Joshua Conkel is a man who loves his job. An accomplished playwright already, Conkel was excited to find himself on the writing staff for Netflix’s dark new adaptation of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina“.
An offshoot of Archie Comics, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina began as a comic book offshoot to the classic series of comics and the new show technically takes place in the same universe as the CW’s “Riverdale”.
While there are few details available about the series, we do know that it will center on Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch half-human, who, approaching her 16th birthday must choose the path that she’ll follow.
A lifelong fan of horror, Conkel says it all began with final girls with him and working on the new series has been a dream.
“As an effeminate gay kid, final girls in horror movies were kind of like my avatars,” he said. “They survived these harrowing experiences and I could relate to that. In a way, I’m carrying on the tradition of writers like Tennessee Williams. All of his female characters stood in for the gay experience and for me, it was Laurie Strode and Nancy.”
Conkel says he could not have picked a better job for himself.
“It’s like a nine to five job, but it’s the coolest nine to five job ever,” the writer said. “It’s hardly ever an eight hour day because we share offices with Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] who’s also the show runner for ‘Riverdale’ so we end up sharing our days in the room with them.”
So, how does a playwright from the East Coast end up on the West Coast writing for Netflix?
“There are a lot of playwrights working in television in LA right now,” Conkel says. “I really think that’s why television has gotten so good. Theater focuses so much on character building and that works really well for television.”
It’s also one of the most diverse groups of people he’s had the opportunity to work with, including members from every part of the LGBTQ community, and he adds that viewers can expect the same from the series with queer characters from across the identity spectrum.
Just as important, though, is the fact that the staff is full of horror fans.
“Everyone in the room is super well-versed in horror. I don’t think I’ve ever had that experience before,” Conkel pointed out. “A lot of my friends don’t like horror movies, and it’s so cool to be able to drop a Nightmare on Elm Street 4 reference in the room and everyone gets it.”
With everything under way, the writers continue working on the series even as the first season is filming, and Conkel says that everyone is excited to see who the audience will ending up being for the series which was given a two season order from Netflix.
“On the one hand, it’s a teen soap opera like ‘Riverdale’ and on the other it’s a real horror show,” the writer said. “It’s very violent and it’s very scary and that’s definitely not for everybody. So many people loved ‘True Blood’ or ‘The Walking Dead’ but this mix is definitely going to make things interesting.”
We here at iHorror are certainly anticipating the series’ arrival and like Joshua Conkel, we can’t wait to watch “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” cast its spell.
Editor’s Note: Conkel’s horror screenplay Cold Spell was optioned this week by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson and Miramax!