s Sabrina sit-com, just have vague memories from the Archie comics & cartoons of my 70's/80's childhood, and I bailed on Riverdale a couple of episodes in. But I liked this first episode, definitely want to see where it goes.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:26 PM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m so pleased with this interpretation so far. The newer comics are nothing like the originals, the 90s sitcom or Riverdale and I wasn’t sure how well they’d be able to translate it to a Netflix show (it’s...dark) but they seem to be nailing the right balance. It’s fun and spooky but not scary or taking itself too seriously. The actors are all spot on. The blurry out of focus effect is weird at times but I’m loving this overall so far. The themes feel very current and relevant.
posted by notheotherone at 11:51 PM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

a) This is all very good
b) Michelle Gomez
c) A talented acting cat

No complaints so far.
posted by figurant at 12:29 AM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

I will happily watch anything with Kiernan Shipka in (because she’s great, obviously) so I watched the first episode of this. I did enjoy it - the script is acerbic & the art design is lovely: Sabrina’s little red riding hood coat is on point.

Hopefully it will grow into it’s theme? First episodes are always a little rough, since you have to do the work of introducing both protagonists, antagonists, theme & everything else in a short space of time. There’s enough there to get us to watch a few episodes & see how it goes at least.
posted by pharm at 1:36 AM on October 27, 2018

Full season post here
posted by lesser weasel at 3:02 AM on October 27, 2018

Mod note: One deleted; please post in the full-season thread if you want to discuss more than just this episode!
posted by taz (staff) at 3:52 AM on October 27, 2018

Kiernan Shipka is fantastic and believable. It's astounding how much she communicates with a tiny gesture or facial expression.

I'm disappointed in the casting of Harvey; this version is just as clueless as the 90's sitcom Harvey but much less charismatic. Perhaps I'm just an old.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 10:51 AM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Harvey is something of a wet fish isn’t he? Maybe that’s intentional - there’s enough media out there where the male lead has a girlfriend who only exists to moon over him after all.
posted by pharm at 1:39 PM on October 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

pharm, good point, perhaps the casting and character is intentional (although a cursory search of Twitter shows that many viewers are infatuated with Harvey, so I think I am also just a grumpy old #bringbacknaterichert).

Taking that thought further, the combination of New Harvey's wet noodle-ness and the murky motives of Hilda & Zelda do emphasize that Sabrina is completely alone; unlike the 90's sitcom (my only frame of reference for this show) where she had a lot of quirky characters pulling for her and there was no real danger, everyone she's interacting with in this story is a threat to her, whether intentional or just that they're so weak and/or clueless that they can be easily manipulated to hurt her.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:39 PM on October 27, 2018 [8 favorites]

Just saw this last night at a halloween party and about a third of us couldn't help compare it to the 90's show. We noted this Harvey even kinda looks like the 90's Harvey, but didn't notice that he was lacking in anything (except the height), but there also wasn't enough screen time for him.

The tone was definitely different, noticeably when the unknown-so-far witch girl that Ms Wardwell found on the road stabbed her with scissors.

I was also excited to see Gaia from The 100!

Gonna keep watching this one.
posted by numaner at 11:49 AM on October 28, 2018

Definitely liked this first episode! I like the way the show quickly established that this really isn't an easy choice for Sabrina. Yeah, magic powers are cool, but the witching world sure has some shady shit going on.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:18 PM on October 28, 2018

The mindwiping her boyfriend with a spell that ends in a nonconsensual kiss and then constructing a story where they're both to blame for his confusion and disorientation is so fucking creepy.

She lays all that shit on him at once and his reaction isn't even aggressive or blaming her, he just... what, doesn't cotton on fast enough for her? Has too much mortal confusion about a) girlfriend is a witch b) is going to magic school forever c) in like two days?

So creepy. So so creepy. Her choices matter a lot to her! His don't! But she's very sad about it and that's super important.
posted by E. Whitehall at 10:52 PM on October 28, 2018

Sabrina isn't a bad person, but she isn't quite as good as she likes to think. This makes for a much more interesting character in my opinion. They covered A LOT of ground in the first episode and it definitely caught my attention.
posted by Julnyes at 8:19 AM on October 29, 2018 [7 favorites]

The one thing giving my partner and I pause as of this episode is the racial politics around having the black guy cousin be under house arrest for mysterious reasons. The main reason it's merely pause at the moment is that I think this episode went to great lengths to establish that the witches are not necessarily the good guys here, so I'm willing to wait and see how that plays out.

The other iffy part is the way that Susie is coded by the show as non-binary, whereas Sabrina's response to her(?) assault to very aggressively assign Susie a female gender. "You got assaulted, so obviously what you need is a girl group for girls so us girls can have each others' girly backs." Given the way that, as Julnyes says, the show has kind of established that Sabrina isn't as good as she thinks she is, that might be intentional as well and something that Sabrina and Susie come into conflict over later. Or maybe Susie does identify as binary female while presenting as non-binary, but I don't think that's likely given the way that Sabrina is taking it upon herself to speak for Susie instead of asking Susie what kind of support she needs first.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

"She lays all that shit on him at once and his reaction isn't even aggressive or blaming her, he just... what, doesn't cotton on fast enough for her? Has too much mortal confusion about a) girlfriend is a witch b) is going to magic school forever c) in like two days?"

I mean, I'm watching through the old sitcom right now and they casually do much worse in an average episode without so much as a wink to the camera, you kind of chalk it up to magic. This is in the candy-coated version where serving satan and being a witch are just fun, quirky backdrop for light-hearted, wholesome (ignoring massive ethical compromises) teen comedy.

It will be interesting to see this take on Sabrina develop, the tone will make it harder to accept some of the antics they get up to in the sitcom with magic, I expect this version will have to grapple more with the morality. Then again, they're also pushing the "evil" side of magic much harder, so it will probably be much lighter on magical fun and games.

I'm not crazy about the aunts so far, Zelda seems less wise/intelligent/insightful than what I am used to and I'm not sure what her role will be as a parent figure. Harvey is also a surprising choice for me, he just seems like a really forgettable blah kind of presence so far. The more naturalistic tone of the show also makes me care less about him, a real highschool boyfriend isn't very important and not the sort of thing to even really consider in such a big life-altering decision. That isn't untrue in the old sitcom, but in that setting the notion of a long-term high school boyfriend leading up to marriage or "true love" or whatever is passable. Then again, for me, signing up to be a witch would be a given regardless of circumstance.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:46 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm here for this in so many ways.

I'm actually ok with the blahness of Harvey. I think he makes for a good 'in' for viewers who may not understand or connect with the feminism, empowerment, and queerness already going on, but still want to be supportive or connect more with the show. Plus, I think he makes an excellent springboard for Sabrina's internal struggles, provides lots of opportunity for world-building and exposition that would otherwise be difficult to smoothly introduce, and helps establish the tone of the show.

It's nice to have the cis/white/presumably-hetero, typically "hero" character actually be the "odd man out" for once, but still be part of the gang, and supportive of all of the gang.
posted by RhysPenbras at 6:09 AM on October 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

The mindwiping read to me like Sabrina realized that Harvey's upsettedness at finding out she's a witch was going to put her family in danger. Although, yeah, the "delicious things about being a witch" aren't framed as like, ending injustice and rescuing tiny kittens.

Getting witch-powers is a pretty tidy metaphor for the power that comes with being an attractive teenage girl. Dangerous, you can't let on that you're using it or you'll be in trouble, but somehow some people are a bit more willing to help you or give you a break or do you a favor. At least witches explicitly get a choice to witch or not?

Zelda is the traditionalist, she's upholding the family's status, she seems totally coherent to me. I'm so looking forward to learning Ambrose's story, though.
posted by momus_window at 4:06 PM on October 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

One of the things I gathered from the first episode is its about how ostensibly feminist or female oriented support groups can be subverted by the patriarchy. "Oh hey, women should be in charge, we're totally about female empowerment, which is why we all are subservient to a male who limits our power."

This has extra resonance, given the shit that's been going down recently with ArisiaCon, a convention that billed itself as feminist. and then failed to act on a complaint of rape and sexual harassment against its president.

It's to talk the talk about feminism, but when one goes against an influential man in the group, all too often the results belie the words.
posted by happyroach at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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