Sabrina the Teenage Witch is officially coming back to a television screen near you, but don’t expect a laugh track or a poorly-disguised robot cat this time around. The new version of Sabrina will be a dark, gritty reboot with a serious focus on the supernatural, with producers drawing comparisons to The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby.
This week, it was announced that former Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka will play the title role in the untitled Netflix series, based on the comic book The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
As a child actress, Shipka earned praise from critics and audiences for her intense portrayal of young Sally Draper across all seven seasons of Mad Men.
Now 18 years old, Shipka returned to the spotlight last year to play Bette Davis’ daughter, B.D. Hyman, in the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan.
When the new Sabrina series was first announced in September, it was intended to air on The CW as a spinoff of the network’s popular series, Riverdale.
Although Riverdale has lacked any supernatural elements so far, it too is a gritty reboot of the Archie Comics line, so a new Sabrina series made sense.
In fact, both Riverdale and the new Sabrina series are based on recent comic book revivals for the characters that struck similar dark tones.
With The CW’s schedule already overcrowded, the network was forced to pass on the new Sabrina series, allowing Netflix to pick it up instead.
It’s unknown whether the show will retain any ties to Riverdale now, but it will feature much of the same behind-the-scenes team, including producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger. Netflix is showing early confidence in the project, greenlighting it for two episodes of ten episodes each. The new Sabrina series is expected to debut in late 2018 or early 2019.