After months of hints and speculation, on Wednesday The CW and Warner Bros. Television confirmed that they are developing a drama based on the Archie Comics series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, set to debut during the 2018-2019 TV season as a companion to the hit Riverdale.
But what should we expect from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and how will it be different from the 1990s Sabrina the Teenage Witch sitcom that starred Melissa Joan Hart?
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be based on the comic of the same name that Archie Comics's Archie Horror imprint has published irregularly since 2014. While it draws its cast and basic concept from the classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics Archie has published since 1962, the book, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and art by Robert Hack, has an altogether different tone. Where the original comic was lighthearted and silly, Chilling Adventures is outright horrifying, feeling much more like Scott Snyder and Jock's Wytches or Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook's Harrow County.
In his introduction to Chilling Adventures' first trade, Aguirre-Sacasa described the book's tone in comparison to its companion series, Afterlife with Archie: "If Afterlife was about Lovecraft and zombies and body horror, Sabrina would be more psychological, a bit more subtle (but only a bit), a bit more sexual (as stories about witches often are). There would be less humor than Afterlife, which strives for a Sam Raimi-vibe; this would be more like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist and The Omen and Arthur Miller's The Crucible.... A dark, occult coming of age story."
And, unlike Afterlife with Archie, which is set in an ambiguous present, Chilling Adventures is a period piece, firmly set in the mid-1960s, with the book's events set off by Sabrina's sixteenth birthday on Halloween night 1966—and the choices she must make. The period setting adds to the series' foreboding tone, helping it to instantly conjure up the psychological horror of the works that inspired it.