In just three seasons, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina — the glamorous, wicked Riverdale spin-off — has morphed from a campy teen horror comedy into a dark, intense melodramatic series exploring topics ranging from patriarchy to sexual assault to earth-based religion.
The balance of coming-of-age angst to tongue-in-cheek satanic antics is deftly achieved by an increasing focus on older characters, who, it turns out, have just as much drama as the teens of Greendale. And, being witches, the drama is pretty high stakes.
The Netflix series has always had plenty of subtle references to the history and folklore of witchcraft and paganism, but the newly-dropped third season is digging into much deeper, darker territory. But how accurate are the witchcraft tropes? Please allow a practicing witch with two decades’ of experience to summarise what this show is doing right, and where it needs to burn the midnight oil.
(A caveat: Even among those long-time practitioners, there is often disagreement about what "real" witches do. Some will disagree with the norms and standards I have suggested. I don't speak for all witches.)
Warning: spoilers ahead for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 on Netflix.