I Love and Don't Get The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

There is a lot to love about the feminism of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but also... they really effed up the whole world building thing.
Fan Art by gutostrifeart.

I have recently torn my way through The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

I loved it! It is like all the cheesier episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrapped up in a graveyard. It's about a young woman who has terrifying things happen to her and faces them with very little fear. A bat flies through her window or she sees the claw marks of a beast on her windowsill, and what does she do? Not yelp in fear! She just groans that there will be something else to deal with. It's amazing!

But also... it's got some weird problems.

Problem #1: In this world, witches are literal satan-worshippers, and the satanic religion is just holiness-reversed version of the Catholic church. Like all the same structures and roles of the Catholic church, but "unholy" this and "dishonourable" that. This is a source of cheesiness so profound that the feeling of your eyes rolling distracts you from the story.

Problem #2: Because of this the world of the witches is SUPER sexist! This is totally off-kilter for how witchcraft is supposed to work in real or imaginary life. In almost all fictional witch lore, witches are organized in super feminist or matriarchal systems. In the real world, Wicca is the closest thing to a feminist religion that exists. If I were a witch, I would be super offended. (And actually, the witches aren't but the Satanists are! The Satanic Temple is suing the show.)

Problem #3: They made a terrible mistake. They showed us Satan. Unsurprisingly, it's very, very lame. He is a slightly-larger-than-human walking goat with claws that is supposed to be creepy but is really not. If he is the big power manipulating them all, the one to fear and worship and fight for (or against), then just mayyyyybe he would have been better left to the imagination.

(VAGUE SPOILER ALERT!) I truly disliked the ending. It went against everything Sabrina was doing for the entire season and could potentially destroy all the charm of the show moving forward. However, if there's one thing I can trust it's that they'll find a lame excuse to keep her a plucky little do-gooder in the witch world, even if it also makes very little sense.

I realize this is a trashy teen soap opera wrapped up in the world of witchcraft, just like Riverdale is a trashy teen soap opera dressed up like the Archie comics, but the whole thing feels like it wasn't thought through. At all. It feels like a child raised in the Catholic church played make-believe about Satan worshippers and they just wrote it all down.

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