“Our story is about a town, a small town, and the people who live in the town”. The opening line for Riverdale.
Indeed a simple sentence that doesn’t bring much to light in terms of the plot of the show, but this, at the same time is everything you need to know about it.
All You Need To Know About Riverdale
With murder mystery and all types of darkness, The CW’s latest comic book adaptation isn’t your father’s take on Archie and the crew. Some might say the show is a crazed dare for a TV show. While it may defy conventional qualitative norms when it comes to things like narrative coherence and character consistency, it is utterly committed to the strange thing it is doing.
Riverdale has been adapted for TV by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, this show might not be your father’s old Archie story or the Archie that older viewers probably remember from decades of digests. The redhead with a beat-up jalopy and rarely enough money for a weekend date- hasn’t existed for a long time out here. Most twists and turns in the show, masterminded by Aguirre-sarcasm, shift from small-town shenanigans to shocking character deaths.
The show is full of recognizable Archie elements, but the familiar character name and their superficial traits have been funneled into a creepy murder mystery with shading of incest, corruption and moreover student-teacher relations that would make the original Riverdale gang blush.
The Riverdale plot ignites with the teasing of a wealthy queen bee, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), mourning over the disappearance of her beloved twin brother. The opening scene is quite chilling as it features Madelaine sitting on the riverside, wet from head to toe with a blank gesture, keeping the viewers off the edge.
K.J Apa, the red-head dude with a loosely covered accent plays the role of Archie Andrews, who has recently returned from working for construction in the summers for his Father (Luke Perry). He has a musical dream and six-pack abs.
As every group has a chirpy gay best friend, Casey Scott plays this role in Riverdale by the name of Kevin Keller. The girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) is all set to finally reveal her love to her childhood best friend- Archie. Sudden complications arise in the plot with the introduction of Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), daughter of a wealthy businessman and new to the town of Riverdale.
Many of the Archie characters are there in the show but all, a bit askew. Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) is mostly observed in a melancholic disposition. He is currently working on a book which as per the voiceovers, isn’t going to be very good.
No high school is complete without a band, so isn’t Riverdale High. Josie (Ashleigh Murray) is the lead singer and hard at work with the Pussycats, you can call it a Child-style girl group.
There is also a hot teacher in town! Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) plays the role of a cellist, basically a music teacher to students at Riverdale High.
Keeping the outrage and bitterness aside, the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle is seen lightly simmering near the center of the story but it feels sketchy because Archie himself feels like a loosely hung needle. Even though Archie has a ripped body with an iconic redhead, Apa’s performance is one of the several that, while not bad, registers as flat.
Reinhart shines as it becomes clear how tightly wounded and damaged Betty is, although the character evolution blurs the traditional relationship with Veronica, whose decency is elevated by Mendes’ performance.
The directors have given the show a good-looking template the accentuates the darkness and adds menace to the comic-standard locations like Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, now a neon-splashed nightmare or even the local drive-in, now terrorized by a leather-clad biker gang.
Overall, the Riverdale TV series isn’t directly derived from the Archie’s Comics but it is rather based on it. Think of this show like Sherlock (BBC) which isn’t true to its core and is more dramatized, where all the characters, along with being contrasting, try their best to outdo each other. The storylines of both the shows have very exhilarating twists which are not there in the original books.
All the characters have been adapted to this 21st Century, where they also replace some of the original characters with different sexuality (Kevin), ages (Miss Grundy) and races (Weatherbee, Pop) which feels pretty optimized with the present day scenario of our world.
Betty and Veronica don’t squabble like in the comics and are instead good friends, Archie and Jughead aren’t that good in terms with each other as they are in the comics.
Overall the series is contradictory, but it is the part of its charm. The story and plot seem apt and just right to keep one over the edge. It’s basically a very good blend of Mystery, Teen Drama, Thriller, which is neither too dark nor too light.