An older Millennial trying to embrace what makes her generation special.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Millennials Love Nostalgia: Comparing Sabrinas

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I didn't choose to have Sabrina the Teenage Witch in my life; it chose me.

The year was 1989 and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on a mall tour. The important thing to know is that in 1989, Archie Comics had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic.

Why is that important, you may ask?

In 1989, things were still very much gendered. Attendees of the mall tour each got a comic book, so even the little girls who were there to meet Raphael because he was best turtle ended up with a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic, instead of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book the boys got. Who knows what course life may have taken if they'd had Josie and the Pussycats that day, but my avid comic collecting started that day in 1989 when I was given a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic.

The point is, Sabrina is very near and dear to my heart. I kind of hedged on reading The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, because of my love of the original comic I had, but I was excited to see the new TV series.

I'm going to show my obsession with Sabrina Spellman. I own the complete series of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" on DVD. When the TV show was out, I had a Sabrina doll and the Sabrina magic crystal ball. I also chose to ignore the TV pilot move Sabrina the Teenage Witch which only starred Melissa Joan Hart and Michelle Beaudoin from the TV series - and Michelle Beaudoin played a character named Marnie instead of Jenny, like she played in the series.

In honor of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," I decided I wanted to compare the first episode of each. I actually watched the first three episodes of each because I was on a roll, but I'm only comparing the ways in which we were introduced to Sabrina.

In 1996, Sabrina's powers came to her as a complete surprise. Daughter of warlock Edward and mortal Diana, Sabrina was entrusted to the care of her aunts Hilda and Zelda to help her learn to use her powers. An inept Sabrina accidentally turns mean girl Libby Chessler into a pineapple, and when her aunts help her change Libby back into a human, Libby threatens to tell the whole school. Sabrina pleads her case to the Witch's Council and with a little extra behind the scenes persuasion from Hilda, the day resets and Sabrina gets a second chance to find a way to balance her witch and mortal lives.

In 2018, Sabrina knows she's a witch, and on her 16th birthday, she will have to sign her name in the Book of the Beast. Daughter of warlock Edward and mortal Diana, Sabrina was raised by her aunts Hilda and Zelda after her parents died in an accident. Three witches known as the Weird Sisters taunt and curse Sabrina, as they do not want her half-mortalness at their school. The closer it gets to Sabrina's birthday, however, the more she starts to question her dark baptism, as she does not want to leave behind the mortals she loves so dearly.

Besides the tonal differences, and the episode length difference - the first episode of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" is 61 minutes long, nearly three times the length of the first episode of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," there are some character differences. Salem is silent, which I'm okay with because they kind of have Ambrose to fill that role. Zelda, the older, sterner sister was wise and kind in the original series and is a homicidal bitch in the new one. Hilda, the younger, funner sister was ditzy but well meaning - and well, she still is. But she's also very smart and sympathetic. Sabrina is still Sabrina, but the way in which she must balance her mortal and witch lives has changed quite a bit.

So far, I'm obsessed with "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and can't wait to keep watching it, but I need a break. Three hours is a pretty long binge - that's nearly 9 episodes of the 90s series. All I know is if you were on the fence about watching the new series, you should still give it a try. I've been a Sabrina fan since 1989. That's nearly 30 years. If anybody could be disappointed, it would certainly be me and I'm far from it.


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