The witching hour is near! October 31st (Halloween day) marks the birthday of Sabrina the Teenage Witch herself, Sabrina Spellman! YEM fans of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will likely remember the trailer for the final season of the series opened with everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to Sabrina (played by Kiernan Shipka) on her big day.
The character of Sabrina Spellman has had quite a history over the years. Originally appearing in Archie comics in October 1962, Sabrina later received her own comic series in April 1971. Over the course of three different Sabrina volumes, a total of 213 issues were completed, spanning four decades. Then in November 2018, a five-issue Sabrina comics mini-series was released, likely to capitalize on the character’s growing fame on the Netflix live-action series.
Outside of the comics, Sabrina has made her biggest mark on television. Sabrina had her own animated series in the 1970s which ran for four seasons. She then had another animated series in 1999 (which later included another Sabrina spinoff series), followed by yet another animated show in 2012. However, many fans will best remember Sabrina for the 1996 live-action show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which aired for 7 seasons, spawned 3 made-for-television movies, and released an impressive music soundtrack, with a who’s who of the pop music world at the time (ex. Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, among others).
The 90s live-action comedy series starred Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina (who’s likely best known as the Mom from No Good Nick on Netflix to many YEM fans). However, to an earlier generation, she is also fondly remembered for playing Clarissa Darling on the early 90s Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains it All.
While Sabrina’s story has varied in its portrayal over the years, there are some similarities in most versions. Sabrina struggles during her process to master her powers and is often influenced by her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda. Sabrina has a boyfriend named Harvey, who’s a mortal that’s unaware Sabrina’s a witch. Sabrina also has a cat by the name of Salem. In the 90s sitcom, Salem developed more of a backstory: Salem was a former witch, turned into a cat as punishment by the Witches Council. In the show, Salem could also talk, which soon prompted Archie comics to have him do the same in their version.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was a darker take on the Sabrina story. Sabrina had to reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threatened her, her family, and the rest of the daylight world. While it is sad the show is no more, it was given a proper ending and this frees up Sabrina to be part of Riverdale going forward. Even though Sabrina died in the Chilling Adventures series finale, Lilith stabbed Lucifer with the Spear of Longinus, breaking his curse on her and returning her powers. If the witches of Greendale turned to her, they could theoretically link her power to the Cain Pit to resurrect Sabrina. There could also be other explanations of her resurrection as well.