The Best Deviations From The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Books to TV
***Obvious Spoiler Warning***
It goes without saying that The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina made some big changes from the books as it was adapted to TV. But guess what? That didn’t change how amazing this first season turned out to be. It may seem crazy, but I think it is safe to say that the show had a more compelling story than the book. Not hard to believe since the writer of said book did have a part in the show, though also a bit disappointing since the show is already ahead of the slow-releasing book. So, my purpose today is to focus on the good changes they have made. Anyone with an opinion can reach for something wrong.
Lets start with my favorite of the deviations from the books, Ambrose, the charming warlock played by actor Chance Perdomo. I can still remember him from the older stories and old live-action series. He wasn’t all too memorable of a character. Particularly for someone who is a Spellman. The changes and attention they gave to him this time around made a big difference to our investment in the role he plays. Ambrose has a young face, but never more has he been the well of wisdom and reason. His age showed through his clothing choice, his mannerisms, everything else that doesn’t show on the surface. When Sabrina is such a handful being herself, there was nothing wrong at all with Ambrose becoming someone who doesn’t indulge in her shenanigans. Well maybe he did once, but that was harmless fun to help Sabrina ease into her big night. Aside from that? Ambrose was someone who well represented what it means to face consequences for his actions as a warlock. Changing his actions from world domination to trying to blow up the Vatican was no problem at all. He knows there are lines you don’t cross, and he crosses very few lines knowing this. What I appreciated the most about Ambrose was how they tackled his sexuality on top of being a warlock. He is pansexual, but that doesn’t define him. He is lustful, but that only addresses what lust means for witches and warlocks. He can love, but that doesn’t distract him from the risks to love, or where his devotions will lie at the end of the day.
Madam Satan is next on the list for me. Who better to play this woman than Michelle Gomez herself? Honestly, I couldn’t see another person in that role after her performance. The comic version was originally a witch named Iola and was Edward Spellman’s girlfriend until he broke up with her for Diana Sawyer. After this Heartbreak she chose suicide by throwing herself into a lion pen. Thus her return from the afterlife created a thirst for revenge against anyone with the name Spellman. However, that is not her story in the show. Now she is Lilith, the first wife of Adam from the Garden of Eden and the mother of Demons. That and also Satan’s lover and foot soldier. A big upgrade for the character and it works wonders for her as a villain of the series. Where her motivations were petty before, now they are fueled with the need to prove herself as a foot solider and someone worthy of being by Satan’s side. When Gomez got into her role, there was nothing but embrace for being evil. She enjoyed it, the strings she could pull on to get what she wants, and the excitement of very few knowing her true goals in Greendale. Even her narration of events was delightful since she was speaking as someone who knew she had checkmate from the very start. That shroud of mystery is brilliant for the way she slips into the role without giving anything away till it was time to reveal all.
How we now have an Academy of Unseen Arts and the Weird Sisters was an excellent addition to the show. Nothing is more engaging than being able to interact with more who were born into the world of magic. We always had Aunt Hilda, Zelda, and Ambrose, but they had a stronger connection to the mortal world. This is an academy and a set of characters who were fully into their devotion to the Night King, and their own affairs. I like that when it came to the Academy, they didn’t go over the top to try to give us a magical feeling. They kept true to the grim atmosphere of being witches and wizards whether it was the location of the school or the interior design. The we have the Weird Sisters. They are a more terrifying trio than the Stepford Cuckoos (X-Men). I loved that they avoided the cliche of trios like this being of one mind or without individuality. They were each their own witch and had some way of standing out for the way that they carried themselves.
Lastly, we have Edward Spellman left as a good man. In the books we have Edward who is all the same praised, but there’s no telling what to expect when you decide that he deserves a second chance of life in Harvey’s body. It complicates things less when we aren’t worrying about his misdeeds, needs for revenge, or how awkward it is that he is last seen still pretending to be his daughter’s boyfriend. This all works well for the books, but there’s no telling how this would all seem in live-action. If there was anything they could have dodged more than anything else, it was this. Which also does bring us to the added liberty taken for it to be Harvey’s brother instead of himself who died. The strength of the writing for the show shined through their ability to give us characters who could indirectly influence our major characters in big ways.