Riverdale Runs Rampant

Staff Member Reviews Popular TV Show


The main characters in Riverdale.

Morgan Gage, Staff Writer

76 years. That’s how long it was between the debut of the original Archie “Chick” Andrews and the premiere of Riverdale, which offers a complete reimagining of the classic comic books. The start of the second season is set for October 11, 2017. Fans of the comics won’t find the bumbling and goofy Archie they’re familiar with. Riverdale’s Archie Andrews brings an adult twist to Archie and his friends. What you will find is a compelling story that will have you glued to the screen and Netflix asking you if you’re still watching as you binge the entire 13 episode season.

The story is of Archie Andrews and his friends trying to solve the mystery of one of their classmate’s death and their struggle to come to terms with the role that them and their families may have played in it. The narrative is filled with romance, rivalry, murder, possible gang involvement all juxtaposed against cheerleading tryouts, high school gossip, and stage fright. You are kept aware of the stakes that the conflicts present, because these dilemmas are constantly compared to trivial problems we’re all familiar with.

KJ Apa (A Dog’s Purpose, Shortland Street) portrays the protagonist Archie as he comes out of an eventful summer: he’s traded plans for a career in construction for a passion in music but more notably he retells the story of the death of Jason Blossom. This is the conflict that defines the season- Jason and his twin Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) went out to the lake, and Cheryl was found on shore, claiming Jason drowned but with no body to be found.

Betty Cooper, played by Lili Reinhert (The Good Neighbor, Law & Order), is infatuated with Archie but her character isn’t sacrificed in the process. Their on-screen chemistry is tangible from their first few lines together though the script doesn’t reduce their characters from being seconds away from making out.They share an understanding and camaraderie.

Their friendship is emphasized, and the conflict of the series is never reduced to merely unrequited love. Above all, they are concerned with doing the right thing for their family and community even when they don’t agree on the correct way to do so.

One surprising fact about the show is the actress behind Veronica Lodge. Camila Mendes has no prior film or television credits prior to Riverdale and was reluctant to audition for the role until she heard of the show’s intent to make the spoiled heiress Veronica Lodge not merely another Latina stereotype. Veronica embodies the idea of shades of grey. She’s spoiled, the daughter of Hiram Lodge who is imprisoned for fraud, but when it comes down to it she’s good at heart.

Children who remember Josie and the Pussycats from their childhood will appreciate the inclusion of the classic characters. Josie takes form as an aspiring young singer with serious aspirations of a serious future for her and her Pussycats. Josie, played by Ashleigh Murray (Welcome to New York, Deidra and Laney Steal a Train). Supporting characters besides the main four (Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead) help to create a compelling storyline

Despite the performances of other actors, the real show stealer of the series is Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Friends, Big Daddy) who plays former best friend of Archie, Jughead Jones. Jughead is revealed to be writing a novel to record the investigation of Jason Blossom’s death and functions as the show’s narrator, telling the passing of events in classic young adult mystery novel style.

Rotten Tomatoes gives Riverdale an 89% fresh rating based on critics’ reviews, concluding that “Riverdale offers an amusingly self-aware reimagining of its classic source material that proves eerie, odd, daring, and above all addictive.” Not to mention, the show took home several awards since its debut, winning the Saturn awards for the best action-thriller television series as well as the choice drama TV show in the Teen Choice awards with actors KJ Apa, Lili Reinhert, Cole Sprouse, and Madelaine Petsch winning several awards for their roles in the show.

Riverdale has proven to be the show of 2017 for teen viewers though the series has more than enough mystery to captivate older audiences. Writers have set Riverdale up to be the next Pretty Little Liars with the premise of the show being the murder of a high school student and the question of the first season: Who did it and why did it happen? The plot is difficult to unravel and will likely keep audiences glued to the screen for several years to come.