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Top 5 Differences Between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina & Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Witch Do You Prefer?

Ever since Sabrina Spellman’s dark return to television in Netflix‘s reimagination of the widely recognized Archie Comics character, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, fans everywhere have been debating which classic iteration of the teenage witch reigns supreme. Unfortunately, this is a debate that may never be settled given the number of differences between each version. Since most of the comparisons are tied to the popular 1996 sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, for this list, we’ve decided to compare the stories, characters, and world of the 2018 Netflix show with this, much less chilling, predecessor. So settle in for a bewitching good time.

#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.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch” #76 (Nov. 1982). Cover art by Stan Goldberg. Original title is stylized “Sabrina: The Teen-Age Witch”

#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.

Have you been keeping up with the new “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” series on Netflix? How does it compare to the classic 90s sitcom?

For the complete list of differences you need to know, check out the video below for our pick of the Top 10 Differences Between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina & Sabrina the Teenage Witch!


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