I'm always looking for a new show to love, so I decided to give Riverdale a try. If you're watching too, I hope you'll share your thoughts with me here or on Twitter.
First off, before watching I had only the slightest familiarity with the Archie comics. I knew who the main characters were - Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead - but that was about it. Luckily, my husband agreed to watch with me, and could at least help me figure out the characters I didn't know, like Miss Grundy, Cheryl, Moose, and Pop. I'll leave the opinions on the updating of the characters to others.
What I Liked:
The Veronica Mars Vibe
I'm a VM fan and I really liked the whole "Lilly Kane" vibe going on and the fact that there was a mystery to solve.
Betty and Veronica
In pop culture, a Betty is the stereotypical good girl-next-door and a Veronica is the scheming vixen. And it seemed at first in Riverdale that these characters were going to fall into the same tired pattern. But I liked that the show is mixing it up a bit. Veronica is at least trying to be nice and, better yet, Betty seems to have hidden depths of feeling and more spine than you'd expect. So far the Betty-Archie-Veronica relationship isn't really feeling too much like a love triangle. The Betty-Veronica kiss? I love the idea of a real romantic relationship between them, but the kiss felt very MTV Awards 2003.
I don't think she was a big part of the original comics, but I think Cheryl is a (possibly) intriguing character in the mold of Blair Waldorf - the bitchy, controlling character you hate at first and then slowly come to understand and even love. (Well, that was me with Blair at least....)
What I Didn't Like:
Ugh - can a show survive if the main character is someone you just don't care about? I did some internet research, and many Archie comic fans felt that comic book Archie was goofy, imperfect, and relatable. Where is that guy on Riverdale? Archie on Riverdale may have perfect abs, but he's a perfect bore. Why would Betty and Veronica even be attracted to him? With his secret songwriting aspirations, his sad puppy expression and his crushing on his music teacher, he was really, really reminding me of that another emo series lead from the 90s -- a guy who also a best friend who secretly loves him and a "bad girl" from New York lurking around...
Right? The more I think about it, the more parallels I see. Archie = Dawson. The massive eyebrows and dyed hair combo. The sad puppy expression. The whole tortured artist thing. The obliviousness to the fact that his girl-next-door neighbor is in love with him. The creepy teacher/student romance (Okay, that was Pacey, not Dawson. but still.) Please, Riverdale, give Archie some personality -- and soon.
For me, Riverdale has an appealing sinister vibe and (so far) female characters who may have hidden depths. So I'm going to keep watching - for now. But if Archie continues on his Dawson path, or the love triangle aspect becomes a big thing, I might have to abandon ship.
If you've watched, tell me your thoughts!