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Who fondly remembers reading the innocent comic book adventures of Archie, Betty and Veronica and their friends Jughead and Josie and the Pussycats as a kid? With the popularity of young adult TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and the Vampire Diaries, an incredibly dark sexy re-imagining of the beloved Archie Comics has arrived. The new must watch TV series this summer is The CW’s Riverdale. Paying tribute to iconic teen crime mystery series David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (1990), Riverdale places Archie and his gang in a far creepier more surreal universe with murder mystery and major nail-biting suspense to boot!
The first episode sets the series premise. After an eventful summer, Riverdale is trying to recover from the tragic death of local high school golden boy Jason Blossom on the Fourth of July. Our lovable red-headed hero, Archie Andrews (played by newcomer New Zealand actor K.J. Apa) is beginning his sophomore year. Like in the comics, Archie is the all-American teen. A varsity football player with several girls chasing after his affections.
After that fateful summer, Archie begins to realise he wants to quit his football aspirations and instead pursue a career in music despite the disapproval of his father and football coach. Archie approaches gorgeous, snooty and ambitious Josie McCoy (played by Ashleigh Murray), who is the lead singer of the popular band ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ for musical mentorship.
Archie’s ex- best friend and narrator of the series, Jughead Jones (played by Cole Sprouse; one half of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) is an aspiring writer and begins to write a book retelling the events of the summer and the rift that caused the end of his and Archie’s friendship.
Meanwhile, sweet, smart and eager to please girl next-door Betty Cooper (played by Lili Reinhart) is hiding her long time crush on Archie. Things shake up when beautiful and sophisticated newcomer Veronica Lodge (played by Camila Mendes), daughter of a scandalous millionaire, sweeps Archie off his feet. A love triangle then ensues between Archie, Betty and Veronica. All the while, the town is desperately trying to find what really happened to Jason on the night of his death.
Riverdale’s first episode “Chapter One: The River’s Edge” premiered on January 26th, 2017 on Netflix and the series has already received widespread critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a fresh rating of 88% on its website: “Riverdale offers an amusingly self-aware reimagining of its classic source material that proves eerie, odd, daring, and above all addictive.”
As we have seen with Netflix’s Stranger Things, modern pop culture that recaptures bygone eras have proven to be instant hits. Riverdale provides a fresh new take on the beloved Archie Comics and adapts it for the generation of today.
The series also welcomes back a lot of familiar faces to our TV screens including famous 80s and 90s teen heartthrobs: Madchen Amick (Twin Peaks), Luke Perry (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Beverley Hills 90210), Skeet Ulrich (Scream and The Craft) and Molly Ringwald (Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club).
Student View gives Riverdale a rating of: 3.5 out of 5 stars.