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Riverdale: The River’s Edge – Review

by on January 27, 2017
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There will be spoilers! Watch the show, then come back!

I grew up reading Archie comics, they were the first comic books I had ever read. So when I heard about Riverdale I was ecstatic, but also worried that they were going to make this old comic into something it’s not. After watching the trailers we got a glimpse of what Riverdale was going to be: Murder, sex, drama, all the makings of an Archie comic? Not really. Well, except the drama… It’s a very strange take on the classic comic. But after rewatching the trailer and seeing the cast I got my excitement back. I love Cole Sprouse and him being Jughead was what gave me the kick to watch Riverdale. 

I was definitely expecting Riverdale to be this cool, new, modern take on Twin Peaks (maybe with less “what the hell is going on?”). Lo and behold the actress who played Shelly Johnson in Twin Peaks (Mädchen Amick) plays Betty Cooper’s mom in Riverdale! I guess we’re on the right path here. Another first impression, okay I’ll say it, ARCHIE IS HOT. “Archie got hot, he has abs!” Kevin Keller (Betty’s best friend, who identifies as gay in both the show and the comics, and played by Casey Cott) says in response to seeing Archie (K.J. Apa) shirtless.

The main plot of Riverdale is Cheryl Blossom’s brother, Jason, is found dead in the river but did he really just fall off a boat and drown? In the last few seconds of the first episode we see Kevin and Moose, who just so happened to be hooking up in the woods, stumble upon Jason’s dead body with a bullet wound in his head. We learn that Archie and Miss Grundy (that’s right, old Miss Grundy is now young and hot) were together near the river when they heard a gunshot. Guess Archie and young Miss Grundy should tell someone about the gunshot they heard. Well, they aren’t going to because, guess what, THEY SLEPT TOGETHER. This was the biggest problem I had with the show so far. I just can’t get behind Archie Andrews sleeping with Miss Grundy no matter how hot they all are.

I liked how they’re mostly focusing on Veronica’s mother, Hermione Lodge, more than her father, Hiram. Mr. Lodge always played a huge part in the comics so it’s refreshing to finally see more of Mrs. Lodge. Although, after Archie’s father Fred (Luke Perry) told Hermione he’s separated I do suspect that they might be hooking up in the future. I came here for the murder but all I’m getting is sex.

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Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) moved to Riverdale and wants a fresh start. She wants to be nice and not a bitchy rich kid and I appreciate that. I’m done with the girl vs. girl, “who ends up with Archie” argument (because we all know it should be Betty…). I’m really hoping that Betty and Veronica become good friends and don’t ruin it, but what am I talking about? This is a drama and the Betty and Veronica love/hate relationship was one of the biggest dramas in the comics.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were so many diverse characters in Riverdale. Josie and the Pussycats are all African American women (I love that they included the music aspects of the comic as well!), Pop Tate is African American, and Reggie Mantel is Asian American. Honestly, I didn’t even know it was Reggie until I looked it up since Reggie’s character in the show wasn’t as…assertive as he is in the comics.

I’m also hoping they will mention Jughead’s asexuality. Jughead is canonically asexual but it sounds like they aren’t going to approach it in season one. Show runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in an article for MTV, “The way we’re treating Riverdale, especially Season 1, is it’s an origin story. So I think all of the kids are discovering themselves, and a big part of that is discovering their sexuality, their sexual selves. Rather than have everything fully formed — for instance, we’re not going to start with Archie’s band or Jughead’s asexuality or any of the things that have become canon — those are all stops on the way to the journey until the show catches up to 75 years of Archie history.” In this same article it seems that Cole Sprouse will be pushing hard for Jughead to be asexual, something that should be represented better in the media.

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I could go on and on about this show but I’ll stop here. I’m very excited to see where it goes and am excited to see more Jughead. He is the narrator after all!

Positives

Beautiful cinematography.
Good casting.
Diverse characters!
Betty and Veronica are friends (for now?).
They represented Jughead's crown hat perfectly.
Archie is hot now, how is that not a negative?

Negatives

Why, oh why is Archie having an affair with a young Miss Grundy??
Stereotypical gay best friend
Jughead and Archie aren't as good friends as they are in the comics.
That being said, WE NEED MORE COLE.

Editor Rating
 
Cast
90%

 
Sound
80%

 
Visual
94%

 
Writing
75%

Author Score
85%

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User Rating
 
Cast
91%

 
Sound
84%

 
Visual
95%

 
Writing
80%

User Score
88%

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Bottom Line
 

If you want a dark twist on this old comic, you will like it. There are many aspects of Archie Comics that they included.

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