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Dawson’s Creek Meets Twin Peaks in Riverdale

The Verdict8
With a murder mystery and all kinds of dark, sexy dirtyness, The CW’s Riverdale ain’t your daddy’s Archie.

“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.

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