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Photography Ben Toms

Kiernan Shipka is going to be the next Sabrina the Teenage Witch

The Mad Men actor takes on her biggest role yet in a dark version of the classic series

Kiernan Shipka played scene-stealing Sally Draper in Mad Men and now returns to our TV screens as the titular character in a dark remake of 90s classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch, set to air on Netflix.

In the UK it was always a treat to catch the comedy show, which ran from 1996 to 2003 and followed the story of teenage witch Sabrina Spellman, her aunts Zelda and Hilda and the deliciously sarcastic Salem the cat – plus Sabrina's motley collection of love interests and boyfriends.

However, this version of Sabrina will return the story to its dark roots. Initially conceptualised as a one-hour horror drama project called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the original Archie Comics character, the casting of Shipka makes total sense: the actor's emotive abilities give her a reach beyond comedy.

The project has now been extended to a full 10-episode series which will deal with occult witchcraft and will see Sabrina struggling to reconcile her half-witch half-mortal heritage and maintaining a normal life as a student at Baxter High, whilst protecting those she loves from evil.

The series will take inspiration from horror films like 1968's Rosemary's Baby and 1974's The Exorcist. It will air alongside Netflix's Riverdale, which is also based on Archie Comics. 

“Some people don't even know that Sabrina is in the Archie family," writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly. "There is absolutely a universe where Sabrina pops up in Riverdale or one town over in Greendale."

Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, he added: “We’re all such huge fans of Kiernan’s work that when we started talking about who this new incarnation of Sabrina could be, her name was on everyone’s wish list. This is a darker, more macabre version of Sabrina, and we’re incredibly excited for people to see Kiernan make this iconic character her own.”