Chapter One: The River’s Edge — Riverdale Review

Jan 27, 2017

I didn’t have an interest in watching the new CW series Riverdale because of having read the Archie comics. I’ve never perused one, let alone picked up a copy. I know the name; its history; and how beloved the series is. What this show will do for me, and probably a good amount of other viewers, is attract us into wanting to check out where exactly this gorgeous ginger jock came from originally. That leads into how exactly I came across Riverdale. The guy in the role of said Archie: KJ Apa.

I didn’t know who he was until I looked into the show more and saw that he’s new to the states and is in the movie A Dog’s Purpose that comes out Jan. 27. Around the midseason finale of one of the CW superhero shows, I saw the promo for Riverdale, which included in it a shirtless Apa. Would it be appropriate to type in the on looking eyes emoji? Nah… but you understand what I’m trying to say. He’s eye-candy, in short. So I decided to check it out. Then I started to see reviewers who’ve seen a few episodes say how the show is actually really good; well-shot; soapy; and run by none other than Greg Berlanti, who if you don’t know is also behind Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. And besides my wanting to see more Apa, the show turned out to actually be pretty interesting.

As a film minor, I appreciate the noir present day set up. The muted aesthetic alongside hyper colorized costuming and makeup gives the world a unique feel and immediately separates itself from other TV shows. Since Hannibal was sadly cancelled, there hasn’t been a show this beautifully shot, at least on network TV. Character wise, Archie himself is what you see is what you get. Betty and Veronica are the highlights so far; they’re both the light in what’s a dark town and plot. Camila Mendes, who plays Veronica, for me personally was the standout in the pilot. All of these actors are fairly new to Hollywood, but this is Mendes’ first go, that’s what makes it the more impressive.

One other character I want to point out is Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse. If any of you who are reading this are 23 like I am or around that age give or take a year or two, you’ll know that name; you should know who he is. If you don’t, he was Cody in the Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and The Suite Life on Deck. He did that for six years and then decided to take a break from acting and study geographic information systems and satellite imaging at NYU. He’s back and it’s good to see him. I like his character a lot because (1) he’s narrating the story of Riverdale to you in voice over at the beginning and end of the episode which again lends itself to the noir theme, (2) is a writer, (3) something tells me he knows more than he’s letting on.

A final character note. Kevin, who’s openly gay, had two of the best lines. I mean… I can relate to him so that’s probably why I think so. The first was near the beginning of the episode:

  • “Game-changer… Archie got hot! He’s got abs now. Six more reasons for you to take that ginger bull by the horns tonight,” Kevin tells Betty this before her date with Archie, who besides being mighty fine is the guy next door too. Jealous.

The other is when Veronica asked Betty if Archie and she were together as they looked on at him in the Riverdale High hallway with lustful eyes. Kevin was there, naturally, and answered for Betty:

  • “No, he’s straight.”

I won’t delve into any sort of spoilers in this initial review because I want you to go check out the show. It’s totally worth it if you like looking at some pretty people, soap-opera esque storytelling, mystery and drama.

Archie fan? Leave a comment a below or tweet me @werdynerdy.