The long awaited comic book to small screen adaptation of the beloved Archie comics premiered on Thursday 26th January and well I have a lot of thoughts since my last post on my expectations.
It opens with Jughead (Cole Sprouse), our very own Nick Caraway, the narrator who experiences the story itself. The theme for me would be grungy Tumblr aesthetics and very pretty- little-liars-esque. For me to truly enjoy (which I did to an extent) the experience, I had to distance my mind from the classic comics and tropes and let the series exist as its own themed entity.
The Blossom twins and the summer that just passed are our plot driving points in this part mystery part teen drama. Jason Blossom, would be like the Alisson DiLaurentis, dead boy leaving behind a small town filled with secrets and a majorly twisted sister. She did call her twin her soul-mate, I mean womb-mate would be appropriate but soul is a tad bit too creepy. Cheryl is also the quint-essential mean girl with pursed lips, a cheerleading skirt and a bullying streak and is set to be an antagonist for our more likable leads.
Speaking of leads, our man main Archie is sort of bland to me. He lost his freckles and it seems his personality too in this adaptation. Trying to juggle his new found love for music, the family business, varsity football, three women( one being the young music teacher who seduced him) is a lot I will give him that but he just screams American boy- with the intended shrouding doom and gloom.
My shining star would have to be Veronica Lodge, who I wasn’t a huge fan of in the comics. She comes into this world as the new girl, with the reverse rags to riches story and a whole lot of sass. She is whip smart, beautiful (yes she is a PoC who is essentially in a “white role”) and mostly she is humanized. Her own family struggles really affect her but she doesn’t dwell on them, she embraces the fresh start and tries to a better person, I especially loved her ice-cold speech to Cheryl and her taking Betty under her pearlescent wings. The Hermione/Fred past is very much reminiscent to Rufus and Lily from Gossip Girl as well.
Dearest Betty, blonde haired blue-eyed and anything but perfect. I really enjoyed the seeing the behind the scenes of her seemingly perfect life. Her mum is overbearing, forceful, shoving her full of Adderall and all in the pursuit of making her fill the gaping hole of her messed up sister Polly(keen to meet her). Betty is still true to her kind nature and still best friends/in love with Archie, who I agree does not deserve her. I am hoping her friendship with Veronica leads to some help and character growth.
The storyline of the episode itself felt very formulaic. Death, new girl, first day, school dance all with hints of hey this character has skeletons in their closet oh and this one too. An underused beacon would be Josie and The Pussycats who are talented and seem to be paving their way to stardom.
At the end of this river, I’d say it was better than I had expected because my standards were incredibly low, so if you decide to give the show a try, forget the pops-sugar coated “aw shucks” world you came to know and enter the name-dropping millennial fanfare that is Riverdale.
[Side note: I need more cole sprouse- I mean Jughead the novelist with droopy eyebags because that is my entire aesthetic plus I need an Archie/Jughead bromance to survive this.
Author: Faatimah Essack
Editor: Han Angus