Review: The CW’s Riverdale Debuts

The CW’s Riverdale is the story of Archie and the gang starring real life actors which debuted this week. There was a lot to take in; a lot of dialogue, a lot of walking and talking, a lot of characters to recognize and to not, and a lot of secrets yet to be revealed.

So many secrets. How do these characters stand the pressure? But let us start with the ‘lot of characters to recognize’. Archie is now hot! Apparently he got ripped over the summer working for his dad’s construction company. Mr. Andrews, Archie’s dad (played by Luke Perry) also got hot, so don’t hold the comic book to the TV for comparison. Also in the most improved category is Miss Geraldine Grundy. Remember her? Old teacher lady, hair in a bun, wears long skirts and…well forget that. Ms Grundy dropped about 30 years (or more) and wears summer dresses; and those long skirts now look more modern day chic than old lady fashion. The rest of the cast is pretty recognizable. The Pussy Cats wear cat-ears, Betty is blonde and Veronica is a brunette.  But who is this Kevin guy? I had to Google search him. Jughead seems more brooding and less food-in. And Reggie, I hardly saw him in the first episode. I guess he hooks up with the gang as the season develops.

In the first episode the gang is now getting together and each character has a rich and slightly different back story than from the comic books. Veronica is still rich (or is she?) but there is something about her dad. Betty’s family looks like they are making ends meet but what is going on with her sister Polly? Seems like Polly was involved with Jason Blossom whose death is revealed at the beginning of the episode. Jughead is writing an I-know-what-you-did-last-summer kind of novel and he narrated the episode. I’m not a big fan of narration. Does it help? Maybe. Is it distracting? Yes. What is also distracting are all the pop culture references. Okay, I get it. Riverdale’s characters watch TV and know stuff. What I don’t know is what time this series is set in? The references are modern but the feel and the settings seem 1960’s old. Is Riverdale the town time forgot, except for modern conveniences and access to broad band internet? It’s a bit weird. Not Archie Weird Mysteries weird but If I saw the Archie gang do some Scooby Doo stuff I wouldn’t be surprised.

Which brings us to the mystery, or mysteries. Jason died and it seems like murder. So I’m guessing that the season ends with someone saying ‘I could have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those pesky kids.’ Archie has a 4th of July secret with Ms Grundy. Like what? And Betty is on medication…well, I would have been shocked if one of these characters wasn’t.

Riverdale’s first episode is a Gilmore Girls/ Twin Peaks/ Scooby Doo mash up with a bit of The OC thrown in there. This could be a bumpy but interesting ride.