I have never really been a big comic book person, however as a young teenager I loved the Archie comics and I had a mountain of them stacked on my bookshelf (next to the copies of Smash Hits). When I discovered that Netflix had created a live action re imagining of the iconic serial, I couldn’t resist seeing what they had done with the characters I once loved.
In the fictitious all American town of Riverdale something terrible has happened, forever shattering its seemingly innocent peace. Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), twin brother of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) and the golden son of Riverdale’s most prominent family has been murdered.
The murder has rocked every one of the town’s residents including popular jock, Archie (K.J. Apa) and his best friends, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse). And if that wasn’t enough to distract them from their school work, there is a new girl in town, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), the daughter of one of Riverdale’s once great citizens – the now incarcerated, Hiram Lodge.
As the teens find themselves entangled in the investigation they realise that everyone in town has secrets… dark ones… some of which are very, very close to home.
So I had a lot of fun with this… it is as over the top and dramatic as all hell. Basically it’s a soap opera with really high production value that’s perfect for shoving on when your brain needs turning off. It looks absolutely gorgeous… not just because the cast are almost all almost unnaturally beautiful but also because it’s been treated to retain some of its cartoony feel.
I loved the fact that the adult characters mostly seem to be played by 80’s and 90’s teen/young adult actors that didn’t quite make it, including Luke Perry, Molly Ringwald, Skeet Urich, Robin Givens, Madchen Amick and Lochlyn Munro. I mean it doesn’t make for the best performances but no one is watching something like Riverdale for it’s Shakespearean leanings.
Where it falls down a bit is that Archie, who is technically the lead character is probably the least interesting character. He’s completely one dimensional and I was far more interested in Jughead, Betty and even Cheryl (who is so hot I want to kill her and wear her skin as a dress…).
Overall a fun, silly watch that will keep you guessing in terms of the core mystery.
As an aside… I started watching season 2 and binned it about three episodes in. The new mystery isn’t particularly interesting and the drama has gotten so silly it just isn’t worth it. Fortunately season 1 is pretty wrapped up so no need to keep slogging on.