Category: Articles

‘Riverdale’: Everything You Need to Know About Dark ‘Archie’ TV Show

What leaps to mind whenever someone mentions Archie comics? Teenagers crammed into a jalopy, driving to the soda shop? A romantic rivalry between girl-next-door Betty and spoiled rich kid Veronica? Bubblegum pop hits like “Sugar, Sugar?” Jughead’s stupid hat?
Or has no one mentioned the name “Archie Andrews” to you in years?

The creative team behind the CW’s high school soap Riverdale hopes you remember just enough about the old comic books to be excited about seeing them radically reimagined. Backed by producer Greg Berlanti (who helps manage the network’s DC Comics properties Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow), the new show takes a wild spin through an unusual variation of the Archie-verse, dropping the classic characters into the middle of a moody murder mystery, designed to appeal to Veronica Mars and Gossip Girl fans. The show premieres this Thursday, January 26th; here’s everything you need to know before tuning in.

Archie comics have a rich, varied history
Because Archie has been so ubiquitous for so long, non-aficionados may not realize how long the character’s been around or how important he was in the history of American popular culture. Introduced in Pep Comics in 1941 as a sort of pen-and-ink version of Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy, the all-American teen proved so immediately popular that his publisher MLJ Magazines soon changed its name to Archie Comics Publications. The core premise hasn’t changed much since then: The popular, ambitious, accident-prone Archie tries to skate through his days at Riverdale High. Along for the ride: his woman-hating, eternally hungry buddy Jughead; his competing girlfriends Betty and Veronica; and a teeming cast of eccentric peers and grown-ups.
That concept though has proved flexible enough to allow the gang to change with the times, adapting to rock & roll, disco, breakdancing and beyond. Archie and his friends have anchored a series of evangelical Christian comics, and starred in a musical animated TV cartoon that spawned the hit single “Sugar, Sugar.” Over the years, the cast has expanded to include enduring characters like Josie & the Pussycats and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Even today, at a time when most comics are confined to specialty shops, Archie digests are still available in supermarket checkout lines.
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‘Riverdale’ Review: Archie Gets a Dark, Moody Update… and Surprise, It Works!

There are about a million ways that The CW’s Riverdale — a slick new reboot of the classic Archie comics — could’ve gone horribly wrong. (See: NBC’s Emerald City.) And yet the new year is full of surprises, because Riverdale (premiering Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9/8c) actually turns out to be an artfully crafted, instantly engaging teen soap with loads of potential.

It’s an unexpected revival, to be sure, because the original comic-book hi-jinks of 1950s teens Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead are about as dated as sock hops and chocolate malts. But the Archie comics have been given a 21st-century revamp in recent years, proving that the franchise draws on strong archetypes that still resonate: The All-American boy. The girl next door. The rich girl. The nerd. And Riverdale cleverly uses those archetypes as a jumping-off point to tell a freshly compelling — and darker than expected — story.

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The young cast of newcomers is convincing throughout, especially Reinhart as Betty, the Adderall-popping overachiever who’s tired of being the “nice girl” all the time. And the adult cast is filled with familiar faces, led by 90210 alum Luke Perry — who knows a thing or two about being a TV teen idol — as Archie’s grizzled dad Fred, and Twin Peaks‘ Mädchen Amick as Betty’s domineering mom Alice. The decision to make Jughead (Cole Sprouse) a sarcastic recluse who’s estranged from his pal Archie doesn’t quite work, at least not early on. But his role as world-weary narrator has room to grow as the show’s mysteries deepen.

Read the full article on TVLine.

Best New TV Shows of Winter 2017

Riverdale (The CW)

Premieres Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9/8c

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?: A subversive take on the world of Archie Comics, Riverdale puts Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and more at the center of a twisted murder mystery.

WHY WE LIKE IT: With a Gossip Girl-meets-Twin Peaks vibe and a ridiculously good-looking cast — including familiar faces like 90210‘s Luke Perry, along with refreshingly talented unknowns — Riverdale is easily the smartest, most addictive teen drama to come along in years, while also being pleasingly faithful (in its own way) to the source material.

Read the full article on TVLine.