Dawson’s Creek Meets Twin Peaks in Riverdale
“Riverdale,” the CW’s new teen drama based on the Archie comics, is an eerie and offbeat take on high school — both addictive and confusing in equal parts. Riverdale is full of recognisable Archie elements, but the familiar character names and some of their more known traits have been made into a creepy murder mystery with inappropriate student-teacher relations and corruption that would make their comic book counterparts blush. Think Dawson’s Creek meets Twin Peaks, rather than that God-awful Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again from 1990.
K.J. Apa plays Archie Andrews, newly returned from a summer working construction for his father (Luke Perry) with musical dreams and six-pack abs that seem to get a bit over-shown — like … a lot. We get it — Archie is in shape. Good for him. Now stop. Archie’s passion for music sends him right into an affair with his music teacher — a younger and much hotter Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel), now a sexy cellist. The other ladies in the “I Love Archie” universe — Girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), who is determined to finally tell Archie about her love for him, and Riverdale newcomer Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), the daughter of a disgraced businessman.
Other Archie universe characters are there, but they’re all just a bit different. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is a melancholy writer working on a book, Josie (Ashleigh Murray) is hard at work with the Pussycats — now a girl group, a la Destiny’s Child. Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) has no real interest in Jughead and Dilton Doiley (Major Curda) is a slightly off-kilter scout leader.
The show has been given a pretty solid template by director Lee Toland Krieger, that accents the darkness and adds a bit of menace to known locations from the comic. Everything wholesome in Riverdale has been twisted — like Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, now a murky, neon-splashed nightmare, or the local drive-in, now terrorized by a leather-clad biker gang.
Overall, Riverdale gathers the best of The CW, and uses Archie comics’ material in a great way. The show is refreshing, dark and witty, with lovable and mysterious characters. It still has a long way to go, but it will definitely grab your attention.
Riverdale premieres Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.