Raise your hand if you have ever read an Archie comic.
I know did. I read a lot of Archie comics along with the Double Digest Betty and Veronica and Jughead and everything I could find the checkout register of Safeway at 10 p.m. as a middle schooler. It was my guilty pleasure.
Eventually, as most Archie comics do, they found themselves somewhere in the back of my closet as I got older and found different guilty pleasure reading material. But the characters of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead never really left. I found these character archetypes in Gossip Girl with Nate, Serena, Blair and Chuck. I found them again when I binge watched “Breakfast Club” and “How I Met Your Mother.” They were my introduction to the Love-Triangle, Unrequited Love and numerous tropes, all within the static and timeless reality of Riverdale. At the time, I truly loved it.
You might try to imagine how I felt when I saw the trailer for the new TV show, “Riverdale.” What, that sounds really awes—with a murder mystery. WHAT?
Talk about zero to one hundred right there. I’m not a purist or anything when it comes to TV/film/book adaptations, but this did come as a shock. So naturally, I had to find out everything I could about it.
To get it out of the way, I’ll admit that I’m excited about the cast. I was surprised at first, but then I realized that the look of Archie comics has changed drastically since the last time I read it. So I checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised–it was a smart move to modernize the look and still keep the classic style for the digests. Also, the art is gorgeous. So on a second glance, the cast for the TV show makes more sense. Moving on the juicy, murder-mystery aspect of the show.
Where is this coming from?
The trailer reminds me that these are the same people who made “Vampire Diaries” and “Gossip Girl,” and frankly I don’t think I’ll ever really forgive the writers of “Gossip Girl” for making the character of GossipGirl such a big deal. In the books, I always interpreted the character of GossipGirl as yourself, the reader, an omnipresent narrator and audience to the mischief and drama of the Upper East Side. It incorporated the readers in a way that was smart and kept you on your toes–as clever a use of fourth wall break that you could find in a genre like Gossip Girl. Instead, the TV show changed it to an early-season “Pretty Little Liar” spinoff for wealthy New Yorkers. At least PLL was based on a mystery novel. But that is for another discussion.
While I’m slightly intrigued by the new look of Riverdale, I also I feel a little disappointed. Archie doesn’t need a murder mystery to make it interesting. The appeal of the comics wasn’t intrigue or mystery or thriller, it was wholesome, simple and fun. In a sense, I think it’s a missed opportunity. This could have been a generational TV show like “Friends” or “Dawson’s Creek.” It could have used these stereotypical characters to break out of their mold like “Freaks and Geeks” or “Skins” did. It’s not that I think these shows are better, (murder-mystery is one of my favorite genres,) it’s that the characters of Archie are so much more suited to make an impact through a show relatable to teenagers. The idea of adapting these comics to a TV show is brilliant, but it also has an incredible chance to be more than a brooding, teen angst, sarcasm and witty one-liner TV show. It could have been wholesome, funny, emotional, provocative and modern—and part of me is still holding out hope, despite the trailer.
The fact is: A friend of mine thought it would be funny to test my knowledge of Archie: “What is Jughead’s sister’s real name?”
“Forsythia.” *Mic drop.*
I guess somethings never leave you. So despite my concerns, you might guess exactly what I’m going to be watching tonight despite my wariness. But I swear, if Jughead dies…