Kiernan Shipka has just been cast as Sabrina Spellman in Netflix's adaptation of The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. Like The CW's Riverdale, with which it shares producers, it will be a dark teen drama set in the world of the Archie comics, more Stranger Things than Sabrina The Teenage Witch. The TGIF show many readers may remember never got darker than a missed chemistry final or (gasp!) accidentally scheduling two dates on the same night, but in the Chilling Adventures series, which is set a town away from the fictional Riverdale and in the 1960s, there's dark magic, demonic possession, and even murder.
Shipka, best known for her roles as Sally Draper on another famously '60s-set show Mad Men and as BD on Feud: Bette and Joan, is the surest sign yet that this show is going to be your next obsession because, listen, she's absolutely perfect to lead a gritty version of Sabrina.
First of all, she has great style, which isn't so much a prerequisite for the show (which will, presumably, have a wardrobe department) as it is for the rest of us who are going to be seeing its young stars everywhere. Kiernan is cute as hell on a red carpet.
Second, she's used to adult dramas. That Cole Sprouse can pull of moody Jughead Jones after so many years in the Disney school of acting while always smiling is impressive, since lots of child actors develop bad habits after too long on a family sitcom. Not so much an issue for Shipka. Basically her main job on Mad Men was to be believably young (moody, vulnerable, shy, bratty), and she knocked it out of the park. There's a reason why the actor playing Bobby Draper was replaced every few seasons while Shipka is forever the one and only Sally. She even told W that she loves The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter, and wishes she could go to the prom. This show is basically making her magical high school dreams come true.
But mostly, it just speaks to the level of talent and care we can expect to see from the whole Sabrina team. The show will be executive produced by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, chief creative officer for Archie comics and a prolific TV writer who, not coincidentally, created Riverdale and wrote the Chilling Adventures comics. Since this new Sabrina adaptation is possibly a Riverdale spin-off, it was at first slightly suspect when the show landed at Netflix instead of The CW, but this latest casting indicates that the streaming service might want to go more high-brow than a teen network. Also, Shipka is friends with Lorde and if Netflix can't get Lorde to cameo as a fellow witch, then what is it even good for?