TV Review: Riverdale

Riverdale is the CW’s steamy new crime series that has teenagers everywhere reeling. It’s a dark reinvention of the Archie Comics, complete with a bizarrely twisted plot and a sweltering crew of fresh-faced cast members. The show takes place in the shadowy town of Riverdale following the mysterious disappearance of a beloved football player. It is up to Archie and his friends to uncover the dark secrets imbedded in the seams of their small town.

Archie Andrews, played by KJ Apa, is a conflicted teen try ing to balance his thriving football and music careers. Betty Cooper, played by Lili Reinhart, is the squeaky clean “girl-next-door” still pining over Archie, her best friend since childhood. Betty’s older sister, Polly (Tiera Skovbye), remains hidden away in a mental institution due to a supposed “mental breakdown” for the first half of the series.

Camila Mendes plays Veronica Lodge, the confident, cool, new girl from New York City whose father is in jail for fraud. She comes to learn how her father’s past has impacted the town of Riverdale more gravely than she could have imagined. Jughead Jones III, played by Cole Sprouse, is the narrator of the show. He’s a quirky, social outcast grappling with his father’s allegiance to the Southside Serpents, a motorcycle gang from the “wrong” side of the tracks.

Cheryl Blossom, played by Madelaine Petsch, is Riverdale’s rich, entitled head cheerleader whose hard “mean-girl” exterior cracks following the mysterious disappearance of her twin brother, Jason Blossom. Jason Blossom, played by Trevor Stines, remains a mysterious figure throughout the series. His close relationship with Cheryl raises eyebrows and nobody can be sure what truly happened in the days or moments leading up to his disappearance.

The characters in Riverdale are more diverse than those from the original comic books. Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) is an openly gay student. Kevin is a loyal friend to Betty, Veronica, Archie and Jughead. The mayor of Riverdale is African American and her daughter, Josie (Ashley Murray), is the lead singer of the town’s beloved girl group, “Josie and the Pussy Cats.” Riverdale High is like any other high school (if high schools were populated solely with students who look like Instagram models). The school is sodden with teen angst, and the students grapple with issues ranging from student-teacher affairs to sexual assault.

The Riverdale characters are multidimensional and well developed. Their individual story lines and “at-home” lives are just as fascinating as the constantly evolving overall plot. His character is overly brooding, bland and occasionally boring. Although Jughead is generally likeable and endearing, the female characters, Cheryl, Betty and Veronica are much more entertaining to watch on screen. They are confident, relatable and funny and complex. The tumultuous relationships they have with each other are far more captivating than the relationships they have with the male characters on the show.

Riverdale is more than that show your little sister won’t shut up about. It’s captivating and completely binge-worthy. With Season two looming in the near future, you’d better start catching up now.

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