Riverdale, when you think about it, is perfectly suited for the CW. It’s about the prototypical teen and his buds, and (as we’ve seen) you can do pretty much anything with them. Archie has been a kid, a teen, and grownup to get married to both his high school girlfriends. He’s also fought zombies.
So a setting and characterizations as flexible as that is going to be able to to have some interesting adaptations to a high school TV drama.
Riverdale began as the students of the town returned to class after summer vacation. Betty Cooper is contemplating taking her friendship with Archie Andrews to a new level. She’s inspired by his new beefy look gained from a summer of working construction with his father. So is her other pal, proudly out Kevin Keller.
Mysteries abound in the first few episodes. Jason Blossom, Riverdale High’s BMOC and twin of ginger mean girl Cheryl Blossom, has vanished. Heiress Veronica Lodge has come to town, accompanied by her mother. And what is the deal with Archie and Ms. Grundy, the vivacious music teacher?
The Archie/Grundy subplot was a controversial one. I don’t know if the producers assumed that we’d be okay with a sexy statutory rape plotline because the offender was a woman, but they quickly ended it and sent Ms. Grundy out of town on a bus. Or in a classic bug. Same thing.
The main storyline is the disappearance and murder of Jason Blossom. His waterlogged corpse was discovered at the end of the first episode by Kevin Keller and Moose who’d sought isolation for some sexy times.
Archie’s friendship with his best pal Jughead has been sundered, with Jughead taking the role of a hard nosed reporter and who now finds himself homeless.
Unlike the source material, the show is very much a generational story. Archie’s parents are now separated, with his mother living in Chicago, as are Veronica’s, although Mr. Lodge is now behind bars for some financial chicanery. Kevin Keller’s father is sheriff of Riverdale, while Josie’s mother is Riverdale’s mayor. Ms. Cooper is a reporter, while Mr. Cooper holds a grudge against the Blossoms for stealing his ancestral claim to Riverdale’s maple syrup industry.
Which, honestly, amuses me about how Canadian the show is, even for a BC CW production.
The rest of the classic Riverdale crew is well represented. Reggie Mantle is present, sleazier than ever and Archie’s competitor for football supremacy. Chuck Clayton was head of a posse of slut shaming bullies, all brought down by Betty and Veronica Mars intrepid girl detective/hot tubbing skills. Ethel, played by Shannon Purser (Stranger Things’ Barb) is present, as is Dilton Doiley, who’s gone from smart, vanilla nerd to survivalist militia leader.
There are three main stories being told on Riverdale. “Oh, what will Archie do as such a great guy,” who killed Jason Blossom, and what is the deal with the development of the old drive in?
I’m not gonna lie, I’m hoping Archie killed Jason, because I’m just a little sick of him. But we can see there’s much mystery.
The show is far more compelling than anyone would have expected it to be. The iconic Archie gang hare been given a dramatic edge in the new series. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.