Here’s why you needn’t be afraid of missing Stranger Things this year…
1. Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina could give Eleven a run for her money
Kiernan Shipka is a remarkable screen presence, and can definitely hold her own against Eleven actor Millie Bobby Brown.
Shipka was the breakout star of the final few seasons of Mad Men as Sally Draper, one of the only people in the world who could hold her father Don Draper (Jon Hamm) to account as he spiralled out of control again and again.
Those talents are put to fine use in Sabrina as she joyously embodies the teenage witch, making it look effortless (which it definitely isn’t).
She is charming, endearing and, when she needs to be, rather intimidating. It’s an alluring performance, and we can’t wait to see how her character develops over the course of a few seasons (season two has already been ordered).
2. There’s a teenage romance at play here too
In lieu of Mike and Eleven, we have Harvey (Ross Lynch) and Sabrina, a couple whose chemistry is, at the very least, much more earned than the Stranger Things duo, who have barely had a conversation (no shade to Mileven stans).
Harvey and Sabrina are already very much in love as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina begins, but they have plenty of obstacles to overcome over the course of the series: not least Sabrina’s dark baptism and imminent departure from Greendale for the Academy of Unseen Arts (a sort of evil Hogwarts).
On top of a couple of top notch jump scares, much of the dark imagery (dead children, hanging witches, demon-infested mines) is rather terrifying, and will linger beyond the credits rolling…
4. Teen camaraderie is alive and well in Greendale
Look, we’d be lying if we said that Sabrina’s Scooby Gang managed to match the chemistry between Stranger Things’ Mike, Lucas, Dustin and Dad Steve on their first run out, but Harvey, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) have their moments, especially when the females of the group band together to create a feminist society to prevent Susie from being bullied by the jocks of the school.
Like any supernatural teen worth her salt, Sabrina has a group of well-intentioned mortals watching her back – and we reckon their dynamic will become all the more interesting as the series progresses.
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5. It’s packed full of references to classic horror films
One of the best parts of watching Stranger Things is spotting all of the throwbacks to 80s culture. Though Sabrina doesn’t make as much of a thing of it, there’s a bunch of references to some horror films inlcuding The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
And, in the first episode, Sabrina and her pals head out to the cinema for a “Horrorthon” – a hat-tip from show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is evidently versed in horror tropes: among other projects, he wrote the screenplay for the 2013 movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie.
6. It’s the best teen drama of the year
Don’t be fooled by the name: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is absolutely nothing like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. While it’s got plenty of dark humour (often thanks to Brits Lucy Davis and Michelle Gomez, who play Hilda Spellman and Mrs Wardell respectively), the series is very much a supernatural teen drama in the vein of Stranger Things. And it hits most of its marks, too, drawing favourable comparisons with the queen of the genre, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Just because Stranger Things isn’t on Netflix this Halloween, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to binge: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is here to fill that hollowed-out pumpkin hole.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is released on Netflix on Friday 26th October 2018