‘Riverdale’ Series Review: A Dark Twist to the Archie Comics

Article by Levis Ryan
Posted: January 30, 2017  

If you loved Pretty Little Liars before it got kind of repetitive and stale, then Riverdale is for you. The new CW show is a dark adaptation of the Archie comics most of us read growing up. “Chapter One: The River’s Edge” sets up enough intrigue, in terms of both narrative and aesthetics. It does not in any way shy away from any of the comparisons that have been trotted out in advance of the series premiere. In the opening moments of the pilot, we hear a voiceover talking about how the small town the show is set in, despite the quaint feel, hides an awful lot of darkness. This completely sold me on the show!

The episode starts with the mysterious death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), who gets on a boat with his twin sister Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), and then ends up dead! Cheryl survives the ‘boat wreck’ however which raises the audience’s suspicion into what kind of person she really is. No one really seems to miss Jason though, since he was apparently something of a menace.

Both he and his sister were quite infamous around town. We even see one of the moms exclaim, “I hope he burns in hell!”. What’s interesting about this mysterious death in the first episode is that the writers didn’t dwell on it too much. We see the death, move on to get an introduction to the characters and only come back to the death in the final seconds of the show where Jason’s body is found washed up on the beach with a bullet hole in his forehead.

Aside from the death and gore, the characters in the show are quite familiar, if you read the Archie comics at all. And it being the CW they’re all drop dead gorgeous of course; can we please start casting normal looking people on TV now please? Thanks you!

On to the cast: there’s obviously Archie (K.J. Apa) and Betty (Lili Reinhart), who are destined to be together even though they don’t know it yet. Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), Riverdale’s newest resident, alongside her mom, Hermione (Marisol Nichols), who everyone seems to ostracize since her father is being tried for fraud and embezzlement. There’s also Josie and the Pussycats, Jughead (Cole Sprouse), who does the opening voice over and Riverdale’s standout villain, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), a cruel, insecure cheerleader whose role as the Queen Bee of the school is more a self-appointed position than anything else. And Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel), the school music teacher who had a brief fling with Archie during his Summer. SCANDAL!

The first episode of Riverdale was rich in drama, suspense and even bits and pieces of comedic relief. I only hope they will keep the same pace going forward and won’t end up with a tired story line like some shows I know, *ahem Pretty Little Liars *ahem. I absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for a new drama filled thriller to start watching.

MORE: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Series Review: “A” Will Never Die


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