Sabrina the Teenage Witch Is Coming Back & It Looks Spectacular

Toronto, Canada - September 13 - Actress Kiernan Shipka poses for a portrait at the unopened restaurant FIGO, during TIFF in Toronto on September 13, 2015. Cole Burston/Toronto Star

Despite this winter’s relentless grasp on our hearts, minds, and underdressed bodies (I refuse to wear boots — I refuse), a beautiful thing happened this week that must be acknowledged: we’ve been given photographic evidence that the Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot is happening and looks sensational.

Simply titled Sabrina and starring Kiernan Shipka (and Ross Lynch as Harvey), the Netflix series is a Riverdale spin-off and will be darker and grittier than the series that introduced us to Sabrina Spellman. In fact, it’s based on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (the comic) and reportedly “reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and — of course — witchcraft.”

Which, like, freaked me out at first. I grew up on Melissa Joan Hart and TGIF-appropriate storylines that revolved around, like, prom. And I, a 32-year-old woman who is somehow invested in programming that targets teens and twenty-somethings, wasn’t sure if I was ready to depart from storylines that saw Salem dressed up in various costumes while Sabrina said, “Gotta go.” But then I saw this photo, and reader: I am.

Here’s the thing about reboots: they can’t, nor will they ever be, the original. It’d be bizarre to see Shipka impersonate her predecessor, especially since she showed us how well she excels at drama during her reign as Sally Draper. Plus, we’ve seen how much we love a dark and stormy reimagining of something typically the opposite. Remember when Riverdale was awesome? (Seriously, please, just forget about this current season.) Remember how invested we all were? (Again, I say, never speak of this current season to me again.) Remember when Jughead gave the “I’m weird” speech? (If Harvey does something similar I will scream into the abyss and refuse to stop.) Dark and gritty can be fantastic, especially if sprinkled with the perfect amount of camp.

And I think that’s what we want anyway. We want to remember our youth, not relive it. (I hope?) We want to escape into a world that isn’t ours, not marinate in the realities of living where we are and through what’s happening — or escape so far that we’ve got a laugh track. We want a teen series that’s good and cute and funny and over-the-top (again, without being the second season of Riverdale) and has a good soundtrack so we can revel in feelings we hadn’t felt since The OC (seasons one and two, obviously). We want, to put it plainly, whatever version of Sabrina is selling. And by “we” I mean “me.” Because I have been watching Mad Men all winter, and I would follow Kiernan Shipka into the cold, dark night.

FYI: Here’s the new Salem in the show’s reboot:

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, Kiernan Shipka, Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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