Ahh, Riverdale. I’ve got way into Riverdale. Riverdale is like Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl and if that isn’t selling it to you, I don’t know what will. So, I know we’ve only had six episodes so far, but I just need to talk about it. I need to talk about the return of Cole Sprouse to our screens, I need to have a good ol’ rant about characterisation, and I definitely need to discuss the possibility that it could turn into High School Musical at any given moment. So, hold tight guys, it’s time for a rant-disguised-as-review post.
First off, let me give you some background. Riverdale is basically a teen drama/murder mystery, based around the characters of Archie comics. Sounds like a strange premise for a show, I grant you, and I was sceptical at first. But I put my cynicism behind me, and dipped my toe in with the first episode. And then I proceeded to spend my whole Sunday watching the five episodes that had already been released because it’s just so damn intriguing. It balances out the typical teen dramas (in love with your best friend? Sleeping with your music teacher? Brother found dead in a lake?) with the actual, real, exciting mystery stuff really well, which is no easy feat.
So. Characters. A show based off Archie comic characters is bound to have Archie at its forefront, right? Right. And I’m glad it does. KJ Apa is playing his Troy Bolton-esque tormented teen excessively well, it’s just… hard to like him, sometimes. Take episode one, for example. He knows Betty is into him, yet still stares wistfully at Veronica as if he’s never seen a girl before. And then makes out with her in a cupboard. And then wonders why Betty no longer wants to be a part of his life. I mean, I get it, he isn’t into her, that’s not his fault, but have some respect man. Also, his dalliance with Geraldine/Jennifer? Baffling. Unnecessary. I want to love Archie, but that’s hard when writers are trying to make him come across as a good, wholesome teen, but then make him fall for three women in the space of six episodes. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully approving of his relationship with Val, but come on guys. He’s supposed to be our hero. Make him heroic.
I haven’t got a bad word to say about any of girls on this show. I mean, Betty is a bit annoying, but I would be too if I had her parents. Veronica is sassy and loyal, the Pussycat girls are slowly coming into their own, and now we’ve finally met the elusive Polly Cooper, it’s clear she has promise. But my favourite by a country mile is the formidable Cheryl. I love her. She’s hilarious and bitchy and flawed and every teen drama needs a Cheryl. Her malicious façade is the perfect cover-up for the pain she’s feeling after losing her twin, and Madelaine Petsch is pitching her with absolute perfection. The lack of her in episode six did not go unnoticed.
If you’re an avid follower of my tweets (I know there’s at least two of you), at this point you’ll be thinking “…But… She hasn’t even mentioned… Jughead…” Fear not. He’s clearly my favourite character. He’s clearly the one I have the most time for. Or, he was, until episode six happened. He’s our narrator, we’re basically hear everything that happens in Riverdale through what he’s telling us. We’re meant to trust him from the off, and I did. Not just because he’s Cole Sprouse. I trusted him because he was a loner, a recluse, and no one was influencing his version of events. His one-liners rivalled that of Cheryl, and, honestly, I related to his dry judgment of everyone around him. He was the perfect character, too sparsely seen in teen dramas. But then, I think it was around episode three, I saw it coming. I saw the metaphorical death of his character. And it finally happened in episode six. He kissed Betty. If ?????? was a real emotion, that was me at the time. What? They were great as friends, I adored them, going on their little sleuth adventures to try and catch Jason’s killer. But I knew, as soon as Jug and Betty started working together, what was going to happen. I’m slightly devastated, to be honest. He was my perfect character, and they’ve ruined him with a faux relationship that didn’t need to happen at all ever. He never showed any interest in girls. Cole Sprouse even said that he was all for playing him as asexual. So why Riverdale, why? Unnecessary plot shift and I don’t like it.
I’ll finish on a high note, I promise. I just love this show. The premise is nothing new, but it’s execution is spot on. Basically all the characters (minus the Cooper and Blossom parents) are sympathetic and likeable (most of the time) and I’m just dead excited to find out who killed Jason. If you’ve got a spare forty minutes, jump into this, you won’t regret it. It’s pretty easy watching, and it’ll have you hooked within five minutes. It’s the perfect replacement if, like me, you’ve had to stop watching Jane the Virgin because you can’t bear to see Michael die. It’s fun, yet dark, and I just can’t sing it praises high enough. Go. And. Watch.