Obviously the inspiration for this adaptation, particularly in tone, is more owed to the recently rebooted Archie comics than the old school originals that began in the golden age of comics during the 1940s. So going in with that and the fact that it’s a modern day teen show on the CW with a mysterious teen murder as a backdrop, you know it’s going to be darker, seedier. However, being created/executive produced by Greg Berlanti gives it more than a snowball’s chance in hell to become a successful show on multiple levels, if Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl are any indication.
All in all, last week’s pilot episode of Riverdale was intriguing, despite various changes to the essence and mythos of the Archie universe, not to mention typical pilot wrinkles. There’s a Twin Peaks feel to it, mixed in with some 90210 melodrama. I have to admit a teen show of this nature is not something I had been looking for since like Dawson’s Creek in 1998 in my mid-20s, and I still don’t necessarily need one these days, not with the current trappings that comes with today’s teenage life (trust me, I’m a dad on his second teenager currently).
Here’s a bullet-point rundown of the nitpicks I had with the pilot:
- The casting is pretty good, especially Veronica Lodge, Fred Andrews and Jughead Jones, but . . .
- They couldn’t find a blond to cast for Kevin Keller, especially considering there are no blond dudes on the show?
- There’s always a visual problem when you have very mature looking 20-somethings playing teenage characters, especially mere sophomores.
- The lesbian kiss between Veronica and Betty was forced and gratuitous in its execution.
- Moose Mason . . . cue the closeted
gaybisexual high school athlete. Really? Gay/bisexual characters are totally fine (I’m very far from being a homophobe), but the closeted gay/bisexual jock is such low-hanging fruit. It’s too convenient.
- Is it really hard to put together a teen-aimed show minus the forced sexual content?
- Josie “Pussycat” McCoy had one-note and not an ounce of charisma.
- Reggie Mantle is rather vapid.
- Jughead was scarce, we need more Jughead. However, he is Archie’s
bestformer best friend and also the narrator, so naturally his role will increase.
My initial rating is somewhere around a 3.5 or a little more. But what the hell, my teen daughter digs it and I have an opening in my nightly schedule at the moment, having dropped out on the CW’s Supergirl after a rocky start to season two. I’ll employ a little patience to give Riverdale a couple of episodes to truly win me over.
Episode 2 is tonight at 9 PM EST.