Alright, after my horror-loving friends kept telling me that I needed to watch this show, I finally broke. I was hesitant for a while because, come on, an edgy version of a 90s sitcom? I’m all about embracing your dark side (they have cookies), but it seems like all my shows have the same aesthetic. (Namely, demons. Good Omens and Lucifer, anyone?)
But, alas, I was ready to watch a witchier Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Namely, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
I was not disappointed.
Here’s what my writer brain noticed while watching this oh-so-deliciously-demonic show.
1. I didn’t realize that seeing a cute character turn slowly towards the dark side was something I needed in my life. But when I saw one particularly innocent and adorable witch (I’m not naming who), slowly embrace stereotypical “villain” actions… It was everything. Not as abrupt as Tokyo Ghoul “wholesome turned EVIL” transformation, but it was satisfying seeing goodie-two-shoes mess up every once in a while, you know? I love those flawed characters. And when it happens? (You better hope heaven or hell can save you, because it is…LIT.)
2. The “good guy” love interest wasn’t… boring. They’re always boring, you know? Too squeaky clean. And when I first saw Harvey, I’m sorry to say I expected the typical demon-angel love triangle… But Harvey has his own inner demons too. Albeit, not ACTUALLY as demonic as Nick in a literal “sign your soul away” sense, but he has his battles too. And that made him interesting, gave him an edge over the usual “football jock innocent high school relationship” that I had his basic boy stance pegged for.
3. Back to the demon-angel love triangle. That moment Nick Scratch whispered he could easily share Sabrina with the jock-boy Harvey. (Um, polyamorous relationship > love triangle, anyone?). Alas, there wasn’t that. But seeing a love interest embrace potential polyamory instead of immediately going to weird, love-crazed jealousy? Refreshing.
4. Trans representation? And a coming out moment that doesn’t immediately end in tragedy while also having an episode deal with gender dysphoria. SIGN ME UP FOR THIS REPRESENTATION WHERE THE TRANS CHARACTER DOESN’T IMMEDIATELY DIE.
5. Okay, yes, it could be argued that since they’re all witches and demons and supernatural creatures that the whole “oh it’s not really representation since they’re witches, of course the rules are all different”. But like, Ambrose is pansexual. He is who he is. And he has relations with different genders and it’s chill. Note, non-gender conforming characters in the show do get called derogatory terms but that’s not ALL there is for them, there’s good alongside those harsh moments and times of acceptance to balance out hate. They’re fully dimensional characters!
6. It’s not just edgy all the time. You need some room for comedy in the plot for the audience to breathe. Sabrina deals with heavy topics (and I’m not just referring to the giant monsters). There are demons in this story, inside and out, but the show’s pacing gives you time to breathe before diving right back into the intensive drama again.
7. More about expanding on fully dimensional characters from part five. I really do appreciate how well-rounded the so-called “side characters” are. Like, even if Harvey isn’t love interest number one, he still gets his own plot line. Even if the aunts could easily just be placed into categories of “bumbling nanny” and “sleek and laviscious vixen”, they have their own hopes and dreams and nightmares. Ambrose isn’t just “cool, rockstar cousin”, he’s a young man (relatively aside from the immortality bit) who sometimes gives bad advice and doesn’t always listen to his common sense. He falls in love and hurts and grieves. People grieve in this show. And trauma affects you in reality, so to have fictional characters work through it and heal, however slowly, is encouraging to see in fiction.
8. I just really love the demon versus angel aesthetic. Red as blood. Bat wings and fire and fiery angels. It’s cool. Not so much a writer thought, but we can all appreciate some flair, can’t we?
Well, that’s all I can think of right now! What cool storytelling effects did you find in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?