Fans of the classic 1939 Archie Comics rejoiced when it was announced last December The CW was finally bringing Archie and the gang to life in a new, live-action adaptation of the famous books from many people’s childhood. However, with Riverdale well into its second season, the show has turned out to be a predictable and cringe-worthy flop.
For those who have been living under a rock for the past year, Riverdale is a young adult TV show aired on The CW based on Archie Comics. However, it’s not your grandparents’ version of the comics you buy in the grocery store checkout aisle. Riverdale has been revamped to be sexy, edgy, and mysterious. The show is presented as a murder-mystery/teen romance, following the adventures of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica. Riverdale has turned out to be a “whodunit” mystery, with the season finale predictably revealing the most obvious culprit.
Despite a surprising rating of 87 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, many Riverdale fans came to realize that the show fell short of expectations after the first season concluded last spring. So how did a show with so much promise and hype turn out to be a guilty pleasure that you can only watch while feeling secondhand embarrassment?
It all begins with the first season. The premise of season one focuses on the murder of Riverdale teenager Jason Blossom, the son of the richest family in town. Archie and gang begin to investigate the murder and discover who the culprit is at the end of the season. In between the murder mystery is an overrated love triangle, a creepy teacher/student love affair, and gang violence that isn’t very violent. But hey, it’s an all-ages show.
After watching the first few episodes of the show, viewers began to have flashbacks to their preteen years. It was during this dark time of 2006 when young girls across the world began obsessing over Troy Bolton in Disney’s High School Musical franchise. Fast-forward ten years and enter Archie Andrews, played by New Zealander K.J. Apa. He’s a good-looking, popular football player who dreams of breaking free from the status quo by becoming a singer. Sound familiar? The show offers one of the most overdone high school tropes of all time. The “I’m not giving up my dream, dad, I’m giving up yours” teen stereotype leaves a bad taste in the mouth and sends eyes rolling.
That being said, K.J. Apa brings charm and innocence to his portrayal of Archie, and does his best to make him a likeable character. The problem with his character isn’t the acting, but rather the terrible dialogue written for Archie and most of the other characters. Many lines of dialogue leave you pausing to think, really? How did this script get approved and filmed?
The disappointment falls on the fact that Riverdale had so much potential. A new teen drama that doubles as an edgy murder mystery seemed like an exciting TV idea. But the idea was poorly executed. Overused plotlines, embarrassing pop culture references, and laughable dialogue showed that it had potential, but all hope seemed lost after season one.
The writers need to figure out what they want from the show. With so many overlapping plot lines and no single focus in any episode, Riverdale leaves you wondering oftentimes “what was even the point of that episode?” before finally unveiling the murder culprit in a 13-episode season that could have been cut in half.
Despite the failure of the first season (and fans waiting to see how season two will unveil), Riverdale producers have signed on to reboot a Sabrina the Teenage Witch crossover in 2018, hoping to bring a supernatural element into the Riverdale series. As if there wasn’t already enough going on in the show.
But if good-looking people, cheesy plotlines, and random musical numbers are your thing, feel free to check it out on The CW or on Netflix. Just be prepared to be wanting more from a show that could have been great, but ended up feeling like High School Musical and Scooby Doo had a baby.