Thursdays, 9:00 PM ET on The CW
A subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life - the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale's wholesome facade.
As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom. Archie Andrews is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — not follow in his dad Fred’s footsteps — despite his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy. Weighing heavily on his mind is also his fractured friendship with budding writer Jughead Jones. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooperis anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves, which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge, arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione there’s an undeniable spark between her and Archie, but Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty.
The interesting setting and built in audience from the comic may be the only thing that saves this show from it's many flaws. While the actresses who play Betty and Veronica put out great performances, their scenes are often an oasis in the cliched plot points and god awful dialog from the rest of the cardboard cut-out cast. The cheese in the dialog is heavy and reminded me of the worst parts of CW shows like "Supernatural" and the modern DC series. You likely won't get much reaction from the emotional scenes unless you tear up reading fortune cookies and hallmark cards. They make a half-hearted attempt to discuss some social issues. From Betty's Gay friend, Cheerleader saying its "so 1994" to be bisexual for attention, Archie getting molested by a teacher etc. but it all falls pretty flat and seems contrived. For instance, the gay best friend, like usual, is reduced to little more than a gay stereotype for Betty to bounce lines off of. "OMG isn't Archie the hottest! He has a 6 pack, omg its so FAB. Did I mention I'm gay? I'm not sure if i was clear enough, maybe I should mention it a couple of more times" It was a pretty big step back in my opinion. I usually applaud shows for even making an attempt but this is really just a big step backward. For god sake put a little effort into it, and try to write something original. Not all gay culture is defined by being sassy and talking to women about "boys". This might play well with the CW crowd, or easily influenced teens who want to jump on the "2edgy4U" bandwagon but I don't think it has the legs to carry it much past a first season without some serious recasting and a new writing team.
YA shows usually mean for me - YAWN - but I really enjoyed this. There were enough interesting characters, goings on, backstories and literary and pop culture references to keep me laughing. Archie is like a younger Hemsworth brother. When did teens become so immaculately/expensively dressed? What can I say, *faints in surprise* I just really enjoyed the first episode. Not your average YA show.
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