It’s 12:54 pm
I have written many examples about my being a fanboy and have included reviews of different types of film genres of fanboyhood…..creature features,animation,sci-fi and fantasy. In some cases,we have watched live action TV series like “Lucifer” and “Constantine” and have really liked them quite a bit. When I heard the CW had made a live action series based on the Archie comic books,I was a little curious…
I not only collected Marvel and DC Comics back in the day but also “Archie” comics. Archie was and still an interesting book…it has managed to stay relevant and vital in a time where comic books are struggling to stay afloat. The small town of Riverdale with its innocence and beloved cast of Archie Andrews,Veronica Lodge,Betty Cooper and the rest of the gang have seen a lot different story lines pop up through the years,including Archie even dying to save a friend. This is not your (or mine) mom and dad’s Riverdale where the biggest question was whether Archie was going to choose Betty or Veronica.
So when our deep cover asset “MP” over at Warner Brothers Archives whispered the two most magical words through a email…..and no,it wasn’t “Betty” or “Veronica” either.
Nope,”MP” said that our favorite actor is in a starring role. The cheetah and I looked at each other and yelled “LOCHLYN MUNRO“!!! Oh hell yeah!!! Sign us up please!!
So with that,let us take a look at the first season of “Riverdale”.
Riverdale starts off with a firm nod to another quirky series from back in the 1980s,the cult favorite of “Twin Peaks”. The series opens with the strange disappearance of popular Jason Blossom,the son of one of the most influential families in Riverdale. He was last seen with his twin sister Cheryl on the 4th of July.
This is the main central arc of the 13 episode first season and it slowly unfolds with plenty of red herrings and arrests of different characters. The story is narrated by Jughead Jones,an aspiring writer who seems to know a little bit about everyone.
He used to be best friends with Archie Andrews but had a falling out when Archie’s dad caught Jughead’s dad stealing and fired it.
Archie is a 15 year old sophomore attending Riverdale High,the Andrews live next door to the Coopers and while Archie and Betty are friends,Betty wants more and is puzzled as to why Archie doesn’t have the slightest bit of interest in her romantically.
The new girl in town is Veronica Lodge,who,along with her mother,Hermione,have moved back to Riverdale after Hiram Lodge as been convicted of several white collar crimes. Once very wealthy,Hermione and Veronica are no longer rich and struggle to fit in with the rest of the town despite everyone knowing about Hiram’s conviction.
The various families have rich and in some cases,bitter backgrounds that come to the forefront as the disappearance of Jason Blossom gathers steam. When Jason’s body is found and its clear he has been murdered,the ebb and flow of Riverdale picks up and sweeps everyone up in its path. Alliances will be made and broken,lies and secrets born and discovered and the mysteries will only go deeper into the rabbit’s hole…..
So did the cheetah and I enjoy the first season of Riverdale? We did,sorta. I mean it was fun to watch,more twists then a ice cream cone from Pop’s Soda Shoppe and a few really good acting standouts. But there is also more then a fair amount of cheese and the writing staff really let the cast down in many places.
We absolutely love Camila Mendes as Veronica,her Ronnie is very conflicted. She still at the age where she has hope,heart and good intentions but you can see how how all the wheeling and double crosses are slowly eroding away. Her hero and role model is Hermione but when she catches her mother doing a lot shady things including kissing Archie’s dad,the once bright light begins to dim a bit.
Mendes takes up the whole room whenever she walks in and while the writers seem to have Ronnie as a girl who do anything,Mendes pulls tight at the reins and give her Veronica a much more human quality.
Madchen Amick as Alice Cooper is batshit crazy and she knows it. We haven’t seen a crazier mother since Alice Krige’s Mary Brady in “Sleepwalkers”. Wound tighter then a cuckoo clock,Madchen’s Alice is the nightmare of every teen anywhere. Controlling,cruel,invasive and she yet she does for love and family. Even if that means hiding a family secret from her own daughter.
Cole Sprouse as Jughead is the storyteller of the show. Each show starts with a recap and ends with Jughead summing up what we just saw and where we potentially be headed.
Sprouse’s Jughead is Riverdale’s soul and chameleon,despite his scruffy looks,his ability to blend in on every level of Riverdale’s society allows him to see every aspect of the town,both good and bad.
The rest of the young and relatively unknown cast works very hard,K.J. Apa is a fine Archie and Lili Reinhart is a quite earnest Betty Cooper. The only weakness is Madelaine Petsch’s WAAAAAAY over the top Cheryl Blossom. You never take her seriously for one second and Petsch’s overacting is so bad. She has so much make-up on that she could have the Titanic a couple of inches and most likely would prevented it from sinking. We’re hoping they will dial back Cheryl in season two and let Petsch play her much more normally.
The main story arc was quite good,the mystery of what happened to Jason Blossom was well written and if I hadn’t already watched “Twin Peaks”,I would have been pleasantly surprised at the big reveal. Definitely not what one would have suspected.
This was easy…..this show is the most overwritten I have ever watched. We are supposed to be following 15 year old sophomores but the dialogue is completely written for adults.
Never once do you feel like you’re watching teenagers,you are watching college kids or older. So while we know the cast is supposed to be 15 years old,you never see them as that,the dialogue is far too mature and pushes the show more into dark comedy and fantasy. Now if that is what series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s intended Riverdale to be,then he has a great job….but it isn’t and so this is what really hurts the show. We really wanted to be vested in the story but I found myself laughing at a lot of the dialogue that was being said.
Now I know the focus is supposed to be on the kids but when you have a cast of older seasoned pros like Luke Perry and Lochlyn Munro– USE THEM! Other then Amick,the adults on the show are either used as window dressing or are so vanilla and bland. I have to believe that in season two,the adults will take a greater role in the story lines.
Every show has its growing pains and I know Riverdale sure had their fair share. But I’m looking forward to the second season and seeing this show get only stronger.
Season One of Riverdale can bought by clicking on the Warner Brothers Archive website.
Riverdale consists of 13 episodes and has a few small special features as a gag reel and a clip taken at the San Diego Comic Con.
While a bit uneven,Riverdale is worth a look. The cheetah and I both give it a thumbs/paw straight up.
We would like to hear your thoughts on “Riverdale” so please drop a comment below.