Four Reasons to Visit ‘Riverdale’

A memorable scene in episode one of “Riverdale” perfectly captures what makes this CW drama work. Archie and Veronica end up in a closet for Seven Minutes in Heaven during a party, and Veronica begins to see through Archie’s wholesome exterior.

“You’re a lot more dangerous than you look, aren’t you?” she asks.

“You have no idea,” he says.

Well!

“Riverdale” is far more dangerous than the historically G-rated comics universe it’s based on, and therefore destined to be polarizing. But if last Thursday’s crackling debut is any indication, it promises to be a juicy treat full of curveballs and intrigue. The show pulls off an impressive feat in maintaining the essence of beloved and loathed archetypes while turning their volume way up and messing with viewers’ expectations.

veronica-archie-and-betty

Produced by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa — Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer and writer of the fantastic “Afterlife With Archie” series — “Riverdale” certainly contains shock value. However, it’s a well-used spice, not the entire meal. Speaking as someone who has been an Archie fan since first grade, I’m thrilled that “Riverdale” takes risks instead of confining characters in safe boxes.

On the fence? Here are four reasons to tune in.

It’ll keep you guessing
“Riverdale” throws viewers off immediately by establishing a creepy vibe between twins Cheryl and Jason Blossom (Madelaine Petsch and Trevor Stines) as they drive to the lake with dreamy music playing in the background. Jason dies mysteriously during their sibling boat ride, which casts a shadow over a town with plenty of other secrets. Something feels slightly off about the place from beginning to end, so you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next.

Familiar characters, new problems
Though Archie (winningly portrayed by K.J. Apa) is basically a good guy, his newfound passion for songwriting was inspired by some scandalous summer activities. He’d never intentionally hurt his hopelessly smitten friend Betty, but Archie is drawn to neon warning signs in the romance department. Speaking of Betty (Lili Reinhart), her Miss Perfect persona comes at a high cost that shows itself in literally painful ways. The real MVP thus far is Veronica (Camila Mendes), a surprisingly likable character who’s trying to leave her evil princess past behind but will still verbally cut a bitch (Hi, Cheryl) with aplomb.

Secondary players make big impressions, too. Casey Cott in particular is delightful as Kevin Keller, and even without much dialogue, Ross Butler firmly establishes Reggie as the frat boy we all know and hate. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) mostly narrates, yet lurks in the background silently calling shenanigans.

It’s witty as hell
While the hyper-articulate, pop culture-referencing teenager has been done to death in TV and film, it works for “Riverdale.” I chuckled at choice lines, like Kevin informing Veronica that the town’s entertainment offerings include “a tragic gay bar called Innuendo.” There are many creative references to Archie’s newly hot status, and the show acknowledges tropes to excellent comic effect.

Surprise!
Archie’s big reveal aside, the award for Most Surprising Moment goes to a spontaneously arranged tryst between two characters I never would have put together. Also, kudos to the creators for casting non-white actors/actresses in unexpected roles (Josie, played by Ashleigh Murray, and all of the Pussycats are black) and keeping it moving.

Episode two of “Riverdale” airs Thursday at 9 p.m. (EST), so catch up and get your popcorn ready.

Advertisements

One thought on “Four Reasons to Visit ‘Riverdale’

  1. I watched the first two episodes.
    I think that Archie is cast well, as are Betty and Veronica.
    It is interesting that Josie, Valerie and Melody are black and Pop’s and Mr. Wetherbee as well.
    Oh and I like Jughead but he needs to eat more.
    I do not like Miss Grundy being a cougar after Archie, it is kind of gross and cliche. A lame attempt trying to be like Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place, several shows that I did not and could not watch. I am not a fan of Grundy slamming Archie and I hate that Archie is not the moral centre that he normally is.
    Also Veronica kissing Betty was really really rather tired. It was just thrown in there like a cheap thrill.
    And Moose is Gay but he does not seem like the big lovable dummy that we have grown up with.
    Kevin Keller is okay but I like how he is in the comic books, he is not cliche gay guy in the comic books.
    So where is Midge? Is she Moose’s girlfriend who lives in Canada?
    Archie is just too James Dean angsty for me. Betty is the doormat yet again and I am tired of it. Veronica having a riches to rags tale is an interesting take. Jughead is cool but I do not like him being so Donnie Darko and I liked it when he was also Betty’s best friend, I am not a fan of Kevin being her other male best friend.
    Reggie being Asian is interesting I wonder if he is adopted because Mantel is not an Asian surname.
    Cheryl and Jason Blossom seem on point but Egads Jason is a creepy looking jag.
    I feel like the whole is trying to be a tad too Twins Peak and that to me is a letdown and boring.
    Yes have some drama but I really think especially now we need so of the, laughs, love and light that the gang from Riverdale have always given us
    I will give it another episode but it really is trying too hard to be edgy.

    Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s