I’ve been an Archie fan since I was a kid, reading old back issues that my Dad and his siblings still had at my grandma’s house. I was reading Archie before I was reading other comics, so I know these characters very well.
When I first heard of the CW doing a tv series based off the iconic characters I was questioning how good it could be at first, but I decided to check it out anyway and I’m here to talk about it today.
Riverdale is essentially Archie by way of Pretty Little Liars. One of the richest families in the small town, The Blossoms, is beset by tragedy as one of their children, Jason (Trevor Stines) is found murdered, and anyone in Riverdale is a suspect, including Archie (KJ Apa- A Dog’s Purpose)
Alongside the murder mystery, we get a twist on the classic Archie character archetypes, the Betty (Lili Reinhart-The Kings of Summer) /Archie/Veronica (Camila Mendes) triangle, his friendship with Jughead (Coke Sprouse-Suite Life of Zack and Cody) and more.
The Good- I really think this was the way to bring these characters to this teen generation, they have just enough of their spirit and classic Easter Eggs for fans to keep them interested and your standard teen drama stuff to keep the kids interested.
The cast is phenomenal, KJ Apa plays a great Archie, and his chemistry with both Betty, Veronica, and Jughead all felt real to me. Also, I loved the casting of teen idols of my generation’s past Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald to play Archie’s parents. As well as Skeet Ulrich (Scream) as Jughead’s troubled, but shady Dad.
The writing is top notch as well, the series is overseen by Archie Comics superfan turned writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, so nothing feels out of place for the characters.
Also I love that they included Josie and the Pussycats in with the characters, and that they are a black girl pop rock group in the series, diversifying the characters up but in a way that feels natural, while still keeping the “long tails and ears for hats” iconic accessories.
The Bad- The style of the show, muted colors and such, is a bit on the nose at times like, hey look we’re dark and edgy, almost made me laugh unintentionally at times, but not as much as the overly obvious Cover Girl product placement shots. No sense of subtlety at all, just an in focus shot on the brand of makeup a character is using while the rest of the shot is out of focus. Come on now..it’s so terrible it’s funny.
It’s a very fast paced and definitely bingeable first season, full of plot twists and turns and a good cliffhanger that will leave you wanting to watch season 2 right now. I’ll give Riverdale a B+ for its first season.
Riverdale Season 1-B+
Riverdale is currently streaming on Netflix and will be back on The CW this fall.