The highly anticipated CW drama Riverdale premiered last week and I had the opportunity to watch a screening of it at the Penguin Random House offices with about several hundred other Archie fans. The screening party was a blast (see below for tweets and photos from the event) and everyone had such a great time! Slight spoilers ahead in the review.
Riverdale follows Archie and his familiar group of friends and classmates as they maneuver high school life, love, and sports. That’s about the extent that the similarities to the comics go as a murder mystery is quickly established in the first few minutes of the show’s opening. The show runners also take some liberty with other characters, some for the better (yay more diversity!), some for the disappointing (why are they not friends anymore??) and some for the ridiculous (Miss Grundy. Enough said.) For the most part, the casting was pretty good although Archie’s look is probably most jarring and unnatural-looking. It’s probably the hair, but when he’s next to any of the rest of the cast, he looks almost cartoonish in his features.
The show (or the characters) also seem to have a sped up sense of time, as it feels a lot of things happen in this first episode. It’s the first day of school and shortly after they’re talking about a semi-formal dance already. Figuring a significant time may have passed, it’s made known that it’s all within the same week when Veronica says she’s only been away from NYC for “less than a week”.In typical CW fashion, there’s a lot of over-the-top “teen” drama and scenes for the sole purpose of shock value that were included. From (yet another) student/teacher affair, to a gratuitous girl/girl kiss, these scenes certainly evoked quite a bit of laughter throughout the crowd on Friday.
Despite the guffaws, part of the Riverdale charm is because of just that – the outlandish cheesy teen drama and I’m intrigued enough to keep watching as long as it holds my interest. It’s definitely got a Pretty Little Liars vibe to the show, and while I really don’t care too much for the Blossom twins themselves, that mystery angle has definitely piqued my curiosity. I love a good murder mystery. Just be forewarned, this is not the Archie world that you would have grown up with reading in the comics.
In Canada, Netflix will be airing the new episodes on Friday, the day after The CW airs in the States.