Sabrina the Teenage Witch introduced many to the character that was first introduced in the 1960s through Archie Comics. It was a lighthearted, innocent sitcom that told the story of Sabrina as she came to terms with the fact that she was half-witch and half-mortal. There were plenty of jokes and fun to be had in every episode.
In 2018, Netflix produced its own adaptation in the form of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Even a quick glimpse at the new series would tell you that the two shows are very different. Changes ranging from the setting to the way characters are portrayed are to be expected when a show is brought back. However, this new drama has many more crazy changes you might not have been aware of.
20 Salem No Longer Speaks
One of the most dramatic and noticeable changes in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is that Salem no longer talks. The black cat only communicates with his witch companion in the same way that a normal cat would. This is largely because Salem is not a person, but rather a goblin familiar that transforms into a cat to remain hidden from mortals.
19 Sabrina’s Parents Aren't Alive
Over the course of the '90s sitcom, Sabrina’s parents are mentioned very rarely. It is eventually revealed that they divorced and moved, leaving Sabrina in the care of her aunts. In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the character has a far more tragic backstory. Her parents passed in a tragic accident that left her an orphan. They also play a bigger role as their death is a central mystery in the overall plot.
18 Sabrina Has To Go Through A Dark Baptism
As part of her journey to become a full-fledged witch, Sabrina had to take a variety of tests and discover her family secret. Doing all of this before she turned 18 in the 90s sitcom would allow her to get her witch license. However, in the new Netflix series, there aren’t any pop quizzes, but instead something known as the Dark Baptism that initiates her as a witch.
17 It Tells A Continuous Story
Although Sabrina the Teenage Witch did have somewhat of an overall arc, with the main character getting older and growing into her powers, it was not strictly a continuous show. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina tells a story it follows on with each new episode. There is an overall narrative that impacts every single episode rather than each having their own separate plot.
16 Cousin Ambrose Shows Up
In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, cousin Ambrose never actually appeared as a character. He plays an important role in the comics and has also been introduced in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He acts as a sarcastic and funny sidekick for Sabrina in her adventures throughout much of the comic book stories, but this role was replaced by Salem in the 90s show.
15 Witches Are Part Of The “Church Of The Night”
Witches follow a religion in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina known as the Church of the Knight. It is led by a high priest and the follows worship the Dark Lord Satan. This is completely different from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In that show, witches lived in a completely different realm that could be accessed through a special closet door in the Spellman house.
14 Chilling Adventures Is Based More On Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Comics
While both Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina both use comic books as their source material, they use very different versions as inspiration. The original series used the initial comics, which were far lighter in tone and much more innocent. On the other hand, the new show uses Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s more mature comic books as the basis for its stories.
13 Harvey And Sabrina Are Already Together
One of the main features of Sabrina the Teenage Witch was the relationship between Sabrina and Harvey Kinkle. The pair were close friends at the beginning. but soon started to express romantic feelings for each other before finally becoming a couple. Things are a bit different in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Here, the two characters are already in a relationship.
12 It's Far Scarier And Lacks Much Of The Humor Of The 90s Show
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was known for being a show that the whole family could watch. It made Melissa Joan Hart a star with an innocent image because of this. However, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a completely different tone. Rather than being innocuous fun, it features darker stories with plenty of gore and horror elements.
11 Harvey Is From A Family Of Witch Hunters
Unlike the 90s show, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gives Harvey a far more complicated backstory. He is not simply a romantic partner for Sabrina, but has a family history that is slowly revealed throughout the first season. It is finally revealed that Harvey’s family are actually descendants of renowned witch hunters. This leads to some tension between the pair due to their family ties.
10 Sabrina Signs Over Her Life To Satan
In order to become a witch and embrace the world of magic in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the half-mortal has to take part in the Dark Baptism. It is just as sinister as it sounds. Sabrina must sign the Book of the Beast, effectively signing her life over to Satan and pledging her loyalty to the demonic lord.
9 Salem Is Played By A Real Cat
Perhaps the funniest character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch was Salem the cat. On the 90s sitcom, the character was a 500-year-old witch who had been turned into a cat as punishment for trying to take over the world. In comparison, the new show has Salem as a goblin that has taken the form of a cat. The new version is also played by a collection of real-life cats while the original was an animatronic puppet.
8 The Academy Of Unseen Arts Is Where Witches Learn Magic
Unlike in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where witches would learn about their powers and abilities in an informal manner, Sabrina attends a boarding school in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Known as the Academy of Unseen Arts, it is a far more rigid setting for learning about magic and teaches students about the dark elements involved in being a witch.
7 They're Set In Completely Different Locations
Even the locations where each show is set is completely different. The original Sabrina the Teenage Witch took place in Boston, in a fictional town called Westbridge. Meanwhile, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes place in Greendale, a town that is very close to the town of Riverdale from the Archie canon.
6 Zelda And Hilda Are Darker
In the original 90s sitcom, Sabrina’s aunts act not only as guardians but as mentors into the world of magic. The same is true of the Netflix show, expect that now both Zelda and Hilda have lost much of their humor and fun-loving nature. They are far darker and get involved in activities, such as rituals and relationships, that they would never have before.
5 Sabrina Grows Up Knowing She Is A Half Witch
Although both series start at the same point in Sabrina’s life, at her 16th birthday, they do not have the character starting from the same place with their knowledge of magic. Sabrina only learns that she is a half-witch when she reaches that age in the original sitcom. However, in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the character has known about her heritage all through childhood.
4 There’s A Lot Of Violence
Death was not something that any of the characters in Sabrina the Teenage Witch had to deal with. Things are very different in Netflix’s adaptation. In the show, witch hunters will slay any witches they find rather than turning them into mice, while resurrections and murder are things that are far more common.
3 The Witch Is Far More Political
Sabrina was never afraid to let other’s known her opinions or stick up for others in the 90s sitcom. However, that is nothing compared to the activism that she is involved in at various points in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. She is a strong feminist, doing what she can to protect her fellow females at school by setting up activist organizations.
2 Sabrina Now Has More Friends
Typically, Sabrina only had one or to close friends at a time in the sitcom. People like Roxie, Jenny, and Valerie would offer support at varying times, along with Harvey. That’s not the case in the latest show, where Sabrina has a larger cast to characters to confide in. In addition to her boyfriend, Ros, Susie, and her cousin Ambrose are all close friends.
1 Chilling Adventures Takes Inspiration From Harry Potter And Star Wars
The new show uses tropes that were common in Star Wars and Harry Potter. In particular, the idea that great powers can easily corrupt someone and be misused. As Sabrina gets access to more powerful magic as the show progresses, she becomes more capable of doing evil things as well as bad things. These are combined with other elements, such as the challenges she has to do at school to prove herself to her mentors and fellow classmates.
Sources: The Verge, Variety