As a cat lover/black cat owner, as well as someone who considers Salem to be the best character from the original “Sabrina” TV series, I was pretty bummed to discover that Salem does not speak in Netflix’s new series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,“ despite the fact that he does talk in the comic series it’s based on. Not only does the new show’s Salem not have any sort of personality but he rarely even shows up at all, and little to no effort is made to establish any sort of relationship between Sabrina and her adorable goblin/feline Familiar.
But more importantly, why the hell doesn’t he talk?! Speaking with Indiewire this week, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained, and gave us some hope for the future.
“It felt like if you have a talking cat, it would almost inherently be funny and be a comedy,” Aguirre-Sacasa told the site. “As I was writing the comic book, I realized that when you read a comic book, you just read the words. You don’t necessarily see any characters’ lips move. ‘Oh, of course Salem should talk. It’s going to be like anyone else talking.’ When we did the show, [he doesn’t speak] partly to project the horror tone.”
He then teased, “That isn’t to say that Salem won’t talk in the future.”
In the final moments of season one, we do see that animal Familiars have the ability to speak “human,” but throughout the first season, whatever Salem is conveying at any given time can only actually be heard by Sabrina herself. All we hear is Salem meowing, as if he’s just a regular cat. I totally respect that Aguirre-Sacasa wanted to protect the show’s darker tone, but if you’re asking me, one of the biggest issues with “Chilling Adventures” is that it refuses to have any fun with the material. And Salem not speaking, well, that’s a perfect example of that flaw.
On a related note, new Sabrina actress Kiernan Shipka recently revealed that she’s actually allergic to cats, which probably explains why Salem is rarely on screen with her. Bummer!