Saturday, February 10, 2018

Riverdale: Innocent Small Town or Dark Dystopia?


When I think of Riverdale, Archie Comics is the first thing that comes to mind. The comic debuted in 1941 and is as American as sweet apple pie. However, certain things have changed over the last 77 years.  The comics have gotten darker, introduced mystical elements like witches and werewolves, and we've even seen the Archie gang go up against the dreaded Sharknado.  Yeah, that's real.  But one of the biggest things to happen in the world of Archie Comics is the premiere of the CW's live-action series, Riverdale.


The series has brought much attention to the comics because of how vastly different it is from what most people remember. The characters are darker and more mysterious, which falls more in line with the recent comics than the classic tales of old. Even the town of Riverdale itself has a darkness overshadowing its innocence.


The series centers primarily around four characters, Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones. There is a love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica in the comic, which becomes much more twisted and complicated in the show.

Appearances and first episodes are deceiving, to say the least. When I watched the first episode of Riverdale, Betty came off as sweet and innocent. But, as the series progresses, you learn there are many sides to her. Betty's mother, Alice Cooper (no, not the rock singer), has plenty of secrets of her own. Secrets always seem to have a way of coming out and destroying the reputation of perfect wholesome families.

In the first episode, Summer is coming to a close and Betty longs to tell Archie how she really feels about him. Over the summer, Archie had been working for his dad and changed quite a bit physically.
However, a mysterious brunette comes to town and turns Riverdale upside down. Veronica's first appearance in the series was enchanting. She walks into Pop's, a local hangout, and the whole place stood still. Her family moves to Riverdale, and thus changes the friendship Archie and Betty have. There is definitely an undeniable chemistry between Veronica and Archie from their first meeting.

The overarching story of the first season which stripped away Riverdale's innocence was the shooting and drowning of Jason Blossom. Now, this young man came from the most powerful family in town, which is why the case had to be solved quickly, and, of course, everyone was a suspect. Sheriff Keller has many people to answer too. Of course, the Blossoms are out for revenge, especially Jason's sister, Cheryl. Will the truth destroy them?

That brings us to another pivotal character in the series, Kevin Keller. I'm sure being the Sheriff's son doesn't make his social life any easier, let alone being gay. I like that he's not written as a one-dimensional, stereotypical gay character.  His close friendship with Betty is lovely to watch on screen.

Another interesting, yet somber character is Jughead Jones, played by a grown-up Cole Sprouse. He also narrates the series and is an aspiring writer. I feel an intense connection to him because of his chaotic upbringing.  He and Betty bring out the best in each other. Jughead is definitely a loner and has a difficult relationship with his father. Despite being a private person, he cares a great deal about his friends.

Sprouse is not the only familiar face that I recognized. Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald play Archie's estranged parents.  Soap fans are sure to recognize Mark Consuelos, who plays Hiram Lodge.

An unsolved murder, a torrid love triangle, and other tawdry tales make the town of Riverdale a provocative place to live. What does the future hold for Archie, Veronica, Jughead, and Betty? You'll have to tune in to find out.



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