As we begin to feel withdrawals from our lack of television teen drama, let’s take a look back at the first season of Riverdale to see why the show has every potential of being a front runner for Wednesday night viewing entering its sophomore season.
For those who don’t know, the show is a dark and edgy take on the Archie comics that revolves around a mysterious death in the seemingly wholesome Riverdale. In the wake of this strange tragedy, town secrets are revealed, and it’s up to Archie and his gang to figure out what is really going on in their beloved home town.
Even for a show that is clearly geared toward a younger crowd, it appeals a great deal to older viewers as well. This could be due in large part to the solid portrayal of the characters, whether it is the high school kids, the dangerous biker gang, or the shady parents of the Riverdale community. KJ Apa, who plays Archie, does an extraordinary job as the leader with a heart of gold who, while he always means well in his actions, is still a teenager who makes mistakes. You can see that he feels deeply and allows that to guide him most of the time. Cole Sprouse’s depiction of Jughead will quickly win you over the minute you get a glimpse of his brooding demeanor and intelligence. He plays the loner to a tee, while also revealing some of the quick wit and profound insight that make Jughead and Archie such a great team.
Of course you can’t have the Archie gang without Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camiila Mendes). These two are complete opposites in personality, but equally lovable. Betty’s innocence and unwavering trust is just as key to her growth during the show as Veronica’s discovering of her values is to hers. Plus, adding these two in the mix definitely makes things more interesting for both of the guys. It is a different relationship dynamic than the comics, but it is done well and actually adds to the expansion of the story thus far. Let’s not forget Madelaine Petsch as the sassy and entitled Cheryl Blossom. Cheryl goes through many drastic situations and it certainly builds layers to her that make her slightly more than just the girl that you love to hate. Riverdale would not be the same without Cheryl and the entire Blossom family, which is made very apparent early on in the show. These are only a handful of the characters that you learn about and the rest will undoubtedly keep you even more tuned in as you see how everyone connects to each other.
With all the mystery and newly uncovered developments that happen toward the latter half of the 13 episode season, there only looks to be more suspense, betrayal, and intrigue to come when the second season premieres in October. This will also be a full 22 episode season, so seeing the show at a different pace is sure to pique the curiosity of its fans. Let’s hope that this decision will draw in more viewers and that they will not lose momentum or site of the story they are trying to tell just to fill the 40 minutes every week.
Regardless of your prior knowledge of the Archie comics, this is a show that you can easily get in to and not be lost. The show runners do a great job of being able to reach a variety of people by allowing it to be its own thing and not piggy-backing off the fact that it is based on a comic book. There is no comparing the stories with the comics here like there are with others (looking at you, The Walking Dead) because it is meant to be an entity of its own. It is fresh and original in a lot of ways and has massive possibility of becoming long-running.
Rating: 85 Pop’s Milkshakes out of 100 (85%)