Friday, June 22, 2018
Breaking News

Review: 'Riverdale' ditches wholesomeness for an edgy twist on a classic comic

This is not your father's  or your grandfather's  Archie comics.

On paper it seems like a bonkers idea: Classic characters Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones are modernized for a teen murder mystery.

But on screen, Riverdale plays out like a noirish melodrama combining elements from all your soapy favorites like Twin Peaks, Gossip Girl and Dawson's Creek.

Archie (K.J. Apa) is the handsome, red-headed football player who is more abs than awkward. He comes back buff after a long break working for his dad (Luke Perry), yet pines for the scandalous summer fling with teacher Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) and the freedom to explore his musical talents.

Supposed goody-two-shoes Betty (Lili Reinhart) isn't all cotton candy and sunshine. She's constantly stifled by her journalist mother (Twin Peaks' Madchen Amick), who tries to keep Betty on the straight and narrow path with an Adderall prescription and strict rules on who she can be friends with.

The arrival of New York socialite Veronica (Camila Mendes) shakes up Betty and Archie's lives as well as Riverdale High. Veronica's mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) returns to her hometown of Riverdale to start over after her husband's financial fraud scandal tainted the Lodge name.

Riverdale cold opens with the death of the high school football star and twin to the fiery redhead Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). Clearly this is no accidental death. It's also a bit weird that Cheryl and Jason take a romantic boat ride in matching crisp white linens.

CW

Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones and K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews.

And who better to narrate this seedy mystery than Jughead (Cole Sprouse), the demure, beanie-wearing writer who lives in the old drive-in theater.

The story quickly turns into an old fashioned whodunit wrapped in a surreal drama led by pretty teenagers and horrible parents.

This is an Archie story above all else, but with hints of David Lynch surrealism and moody aesthetics. The characters retain much of their iconic personality and physical traits, but without the cartoonish expression and goofy dialogue. They're all inherently good kids who often get placed in more adult situations than you would find in the comics.

CW

Camila Mendes, center, as Veronica Lodge in Riverdale.

Gone is the perky Americana and antiquated love triangle between Betty, Veronica and Archie. Despite a bumpy start, Veronica and Betty became fast friends hell bent on avenging those who were slut-shamed by a block-headed jock and sticking up for each other in the face of manipulative mean girl Cheryl.

Even local band Josie and the Pussycats gets a dynamic twist. The all-black trio, led by Ashleigh Murray, and their iconic cat ears rock Riverdale pep rallies like an episode of Friday Night Lights.

Series creator and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee, Looking, Big Love) brings much of the pop-culture saturated and sardonic dialogue seen in his other shows to Riverdale. It also helps that Aguirre-Sacasa has history writing for Marvel Comics and is the Chief Creative Officer for Archie Comics. Archie and the gang are definitely in good hands.

Don't let the show's comic book roots deter you, Riverdale won't disorient viewers with too many hat tips to decades-old comic book panels.The show's smart and surprising choices temper the teen angst and wholesome origins. It's not another paperback teen drama.

On Thursday night, Riverdale  The town with pep!  is the place to be.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.


If you watch

Riverdale premieres at 9 p.m. on the CW.

 

Comments
At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — In Honduras, their lives were surrounded by death.Lourdes Cruz had just started a new job when the maras, the deadly gangs plaguing Central America, demanded half of her paycheck. She quit her job, but they found her number a...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Trump tweets full endorsement of Ron DeSantis

Trump tweets full endorsement of Ron DeSantis

In case there was any remaining doubt of where the president stood in the race for Florida's next governor, he cleared things up Friday morning with a tweet:Congressman Ron DeSantis, a top student at Yale and Harvard Law School, is running for Govern...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
ABC orders ‘Roseanne’ spinoff for fall minus Roseanne Barr

ABC orders ‘Roseanne’ spinoff for fall minus Roseanne Barr

LOS ANGELES — ABC, which canceled its Roseanne revival over its star's racist tweet, said Thursday it will air a Conner family sitcom minus Roseanne Barr this fall.ABC ordered 10 episodes of the spinoff after Barr relinquished any creative...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The crying Honduran girl on the cover of Time was not separated from her mother, father says

The crying Honduran girl on the cover of Time was not separated from her mother, father says

The photo of the little girl crying as a U.S. Border Patrol agent patted down her mother became a symbol of the families pulled apart by the Trump administration’s "zero tolerance" policy at the border, even landing on the cover of Time magazine. But...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida education news: Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit, immigrant education, tutoring troubles and more

Florida education news: Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit, immigrant education, tutoring troubles and more

TAKE A KNEE: Lawyers for the Pasco County school district say students do not have an unqualified, clearly established right to kneel during the daily pledge to the flag, rebutting a family's lawsuit contending otherwise.SUMMER LEARNING: So...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Confirmed: Nelson and Scott in dogfight

Confirmed: Nelson and Scott in dogfight

Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott remain neck-and-neck in their high profile showdown, a poll released today to the Tampa Bay Times shows.Nelson gets 48 percent of the vote with Scott taking 46 percent, within the margin of error of +/- 4 percenta...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Petersburg couple drive a minivan, volunteer at church and were CIA spies

St. Petersburg couple drive a minivan, volunteer at church and were CIA spies

What's it like to start a family when you're working for the CIA? Jihi and Andrew Bustamante know.
Updated: 4 hours ago