Archie, Betty, Veronica, and the gang made their debut in comics back in 1941. For several decades, the characters remained the same with their wholesome values and innocent stories focusing on life at Riverdale High. Recently, Archie Comics started taking some risks with more mature stories like the zombie apocalypse Afterlife With Archie and the unexpected Archie Vs. Predator. It has also relaunched titles such as Archie and Betty & Veronica with a more appealing approach for new and old readers.
Taking the characters into new territory, Riverdale premieres on The CW this week, and you should check it out.
You might expect a “typical teen drama,” but the show has more than that to offer. Taking the core Archie concepts, the show heads in a fascinating direction and fully grabs your attention with plenty of drama and twists.
The characters on the show are largely familiar to readers of the comics. The actors do a great job in making the characters come to life. Don’t expect a scrawny Archie bumbling his way around town or Jughead simply devouring hamburger after hamburger. “Archie got hot” over the summer, as Kevin Keller says in the first episode. Betty has the innocent girl-next-door vibe, but there is something more intense underneath. Veronica is new to town and is the perfect combination of ice queen mixed with a deep sense of compassion for those she cares about. And because every drama needs an evil character to cause problems, Cheryl Blossom more than fills that role.
The adults have changed a little. Ms. Grundy is much younger than her comic book counterpart, and provides an unexpected plot twist. Luke Perry plays a cooler, and divorced, father to Archie. Mädchen Amick gives a very intense performance as Betty’s mom–a much different role from her Twin Peaks role.
There are plenty of high school elements in the show. The different social structures and trying to fit in are present. Being on the football team, going to school dances, and dealing with shaming bullies is here. What makes the show enticing is Archie’s secret relationship that took place over the summer and a murder mystery. Riverdale seems like a perfect and innocent town. With the murder, the darkness underneath starts bubbling towards the surface.
The show may seem like it’s going for the dark and edgy route. There are adult themes and the dead body is a little gruesome. That doesn’t mean it’s a completely dreary show. We see traces of the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle. Archie wants to be a musician and Josie and the Pussycats are also part of the show, which lightens things up. Seeing the characters and their personalities unfold is the hook, and the secrets of the town make the show intriguing. You’ll want to know who is responsible for the murder. You’ll wonder if Betty and Veronica will be best friends or mortal enemies. You’ll want to see what Veronica’s mom is hiding. What will people think of Archie’s summer activities if they find out?
The idea of an Archie show on The CW may have caused some eye-rolling. Having watched the first four episodes, it’s been easy to become invested in the characters. As a long time #TeamBetty fan, I found myself caring more about Veronica’s character than I thought possible. The little differences in the characters from their comic counterparts and the actors’ performances really work well here. As the show progresses, the developments continue to build at a good pace. Each episode gives you a reason to want to return to watch the next. Whether you’ve read the comics before or are completely new to everything, Riverdale is worth checking out. You’ll get sucked into this new television world.
Disclosure: The CW is a a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS, which is GameSpot’s parent company.