To the surprise of no one, especially those already familiar with The CW’s Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale, the first season of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was a smash success for the streamer. Unlike the ‘90s ABC sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart, this television iteration of the character adopts a much darker and more mature approach to its storytelling. Yet despite all this, Netfflix is still going to put out a Sabrina Christmas special.
What is the Sabrina Christmas special about?
Titled A Midwinter’s Tale, the Sabrina Christmas special by no means is a departure from what the 10-episode first season has already established. Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), the human-witch hybrid who tried to avoid the first season’s “dark baptism” that would have required her to renounce her human half, is going to spend the holidays with her two witch aunts, Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto). Yes, that’s right. Witches celebrate
Christmas the Winter Solstice every year by singing pagan carols and telling ghost stories while gathered around the fire.
Of course, A Midwinter’s Tale isn’t just the festive gathering of Sabrina, her two aunts, her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) and their friends inadvertently celebrating the Christmas spirit. It’s also another solid mixture of fantasy, horror and intrigue that not only pits the titular hero against a new challenge, but also spends some time telling viewers all about Sabrina’s past.
The first season provided brief glimpses, albeit through other characters’ exposition, into the life of the young Sabrina Spellman. In A Midwinter’s Tale, audiences get to see first hand what she was like thanks to the casting of McKenna Grace, who plays a much younger and precocious version of the half-witch. The special also adds Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Alexis Denisof as Mary Wardwell’s (Michelle Gomez) unsuspecting boyfriend Adam Masters and Jedidiah Goodacre as literary character turned nightclub owner Dorian Gray.
New casting additions and story beats notwithstanding, A Midwinter’s Tale very much feels like a bonus episode as much as a special. For starters, its runtime comes in a just under an hour, which puts in square in the average length of a season one episode. Of course, that’s not to say that it is an absolute requirement that potential Chilling Adventures of Sabrina novices will have to watch the entire first season before checking it out, but a little foreknowledge of who’s who and what’s what wouldn’t hurt.
When is the Sabrina Christmas special?
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale streams Friday, Dec. 14, on Netflix.