According to Chance Perdomo, who plays Ambrose Spellman in the upcoming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, he’s “the Alfred to Sabrina’s Batman.” I don’t think this means Sabrina’s going to be flying around using a witch utility belt, but I do think it means that Ambrose is likely to be an absolute fan favorite once the series airs. Based on the first episode, which fans got a sneak peak of at NYCC, he’s pretty much got my vote.
The pilot episode was screened as a treat for fans and not intended for review, so you’ll have to wait for an in-depth take on the sweet, playful, spooky, socially aware and—dare I say—charming hour of TV. Kieran Shipka is just right as the cheerfully witchy Sabrina (and very different from Melissa Joan Hart’s ’90s take on the character); Miranda Otto in extremely deadpan witch mode is perfection; Michelle Gomez should be in anything; we should all be so lucky as to have friends as good as Sabrina’s besties.
But dry, witty, delightful Ambrose steals his scenes. He looks like he’s not much older than Sabrina, but that’s not quite the case. He’s “an old soul,” Perdomo said during the Netflix & Chills panel. Noting that Ambrose is a pansexual person of color with depth, he said he finds the role “personally and artistically gratifying to play.”
And it’s safe to say that Ambrose is a bigger part of the story than the trailers thus far have suggested—and kind of a mystery. Why has he been under house arrest with Sabrina’s witch aunts, Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis) for so long? If he’s her cousin from England, why is he in Greendale? What does he do all day if he can’t leave the house?
Whatever the answers (pretty please don’t spoil them, comics readers!), the role was basically made for Perdomo: Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa first saw Perdomo when he auditioned for Jughead on Riverdale. That role, of course, went to Cole Sprouse. But Aguirre-Sacasa loved him, and said he wrote Ambrose with Perdomo in mind.
The other best tidbit from Netflix and Chills? The three cats that play Salem are named Shack, Edward, and Boomer. This isn’t your 1990s Sabrina the Teenage Witch Salem, but everyone seems to be already in love with the new cat on the block too, if the number of “Awww!”s his appearance elicited is any indication.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hexes Netflix on October 26th.