Top 10 Differences Between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina & Sabrina the Teenage Witch



Top 10 Differences Between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina & Sabrina the Teenage Witch

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Cassandra Kalley
This witchy young lady has been around for many years in many forms. For this list, we're comparing the stories, characters, and world of the 2018 Netflix show starring Kiernan Shipka with those of its Melissa Joan Hart-starring predecessor from the 90s and early 2000s. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Differences Between Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Script written by Cassandra Kalley

Top 10 Differences Between Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

This witchy young lady has been around for many years in many forms. Welcome to MsMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the top ten differences between “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. For this list, we’re comparing the stories, characters, and world of the 2018 Netflix show with those of its predecessor from the 90s and early 2000s. So settle in for a bewitching good time.

#10: Plot Differences

Sitcom episodes tend to be self-contained. Characters remain more or less the same from episode to episode, and new situations are resolved by the time the credits roll. This is especially true of the 90s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. The same can’t be said however for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, which has a much stronger overarching narrative. While both involve Sabrina balancing the realities of being a teenage girl and young witch, Netflix’s series also tells a larger tale about the battle between good and evil.

#9: The Other Realm v. the Church of Night

Just like any other group, witches need a place to sit back and be their true selves. This safe space is very different however in each series. Called the Other Realm in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, it’s another dimension accessed through the Spellman’s linen closet. For the most part it’s a cheery place, with a mall and even a beauty shop. In contrast, the darker Netflix series provides the witches with a coven named the Church of the Night. Led by High Priest Father Blackwood, it’s a sinister place where witches worship the Dark Lord together, and praise him for the magical gifts he’s bestowed.

#8: Sabrina’s Rite of Passage

In both series, the titular half-witch has to undergo a rite of passage to access her full powers. But one seems a bit more frightening than the other. Guess which . . . For the Ms Spellman of the 90s, it’s enough to pass a few quizzes and solve her Family Secret. Granted, the secret is that each of her family members has a twin, and Sabrina’s tries to kill her. On Netflix however, the young teen has to go through a Dark Baptism that involves her promising herself to Satan. We know which one we’d rather go through.

#7: Sabrina’s Friends

For witches, mortal friends are hard to come by. Sabrina is an exception in that she has several human besties, although it often requires her to conceal her identity. This holds true for both shows, but with some important differences. On Netflix, Roz and Susie also have some connections to the paranormal, and through them, suspect that there’s a lot more to Sabrina than she’s letting on. On “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” though, Sabrina’s friends continue to be blissfully oblivious, despite the occasional odd events around the Spellman family, and even a visit to the world inside their closet. Then again, of course, there were memory wipes aplenty to keep it that way.

#6: Harvey Kinkle

He’s the half-witch’s dreamboat in both series, but in the 2018 iteration, there’s a twist. Back in the days of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, Harvey was an adorable, albeit somewhat dimwitted, lover of sports, cars, and of course Sabrina - even though their relationship in some seasons was more off-again than on-again. In the new series, Sabrina’s mortal boyfriend is as lovable as ever, but he’s an artist and comic-book nerd instead. Oh, and he comes from a long line of witch hunters, dedicated to eradicating Sabrina’s kind. It’s sure to stir up trouble, but fingers crossed that love finds a way.

#5: Salem the Familiar

Salem the black cat is another staple of the Sabrina universe. We all remember him from the 90s TV show as the flippant Spellman family pet - a former witch punished by being turned into a cat. He too gets a makeover for the Netflix rendition. In the new version, Salem is still Sabrina’s familiar, but he’s actually a goblin who has taken on feline form. Salem and Sabrina can converse, but the audience can’t hear his side of the conversation. Sure, he might not have the same snide, quick wit, but we think they still make a pretty good team.

#4: Witch School

The lessons learned by any teenager come not only from the classroom, but also from her peers. And for the young half-witch, this is true no matter which series she’s in. For the Sabrina of the 90s, magic lessons were left up to her aunts, her spell book, and Quizmaster. Things are more complicated for the new Sabrina, who must attend two schools: her regular high school and the Academy of Unseen Arts. In both series, there are the typical mean girls who make life difficult - but while Libby Chessler might have seemed horrible enough, the Weird Sisters make her seem like a walk in the park.

#3: Aunt Hilda & Aunt Zelda

We couldn’t forget about Sabrina’s caretakers. Naturally, both shows feature this “Odd Couple”-esque pair, with Zelda being the tightly wound one and Hilda the freer spirit. However, it’s how this duo is played that creates the difference. In “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” they were much more amiable toward each other, whereas in 2018, there’s a clear divide between the two . . . perhaps at least partially due to the fact that Zelda keeps killing Hilda. A grim cloud hangs over the sisters, which definitely wasn’t there in the 90s sitcom. Of course, it doesn’t help that they run a mortuary, rather than a clock shop.

#2: Source Material

Based on the Archie Comics character who first appeared in 1962, earlier screen adaptations were light and fun, focusing on silly little accidents that magic can get a witch into and out of. This was as true of the animated series in the 70s and 90s as of the live-action “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. In stark contrast, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is based on the much darker comic series launched in 2014. As the name suggests, these comics are much more eerie and macabre, featuring plots where even or heroine gets her hands dirty in the broader battle between the forces of light and the Dark Lord.

Before we compare and contrast our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

The Spellman Parents

The Spellman House

Cousin Ambrose

#1: Sabrina’s Identity as a Witch

The Melissa Joan Hart version of Sabrina only discovered her true identity on her 16th birthday, and much to our amusement, we watched her struggle with this throughout the series. Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina however has always known about the other world she belongs to. Mind you, her sweet 16 still features large, because on her birthday she’s presented with a momentous decision: pledge her life to the Dark Lord, and leave her mortal friends and boyfriend behind, or lose her powers. And we thought growing up as a regular teenager was hard.