Review of "Riverdale" on The CW From The TV MegaSite

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Review of "Riverdale" 2/3/17
Airs Thursday, 9/8c on The CW

If you love the Archie comics, or loved them as a kid, you may not like this show. It's really not at all like the comics. They just used the names of some of the characters, and the town. Otherwise it's completely different. It's even more different than "Smallville" was from "Superboy."

They use a lot of red hair dye on this show. Archie is played by a brunette who doesn't really looke like a redhead and has no freckles. He's not the average guy that Archie is. He's a handsome hunk.  Betty is pretty much like Betty in the comics, but more angsty (it's the CW, so what do you expect?).   The whole is very dark because it's a drama. In fact, it's a murder mystery, with lots of secrets and steamy sex.  It's kind of like "Vampire Diaries" without the supernatural element. Like that show, and many others on The CW, it's by Greg Berlanti.

Jughead is not as dopey as in the comics. He looks kind of cool.  Reggie is Asian.  Betty has a gay friend, and Moose might also be gay.  Veronica is not the town mean girl, and she's no longer rich. Instead of living with her rich parents, she lives with her newly-divorced mom (dad's in jail).  She's trying to be a good person.  Archie had an affair with his teacher, Miss Grundy (who's young and attractive, not the old maid we see in the comics).  Coach, Pop, and Josie and the Pussycats are all black. 

About the only things that are the same as the comic are that Betty and Veronica both like Archie and Dilton Doyle appears to be the same.  If any of this bothers you, don't watch the show!  For me, the best way to enjoy it is to just think of it as an alternate-universe Archie (that's what I had to do to enjoy "Smallville" and "Gotham", among others).

I think the writing is pretty good, and the mystery is a good one. A young guy is murdered on the lake. His twin sister says that he fell out of their boat.  Later, he's found shot to death when his body washes up on the shore.  The show can be pretty creepy and dark, and it reminds me quite a lot of "Twin Peaks," although it's not nearly as weird or creepy as that show was. Not coincidentally, I'm sure, Mädchen Amick, who was in "Twin Peaks," plays Betty's mother. Also, when you look at Archie on the show, he sometimes looks a little bit like the "Twin Peaks" character Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and also a bit like Paul Wesley (Stefan of "Vampire Diaries").  Luke Perry of " Beverly  Hills, 90210" plays Archie's dad, Fred, and I'm sure that's no coincidence, either.

The "kids" don't look like high school kids. Not one of them.  Call it the "Dawson's Creek" or "Beverly Hills 90210" syndrome.  They don't talk like teens, either. In fact, a lot of the dialogue tries too hard to be clever, witty and pop-culture conscious.  The best thing about it is the story. The acting isn't bad, either.  Most of the characters are pretty likable, too.  Check it out and see if you agree it's worth watching. I like it enough to keep recording it on my DVR.

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Series Premiere Thursday, January 26 at 9pm

Thursdays (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom — and nothing feels the same. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music and not follow in his dad’s footsteps despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel). Now Archie has no one to mentor him, certainly not singer Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), who is only focused on her band, the soon-to-be-world-famous Pussycats. It’s all weighing heavily on Archie’s mind — as is his fractured friendship with budding writer and fellow classmate Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse).

Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves, which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice (Mädchen Amick), aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols), there’s an undeniable spark between Veronica and Archie, even though Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty by making a play for Archie. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch)... Riverdale’s Queen Bee is happy to stir up trouble amongst Archie, Betty and Veronica, but Cheryl is keeping secrets of her own. What, exactly, is she hiding about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there are dangers in the shadows.

Based on the characters from Archie Comics, RIVERDALE is from Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, in association with Berlanti Productions, with executive producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Supergirl,” “Glee”), Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) and Jon Goldwater (Archie Comics).

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