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The Next Season of Netflix's Supernatural 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' is as Dark as it is Delightful
January 24, 2020  | By David Hinckley

If Chilling Adventures of Sabrina were a bottle of wine, it might be described as ritualistic, but oddly charming.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina moves into its second season Friday when Netflix rolls out what is officially Part 3, the first season having been divided into two parts.

Much of the show's charm, then and now, comes from the splendid performance of Kiernan Shipka (top), formerly of Mad Men, as Sabrina Spellman.

Sabrina is half-witch, half-human, and she's trying to shoehorn those two rather complex and time-consuming roles into the same life.

Her human side has her at Baxter High School, being a teenager who acts in school plays and tries out for cheerleading.

Her witch side has her starting her training in the dark arts under a more intense and sometimes menacing group at the Academy of the Unseen Arts, whose dean is Father Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle).

He and Sabrina do not always get along. Qualities that can be considered spirited at Baxter, like challenging authority, are frowned upon at the Academy.

Sabrina is also coached in the dark arts by the aunts with whom she lives, the more indulgent Hilda (Lucy Davis) and the stricter Zelda (Miranda Otto).

Sabrina at first tried to keep her lives separate, right down to shielding people like her Baxter BFF Roz (Jaz Sinclair).

But that turned out not to work so well, and then things got really tangled between her sweet and unsuspecting Baxter boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch), and a warlock at the Academy, Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood).

Some of it is reminiscent of regular old teen romance drama, but it gets more complicated than that once we also factor in the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord, who definitely is not human, rules the witch world Sabrina is entering and makes Sabrina's whole life, including her love life, difficult.

What further doesn't help in the new season is that Lilith (Michelle Gomez), who stole the identity of Sabrina's favorite human teacher, Mary Wardwell, is trying to use Sabrina as a pawn in her campaign to become the Dark Lord's queen.

Okay, to fully understand that last sentence, you probably had to be there. The short version is that Sabrina has to sort some things out with the Dark Lord while being careful not to defy him openly. Being a Dark Lord comes with certain powers that can have a profoundly negative impact on, say, friends and family of his targets.

So Sabrina must navigate that world while protecting both friends within that world and mortal pals, including Harvey, Roz, and their trans friend Theo.

It's a fast-moving ride that, believe it or not, isn't as complicated to follow as it may sound. The trappings of witchcraft, like spells, seem pretty easy to follow, and while some of the devilish characters disguise themselves, their manners and expressions leave little doubt who's on which side. Or on witch side.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will obviously resonate most strongly among those who are themselves half human and half witch. For the rest of us, watching the plucky Sabrina dance through the minefield can still be quite entertaining.

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