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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is Riverdale turned inside out. Netflix's witchy drama, which returns for the second half of its first season on Friday (though you'd be forgiven for thinking of it as Season 2), shares a universe with The CW's angsty teen hit — but the scope of the action is inverted, shrunk down until it's comically mundane. In Part 2, the devil himself comes to our heroine at night and tests her loyalty by asking her to steal a pack of gum. If Riverdale's central thesis is that forming a vigilante gang is normal small-town teen stuff, Sabrina pivots on the idea that stealing gum is normal Satanic cult stuff.
That's not a complaint. The most entertaining thing about Sabrina is its ability to go over-the-top precisely by keeping the story small — much smaller than it logically should be. The series flirts around the possibility of a world-ending apocalypse, but the devil seems way more concerned with getting Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) a better part in her school play. ("Dark Lord, I'm the understudy," Sabrina hisses, like she's talking to her overeager best friend in a '90s teen comedy.) Meanwhile, Madame Satan (Michelle Gomez) is trapped in the mortal public education system at Baxter High, where she is now principal because she ate the previous principal. Sabrina is a bad show that ate a hilarious show.
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There's some campy fun to be had in Part 2, which finally dives into the fanciful occult realm Sabrina only dipped her toes into last season. Now that our young half-witch, half-mortal has signed her name in the Book of the Beast, she's ready to embrace her studies at the Academy of Unseen Arts, a magical boarding school with rich traditions, secret societies, and an open affinity for Red Riding Hood cosplay. The...
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