Hello again, Readerland. I’ve missed you, but I’m back to spread the joy and answer the tough questions. I’m here to talk about the things other people are afraid to talk about. I’m here to talk about Sabrina and her friends, in the new Netflix series The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. I recently took the series (the two seasons that are out to this point, anyway) with my girlfriend and I’m torn on my feelings for the series. While they take the subject matter seriously, the plot often revolves around juvenile moral lessons and it makes an otherwise serious show kind of silly, which is too bad because I think it could really have been something memorable if they hadn’t pulled their punches. What’s a series without characters, though? Sabrina has some of the greatest characters going, and they decided to jazz up the show by giving all of her friends powers as well. Let’s take a look.
We should start with Sabrina herself, whose role in the show so far has been quite interesting. She’s torn between her regular life with her friends at school and her witch life, finding that she spreads herself too thin on both sides a lot of the time and that one group is not always understanding of the other. She can brew potions and cast spells and her half witch, half human background provide her some powers that other witches simply don’t have. One wonders why she’s the only hybrid, given how much the witches interact with mortals just in the show alone, let along the thousands of years leading up to the first episode. We can give that a pass, though, as it’s only a minor detail. Sabrina often solves her friends’ problems (and sometimes her own) with a little bit of dark magic. Her cat, Salem, does not talk at all except at the very start, and it’s the biggest dropped ball in the series.
Next up is Sabrina’s good friend, Rosalind “Roz” Walker, comes from a line of people who were cursed many generations ago by witches so that the young women of the family lose their vision during their teenage years but then gain visions into the future, the past or events that are happening somewhere else. This effect is enhanced by picking up a belonging. There’s some odd guilt play about the fact that Roz’s family was blinded by witches, making Sabrina responsible even though she wasn’t the one who did it and happened many generations in the past, and leaving it open for you to draw your own parallels. Roz’s character is kind of bland and her motivations are often confusing, but she’s still a strong person and she still has her place in the show.
Sabrina and Roz’s other friend starts out the show as Susie Putnam but transitions into Theo Putnam, and before I speak about Theo’s powers I’d like to explain that I’ve put off writing this blog for almost a month now because I don’t know how to adequately explain Theo’s powers without potentially offending people. What I’m presenting you is the information as it was supplied to me by the show with no opinion of my own laced in. Theo’s family has.. a trans gene? Every generation, one of the Putnam’s is born into the wrong gender and begins to behave as the opposing gender. When Theo reads his trans relatives journals they appear to him in ghost form and tell him pertinent information. I personally don’t think that’s how being transgender works at all, but far be it from me to judge. Theo is the greatest character on the show, hands down, and has the most compelling arc out of any of the characters, though there are some really questionable things going on here.
Theo wants to play basketball and Baxter High only has a boy’s team and they don’t want Theo on the team. I was never really very good at sports and I completely understand what it feels like to not be desired for team positions, so I’m already with Theo on this a little bit, but here’s the snag: Theo isn’t good at basketball at all. In fact, there’s no indication that Theo played basketball before wanting to be on the team at all. Theo is allowed to try out for the team, after some debate (which I’m perfectly fine with), but Theo isn’t good enough to make it. Fortunately, Sabrina is on scene and she happens to know the famous, “Make A Basketball Go In The Hoop” spell, and thus Theo is able to make the team. This is the kind of half-assed morally driven garbage that takes you out of the show. Why couldn’t Theo have actually been good at basketball and the problem just be being able to try out? That’s a real issue that people face today. What’s the real moral to be taken from this story? If you’re experiencing barriers in life because of your identity and the ignorance of people around you and you want to do something that takes practice and skill, just kick back and let your friend with magic solve the problem for you? Like the dark aspects of the show, in this they also can’t fully embrace the topic and instead go for some confused attempt at a message that absolutely falls flat. Other than this garbled mess, though, I really like Theo and the scenes he’s in are some of the better in the series.
I’ll give mention here to Nicholas Scratch, Sabrina’s warlock friend/boyfriend, although it seems as though the characters from the dark side are little more than plot devices and scenery who we’re not supposed to relate to. Nick comes closer than any of the others to being an actual person, though, so he makes the cut. His powers for dark magic are roughly the same as Sabrina’s, though it’s implied he knows more about them than she does, though they’ve both been raised with magic their entire lives.
Last, but certainly not least, we come to Sabrina’s friend/boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle. Did you think he wouldn’t have his own set of dazzling powers to bring him up to par with the rest of the cast? You’re so wrong it hurts. Harvey’s family owns the mine in town (They got the mine by committing genocide on the witches who lived in the mine, so we can throw up some more parallels there) and his whole family works in the mine, except for Harvey. The reason why is Harvey’s power is the ability to see the Goat Man in the mines when no one else can see him. The Goat Man is Satan, I get it, but is that really the scariest version? When Harvey encounters The Goat Man, he usually falls to his knees and whimpers. The Goat Man doesn’t really do anything, just looks at Harvey mostly and tries not to get his horns locked on the ceiling of the cave. Why does the mine in Baxter lead to the gates of Hell? What does Harvey’s family mine there that they haven’t even explored the entirety of the mine and found the gates of Hell? Why does old Goaty walk around the mines? Doesn’t Satan have ability to teleport anywhere on Earth? Why would he look like a half man, half goat and actually walk out the gates out Hell and walk out of the mine?
These questions are serious, and never answered, but none of them compares to the real question, which is this: Why is Harvey afraid of The Goat Man? I mean, I understand that, if I were out somewhere and actually saw something that looked like that and didn’t think it was fake, I’d be pretty amazed. I’d have a hard time not laughing, though. Of all the forms the devil can take, I always found that one to be kind of comical. As previously explained, old Goaty doesn’t even do anything. At one point, Sabrina and Harvey are both in the mines and, even though Sabrina has spoken to Satan and knows for certain that he exists, only Harvey sees those cloven hoofs. You can draw your own conclusions about who has the most fascinating powers, but if you pick anyone but Harvey, you’re just dead wrong.