Harvey Kinkle is one of the most important elements of the “Sabrina” mythos.
He’s Sabrina’s best friend, or lover, or secret crush, depending on the version of the story that’s being told. Sometimes he’s a lovable goof, sometimes, a knight in shining armor, but he’s always dependable and charming.
Ross Lynch, who played Austin Moon in the Disney Channel original series “Austin & Ally,” has been cast as the new lead in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” the Netflix series derived from the same source material, Archie Comics, as the series “Riverdale.”
Lynch’s casting certainly shows that this series is going in a different direction with the character. While he’s by no means a bad looking guy, he’s certainly not the stereotypical, square-jawed, and slightly oblivious-looking Harvey who was played by Nate Richert in the sitcom that everyone remembers most keenly.
This fits to a certain extent with the “Riverdale” aesthetic — neither Archie nor Jughead are particularly macho, and that’s probably part of the reason why the show connects with an audience that’s tired of seeing big, grizzled dudes struggle to express their feelings for fear of exposing their own fragile insecurities.
This also works with Harvey’s new backstory, as the latest in a long line of witchhunters who finds himself falling in love, presumably unknowingly, with a teenage witch. Ross Lynch’s occasional turn in serious roles shows that he can pull off this kind of duality, so depending on how the series is written, he ought to be able to manage this nuance just fine.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what kind of show “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” will turn out to be. It’s connected to “Riverdale,” but not explicitly so; it’s reworking existing characters to make them more interesting; it’s cast Missy from “Doctor Who” but gone with a boring old live action cat for Salem Saberhagen.
Will Ross Lynch fit into this weird mess of ideas? That remains to be seen.
He’s an odd choice to anyone who’s familiar with the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to knock it out of the park once he’s in character.