If you’ve watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS) on Netflix and you were also a fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch back in the 90s, you’re probably thinking that a lot has changed. We’ve broken down some of the ways that the two series differ.
In addition to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s much darker tone, here are 13 key differences between the 90s TGIF hit and the Netflix horror series. Proceed with caution — there are spoilers ahead!
In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart) finds out that she’s a half-witch on her 16th birthday. In CAOS, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) has been raised knowing that she’s half-mortal, half-witch. On her 16th birthday, she’s expected to go through with a dark baptism where she becomes a full member of the Church of Night.
In both series, Sabrina lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. In the 90s series, the sisters, played by Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, owned a clock shop. In CAOS, Miranda Otto’s Zelda and Lucy Davis’ Hilda own a mortuary which is also their home.
Sabrina’s parents were alive in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but they were divorced and living abroad. Edward and Diana Spellman died in a plane crash in CAOS, although their cause of death is called into question several times during the Netflix series.
Harvey Kinkle (Nate Richert) wasn’t Sabrina’s boyfriend when Sabrina the Teenage Witch began. They were friends who later became a couple. CAOS begins with Harvey (Ross Lynch) and Sabrina already an item. The 90s version of Harvey was a jock who enjoys fixing cars, but CAOS’ Harvey is into drawing and comics. Oh, and he’s from a family of witch hunters!
Cousin Ambrose is part of the Sabrina comics universe but never appeared on the 90s series. Instead, Salem, a talking cat, took on many of Ambrose’s characteristics on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. A former witch, 90s Salem was transformed into a cat for a plot to take over the world. As the Spellman family pet, he’s a sarcastic, snarky and self-centered.
On CAOS, Salem is Sabrina’s familiar, a goblin in animal form that only says a few words in the first episode. Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) is the witch being punished for an attempt to blow up the Vatican, and is on indefinite house arrest at the Spellman Mortuary.
Speaking of Salem, the feline is actually played by real cats on CAOS, not an animatronic cat like his 90s predecessor. At times, if one of the five cats playing Salem don’t cooperate for a scene, CGI is used instead.
The 90s series had more in common with the original Sabrina comics. CAOS is based on the book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, created for the Archie Horror imprint of Archie Comics. This version of Sabrina first appeared in Afterlife with Archie, also written by Aguirre-Sacasa.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was set in a fictional Boston suburb called Westbridge. In real life, Salem, site of the witch trials, is a suburb of Boston! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is set in Greendale, located near Riverdale, same as in the comics where Sabrina first came to life.
In the 90s, Sabrina went to Westbridge High. On CAOS, Sabrina divides her time between Baxter High and the Academy of Unseen Arts. Her witch education on Sabrina the Teenage Witch was conducted by Albert the Quizmaster, which had her taking a series of tests to get her witch’s license. Sabrina’s witch education in CAOS takes place at the Academy of Unseen Arts, led by Father Blackwood.
Besides Harvey, Sabrina had one close friend on the 90s series, the awkward, shy and very human Valerie. In CAOS, Sabrina has two good friends, Roz and Susie, who learn that they both have connections to the supernatural by the end of the first season.
Mean girls are everywhere, including both of Sabrina’s TV incarnations. In the 90s, Libby was the rich, popular mean girl cheerleader who called Sabrina and Valerie “freaks” as often as possible. On CAOS, the mean girls — Prudence, Agatha and Dorcas — are known as the Weird Sisters, a trio of witches who rule the Academy of Unseen Arts.
Twins are a recurring theme in both series. On Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina learns that all Spellmans are born as twins, and that she has an evil twin named Katrina. Twins keep popping up on CAOS, from a trippy dream sequence with Principal Hawthorne to Lady Blackwood giving birth to twins in the season finale. Although Sabrina doesn’t have a twin (yet) on CAOS, there’s an image of baby Sabrina beside a demon baby in one episode!
The magical world can be accessed from anywhere on CAOS, and witchcraft comes with being part of the Church of Night. It was much simpler on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, with the “Other Realm” accessed via a portal in the Spellman’s linen closet.
Ready to revisit CAOS? If you haven’t already, install Wiretap on your Chrome browser and comment as you watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
And if you want to see how the cast of Sabrina the Teenage Witch reacted to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, watch this fun video!