Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S2, Ep6, The Missionaries, Review by Case Wright


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This is the first time in a long time where I rooted for the “villains” to kill off every character.  It’s a hard thing to watch a show you love slowly fail.  It’s like a bad relationship that slouches on from inertia and the inconvenience of setting up a separate bank account.  This is how I feel about CAOS.  I was really hoping that this episode would be the last one, but….not so much.

I would normally describe the director’s technique, but it’s Alex Pillai again and…man it has all the subtlety of a Lifetime MOW.  Not to say that I don’t REALLY like a good guilty pleasure lifetime live tweet, BUT that’s a different animal.  Lifetime movies are supposed to be campy and over the top ridiculous, but CAOS is supposed to bridge comics and realism and instead it’s just giggle-inducing borefest.

The episode opens with Nick being tortured by a guy who looks like a Mormon missionary who is about to chop his hands off.  Oh well, Nick kinda got on my nerves; maybe they’ll have to write a soupy episode featuring Nick titled: Who needs the clap?  Ambrose is still locked up without a shirt doing pull-ups.  This show has more gratuitous beefcake than Arrow season 1 and that is saying A LOT!  I do give Chance Perdomo credit on his abs.  I’m developing my abs and it is a process.  Chance, tip of the hat to committing to the shred!

The “Missionaries”of the episode aren’t really missionaries per se, but they ARE gorgeous blonde angels named Jerathmiel and Mehitable (Spencer Treat Clark and Bayley Corman)! I guess it makes sense that angels would be pretty, but WHOA!  It turns out these angels are avenging angels armed with the latest in …..Ancient Weaponry… wait, what?!  Why?!  Really, why are they armed with crossbows?  Most states just require a driver’s license to purchase any gun you want; let alone what you can get on craigslist.  This just seemed unnecessarily antiquated and dumb like really dumb….really!  Crossbows are heavy, awkward, take a long time load, hard to aim, and are ridiculous.  Bleh.

Jerathmiel and Mehitable spent most of the episode blundering through town trying to kill all of the witches of Greendale.  Why bother?  We already learned in previous episodes that the teenagers are unvaccinated and catch the Chicken Pox.  Just send in Jenny MacArthy’s measles carrying minions into town and you’ll have the whole town on its knees in matter of hours!

Jerathmiel and Mehitable catch most of the witches and start purifying the town.  I guess this says a lot about how the show has degraded because I really rooted for the Angels.  I thought to myself…Self, maybe they could just go full-on Hamlet?!!!!

This main plot is interwoven with the more compelling love story between Wardwell and Adam.  He wants to take her to Tibet.  She is about to accept when the Devil finds out about their escape plan, so the Devil turns Adam in Wardwell’s diner.  REALLY.  It’s really sad, but sets up a great revenge arc for Wardwell that looks MUCH more interesting than the primary storyline.

Jerathmiel and Mehitable have all the witches cornered and even put a few arrow bolts into Sabrina, but the Devil resurrects Sabrina and gets the Angels to renounce God and envelopes the angels in flames.  Honestly, I thought this scene was just plain terrible.  The angels spent the whole episode being intrepid crusaders, but they were easily cowed by a floating Sabrina?!  Really?! It came across as contrived.  The angels were so brave for the entire episode and then… nope.  It was just awful in an awful way, not like Lifetime which is bad in an AWESOME way.

I’m not sure what the show should do or where it should go, but it needs artistic honesty because without it, the suspense withers away like a dried out orange.

 

Sabrina S2 Ep1, Epiphany, Review with Spoilers by Case Wright


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October came early this year! It’s time to once again get down with the baddest witch this side of Massachusetts.  As you know from my previous reviews of this show, I’m a bit biased: I am a fan.  In fact, I was looking forward to this next installment since October. Well, I can say without a doubt that the Season 2 Premiere of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “Epiphany”, was an episode that was made.

A lot of shows go through a Sophomore Slump- the underwhelming return of a beloved show.  By the end of the episode, all the characters that were the most interesting were diminished.  It was still fun to watch and is very entertaining and it’s not Season 2 Stranger Things terrible, but I hold this show to a higher standard: and I mean it!!!!

Season 1 was all about failure and corruption.  Sabrina set out to save her town and herself.  Not only did she endanger her town, she became so corrupted by ego and hubris that the price was her very soul.  It was Shakespearean with a David Lynch vibe.  Season 2 was less than, not to say it can’t or won’t get back on track because it likely will, but this was not great.

The episode was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Showrunner) and directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan who did ….. okay. The direction had the suspense of wet toast.  Not everyone can do suspense and horror and this was sub-awesome.  It sufficed as a recap episode, but not much more.

The plot is that Sabrina wanted to become the “Top Boy” of the witch academy and her love interest Nick is the favorite because he’s a dude.  Suzie who is now Theo wanted to try out for the all-boys basketball team.  I was excited to see them fight the patriarchy and all that, but they did so in the weakest way possible: they cheated.  Sabrina needed to complete three trials versus Nick.  The first one: she won because the Weird Sisters (including Zelda) who for no reason at all like Sabrina now and gave her the answers.  This really bugged because it was not fair to her character.  She’s Sabrina! She’s supposed to be this badass; anyone can win by cheating.

This theme is further reinforced by Sabrina fixing a basketball game so Suzie could win.  Suzie wanted to get on the boy’s team, which is a fair challenge and a good one for this show to tackle, but she was legit terrible at the sport and could only win because Sabrina cheated for her.  This is not empowering. It showed that Sabrina had no faith in Suzie and most importantly it made Suzie look stupid because she never noticed that she went from the beginning of the game from being the Generals to the Globetrotters?!  Suzie was diminished, Sabrina was diminished, and I was insulted by it.  It would have been so much better if Suzie was like WTF?! Why am I so great all of a sudden and then saw that Sabrina was cheating for her, the smile fades from her face, and then Suzie walks off the court.  This would have set up some good conflict with Sabrina, especially since she doesn’t really have any foes right now.

Roberto Sacasa needs to understand the characters he created.  Suzie, Ros, and even Harvey to a MUCH lesser degree were very aware of what was going on around them throughout season 1, making Sabrina’s unnoticed intervention on Suzie’s behalf a lot tougher sell.

There was a subplot of  Evil Three King Demons trying to mess with Sabrina because they were afraid she would ascend.  This could get interesting.  My hopes are high on that one.   This series is still fun, but if it continues down this lazy path it will be more of a guilty pleasure that I watch on the elliptical or something on while I fold the laundry.

 

 

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, P1:E1, P1:E2, October Country and The Dark Baptism Review


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Sabrina isn’t just a teenage witch; she’s the new face of postmodern feminism.  Hidden in plain sight of the funny storylines and creepily quirky characters is a hard look at society, gender identity, and self-determination.  This show is a master class in how Horror, when done properly, can make a political statement.

In our society, we have a lot of words I don’t understand: hypermasculine – is where I assume you workout too much. The Patriarchy which is mentioned by name in the show.  I guess I’m technically part of the Patriarchy, but I must have missed my meetings because I never got a single check. Maybe, I was busy with the Illuminati and the Tri-Lateral Commision guys that week and they’re all about volunteering these days; I swear you sponsor one Children’s Hospital and you lose sight of the things that matter like World Domination.

In any case, all these new weird words, which I don’t understand and probably won’t bother to learn (because I barely have enough time to find me a sitter for date nights) is FREEDOM!  As a good Libertarian, I get all groovy over Freedom! This show gives me some serious gooseflesh because Sabrina is one BAD ….shut your mouth….Just talkin’ about Sabrina.  She is one Freedom-Lovin’ Witch and I can dig it!

Many 90’s folks like myself at least saw Sabrina on tv while flipping channels.  I didn’t watch it because….well, it looked….stupid.  This story takes that show and burns it to the ground and from the ashes rises a female empowerment story that made me want to take on this Mr Patriarch fellow who must workout A LOT and punch him right in (I’m assuming) his well-defined abs!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was adapted for Netflix by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Supergirl, Riverdale) from the eponymous comic.  The first two episodes were directed by Lee Toland who is definitely a David Lynch fan because everything looked off, but beautiful.  Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka- Mad Men) plays the burgeoning feminist theme perfectly.

Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda, Zelda, and her cousin Ambrose.  They are full-witches and want Sabrina to follow convention and subordinate herself to a Man (aka Satan) think of it like the 1950s, but with broomsticks. However, Sabrina is having doubts.  Her ambivalence is fueled from three facets: she’s in love with a mortal and not too bright boy named Harvey, her male peer classmates want to forcibly closet transgender students and need some ass whoopin, and lastly because she’s a FREEEEE BIRRRRRD Baby and this bird you cannot Chaaaaaaaain!

Sabrina’s aunts don’t like her rebellion or at least her Aunt Zelda doesn’t and calls in Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) to talk some sense into the young lass. He promises that she will still have free will and can walk away from Satan if she feels like it.  Well, I can’t blame her for being interested in it now.

As Halloween and her dark baptism approaches, she starts to seek out guidance outside of her family to make her decision to marry the devil.  The devil doesn’t take this sitting on his hooves and sends his minion Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez) to push her back onto the dark path and ward her away from the path of light by possessing one of the school’s teachers.  Ms. Wardell develops Sabrina’s confidence. She believes that if she helps Sabrina to ass whoop the boys who are harassing the LGBTQ kids at the school, she’ll be able to leave her old life behind for her new one with Satan. Sabrina gets some mean girl witches to aid her in giving the harassers a beat down, which is very gratifying in a CW kind of way.  Ms Wardell thinks that with this obstacle out of the way, Sabrina will get in line for Satan.

Halloween, Sabrina’s birthday arrives and dark baptism ceremony is at hand where she will become Satan’s Stay at Home Mom.   The ceremony is in the woods and looks sort-of like I’m guessing a furry convention, but with some books.  Sabrina must sign her name in the Beast Book and she is ALL-IN.  AHHHH, but Faustus Blackwood wants her give up all her autonomy to the Patriarch…I mean the Devil – see what they did there????  And, Sabrina’s like hooooooooold on; that’s not what you told me before.  Sabrina makes like a tree and gets out of there.

Her dark baptism passes and she remains a half witchy woman and she thinks everything is groovy.  But is it? She is called into the Principal’s office and she sits down with her principal (Bronson Pinchot).  It turns out the principal – Brandon Pinchot is NOT a Perfect Stranger- he’s the Devil and wants to take away Sabrina’s Freedom and turn her in some Stepford Stay at home mom and I’m not having it and neither is Sabrina!  Between the Devil vs Sabrina my money’s on Sabrina and I don’t think she’ll even have to fiddle for it!

Teaser Trailer: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

With each passing year since they decided to purchase and/or create original content for their streaming service, Netflix has continued to pump out more and more content to varying degrees of quality and success. For every Stranger Things or House of Cards, there would be 10 or so mediocre to just awful content, yet these are still content that the hundreds of millions of Netflix subscribers will watch.

Even now, shows that have been cancelled by the traditional networks have found a second life on Netflix to continue the series, albeit in a more streamlined version. There are no 20-24 episode seasons on Netflix. They prefer their series to be binge-able 10-13 episodes per season.

This October 26, just in time for Halloween, Netflix subscribers (plus those who borrow their friend’s account to watch Netflix) will see a new reinterpretation of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Just like CW Network’s Riverdale, this new Sabrina series on Netflix will have a much more darker take on the character that fans of the 1990’s series grew watching would be used to.

Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men will headline the series as the title character and if this teaser trailer is of any indication the series will definitely delve into much darker territory than the previous Sabrina series that aired on ABC.

I know one thing, I have a feeling that Lisa Marie will eat up this series, if just because of the last shot of the teaser trailer.