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‘Riverdale:’ Not your Pop’s ‘Archie Comics!’

When I first saw the ads for Riverdale, I thought, “Oh look, Glee meets Archie. I’ll 100% pass on that!”  Mind you, I’m a huge Archie fan. I loved all of the comics and smaller digests you’d find in line at the grocery store. (A perfect place for a last chance for a “Please! Please! Please, mom!” before checking out.

Being gay with a penchant for blondes, I was immediately drawn to Betty. With a taste for beauty and luxury, how could I not like Veronica? Jughead was always a favorite as an awkward goof. They didn’t have a “Kevin Keller” to march for gay kids back then. Luckily, times and Kevin Keller creator Dan Parent have changed.  And, of course, I loved Sabrina, but what’s not to love about a teenage witch? Or a bad@$$ all-girl band like Josie and the Pussycats. Can Josie be the Beyoncé of Riverdale’s Destiny’s Child?

I wasn’t too keen on an Archie TV series, because without thinking about it, it seemed a little desperate to me. But why? I’ve been liking the revamp of the comics line. Go, Adam Hughes! On Betty and Veronica! And Archie After Life is the bee’s knees. So, there was no good reason I shouldn’t give Riverdale a chance. (A generous offer in the age of pure TV glut, one must choose wisely when adopting a new series.)

So, I figured – what the heck? My boyfriend loved Glee. I thought it was sort of okay. I never liked the rapid-fire effected speech patterns and quips worthy of Oscar Wilde every 15-year-old conveniently had ready in their sarcasm arsenal, but I liked some of the musical numbers. So, this is Glee without the musical numbers? Heavens no! It’s much more than that!

Developed, adapted, and written for television by Glee alum Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the gang of Riverdale is clearly in good hands! A decidedly dark and sexy slant add to the draw and intrigue of the show. Roberto has achieved the next to impossible: a show about teenagers and all the characters and actors are likable! Bravo! What’s more is that he really upped the interest with a compelling story and irresistible characters with a sinister storyline looming in the background.  And, of course, what version of Archie would be complete without “Pop’s Soda Shop?”

The show is so darn good that I really don’t want to spoil a thing, but I will tell you that the first episode centers around newbie Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper’s blossoming friendship, a smoking-hot Archie Andrews preferring his music to football, and a dark, little murder mystery involving a super creepy set of siblings. This is less Glee and more Twin Peaks, and I think I like it! The first episode did a good job of sharing screen time for the main players, so it’s hard to pick a favorite at this point, but I do have my eye on Kevin and Moose. (What’s going on there?) It’s gonna be a long week in between Thursdays for a while.

Following the trend of casting parents who were famous yesteryear but so gosh darn exciting to see again that you smile ear to ear, Luke Perry as Archie Andrew’s father? Come to papa! And speaking of Twin Peaks, it was good to see Madchen Amick as Betty Cooper’s mother. Still incredibly beautiful and a not-so-nice Ms. Cooper.

A young, good-looking cast, check. Well written and acted, check. A quirky pot stirring slant with a good mystery and a great cliffhanger, check!

It looks as if The CW pulled out all of the stops for this one, and I personally am super pepped for the rest of the series. It may be easy to dismiss, as I almost did, much to my dismay. Make sure to check out Riverdale on The CW on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. – you won’t regret it.

Michael Fitzgerald Troy, Fanbase Press Contributor



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