If you thought the alternate universe edition of Archie Comics, where he is married to Betty in some and then Veronica in the others were weird, then get ready to be weirded out and oddly comforted at the same time by Riverdale. When I first saw the commercial for the new series, I was upset that it was going to be a very dark and somewhat creepy show. I spent weeks, until I actually watched the show, convincing myself that I would hate it, write this review, and never watch another episode again. My reasoning was that I wanted to stay loyal to the stacks and stacks of beloved Archie Comics that are sitting in my room, all of which have been read over and over again. The simplicity and fluffiness of the comics is what draws people to read them: Archie has a problem and the whole gang comes together to fix it. But despite all of my convincing and determination, I found myself enjoying it and finding comfort in the familiarity of Riverdale. It was nice being back in Riverdale High and visiting Pops, getting to see Archie and the whole gang back together again. It gave the same warmth and comfort as when you go back to your old high school during vacation and get to hang out with all of your old friends.
The show opens with a narrator explaining to the viewers what the premise of the show is. He gives us background information so that we aren’t completely lost. We don’t hear from this narrator again, who turns out to be none other than our beloved Jughead Jones, until the last minutes of the show. All the characters are there: Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie (still as full of himself as before, though it’s not that obvious yet. But hang in there, it’s coming: I can just feel it). And of course, who could forget the Lodge’s butler Smithers? He’s there, in addition to the rest of the gang.
The drama and tension in the show is like Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars. The show has two best friends who like the same boy (I have always been and will always be Team Betty. She and Archie make the perfect high school sweethearts), parents who dated before their kids became friends, a murder that people know more about than they are admitting, betrayal and of course, a horrible mean girl. (Not that Cheryl Blossom is any way the same as Blair Waldorf: Blair will always be the Queen Bee.)
There are a lot of things in the story line that have been changed from the comic books in order to make the T.V. show more captivating. These changes include the most significant one, the death of Jason Blossom. In the comics, Jason never dies and was in love with Betty, though he ultimately professes his love for Veronica. One of the changes I didn’t like is how Archie and Jughead are portrayed. Archie is now a tortured, beautiful athlete and musician whose love life is a complete mess. He’s having an affair with his music teacher, leading on his best friend, and kissing the new girl. It makes me upset that this new Archie is being portrayed as a jerk. And then there’s Jughead Jones: Jughead was always the funny sidekick, with his laid-back nature and humor that made him someone everyone liked. But here, Jughead is this dark and brooding writer who comes off as a loner.
All in all, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop myself from enjoying the show. While I do feel like I am betraying my Archie comics, I think this show could be a really great addition to the Archie world. I give it 3.5 out of 5 chocolate milkshakes from Pop’s.