Whether it’s battling The Predator, being punished by The Punisher, or tackling issues of sexuality and gun control laws, Archie has been a melting pot of brave new ideas in recent years. So, it was with great excitement fans sat down to watch the season premiere of the new Riverdale TV series on the CW Network, and they weren’t disappointed.
The pilot episode lays solid groundwork for the season ahead, with a story based largely around the mysterious death by drowning of a student from Riverdale High. It seems that our titular hero (KJ Apa) knows more about the death than he’s letting on, as do other residents of the small American town, and we can (safely) assume this will all come out over the course of the season.
As one mystery deepens another is unveiled, this time in the shape of Veronica (Camila Mendes), who arrives in town with her mother and immediately assumes the role of cat among the pigeons. What is she hiding? What is she running from? Will she steal Archie away from Betty? These are the questions we were left asking by the time the credits began to roll, but these were not simply intriguing enough to guarantee audiences would be tuning in for episode 2.
However, in the closing moments when the body of the aforementioned student washes up on the banks of the river, complete with a bullet in the head, we are quickly reminded exactly why this series has such potential to be great, and why the viewers aren’t going away.
The show is more Dawson’s Creek than traditional Archie comics fodder, but that’s not a bad thing. Riverdale was never meant to be a straight up adaptation of the long running funny pages, but rather a re-imagining to appeal to the teen audiences of 2017. The fact that it managed to attract an old timer like myself, on brand name alone, will hopefully mean the series doesn’t stray off into the realms of just another teen drama series. There’s enough here to keep fans happy for a while yet.
This may not be the Archie, Betty, Veronica, Moose or Jughead that you were expecting. Sure, these kids aren’t alright, but you know what? That’s alright!