Riverdale is the newest live-action comic book property on the CW. The series is based on the iconic characters from Archie Comics, which hasn’t shied away from telling strange stories in the past such as the crossover tales Archie Meets The Punisher and Archie vs. Predator.
In 2015 the entire line of Archie Comics was rebooted for the new generation and began to take the characters in new directions. Riverdale is attempting something similar to the 2015 comic reboot by giving us new and sexier versions of Archie and the gang.
But while the cast is easy on the eyes, has the show succeeded in giving the audience an interesting story in its first two episodes? For fans of quality teen dramas, yes. Riverdale is off and running on the right foot.
It All Feels Familiar, But Fun
Getting the obvious out of the way, the show in the story department doesn’t bring anything terribly new to the table. We have a happy town in which a murder has taken place and now a group of friends is slowly pulled into the secrets of the town as they find out Riverdale isn’t that happy after all.
It’s a plot reminiscent other teen dramas such as PrettyLittleLiars and many other teen dramas that try to incorporate a crime mystery element into their show. So if you’re uninterested in that type of story, or sick of the concept, maybe this isn’t the show for you.
If that’s your thing, however, the show does a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the competition as well as its predecessors by establishing the atmosphere of a genuine crime drama.
Jughead is narrating the show through the crime novel he is writing, which gives the show the feel of an old noir film. The color grading and set design also add to the show’s vintage vibe.
Doing The Love Triangle Right
Everyone who has picked up an Archie Comic knows about the eternal love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica. As an adaptation of the comic and as a CW show it’s actually quite surprising how well they have been handling this love triangle concept in the first two episodes. It may get some eye rolls from a few viewers in some scenes, but it’s handled with a sense of self-awareness that’s strong.
They all act like teenagers who have watched shows like this and call out the things the audience would call out. They aren’t dumbed down to further a weak plot.
That being said, the show sometimes has difficulty juggling the romance and crime aspects of the show and the transitions between plot elements can sometimes feel jarring at this early point in the series.
Come For The Mystery. Stay For The Characters.
One misstep many of these types of shows make is that they sometimes bank on the mystery, but neglect the development of their characters. The characters sometimes act in ridiculous ways to conveniently further the plot, which can result in viewers abandoning the show due to the fact that they don’t actually like or care that much for the characters.
This is a problem Riverdale won’t have to fear. Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead are all very likable and intriguing characters. There is a lot of development and complexity that’s already been explored and it’s obvious there’s more to come.
This was one of the strengths of similar series, #GossipGirl. When the mystery of that show’s identity slowly got ridiculous, viewers didn’t care very much because most of the characters were just so lovable and intriguing that they kept watching for their development.
The characters in Riverdale are all equally likable and well written.
If this all sounds like your cup of tea you should absolutely check it out. With #VampireDiaries coming to a close soon, Riverdale has the potential to become one of the CW’s flagship teen dramas and it appears it’s already well on its way.
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