Archie Comes to TV
As a kid, I always liked Archie comics. I read and re-read them over and over. Some of them I knew by heart. Even into my late teens and early 20’s, I would occasionally pick up an issue, or more likely re-read one of the old digest comics.
It was with some trepidation that I watched the first episode of the new Riverdale series. I had heard about it some time ago and had seen the trailer, which had me roll my eyes so hard I thought I’d never see straight again. When it showed up on Netflix, I resisted watching it, but finally gave in last night. I’ve read a few reviews and had heard only good things, so I finally gave in.
I’m still processing it.
On one hand, while it wasn’t terribly good, it wasn’t horribly bad either. K J Apa looks about as much like Archie Andrews as a real-life person can, but this being the CW, he’s now hot, muscular and– the very first time we see him– shirtless. It’s certainly not the goofy-but-loveable Archie of the comics I grew up with. His transformation, however, is less dramatic than Miss (now Ms) Grundy who now looks less like Peter Parker’s Aunt May and more like the sexy young substitute teacher than all the boys crush on.
The CW seems willing to shake things up with the characters, giving us such things as good-girl Betty Cooper becoming rebellious at home, Archie’s parents being divorced, Veronica’s dad being a criminal and more. They are less willing, for some reason, to allow Jughead to be asexual, as he is in the comics, which seems odd given that they have no issue with making Moose Mason gay (or at least bi-curious) and giving a fan-service scene of Betty and Veronica making out…
I’ll probably give it another episode or two before I make up my mind. I’m trying to be fair and say that if it wasn’t Archie and the gang, the show might be intriguing. There are elements that could certainly prove interesting, but at the moment it just seems like they are only using the names for familiarity’s sake and to attract viewers. I am not sure that Archie-as-Twin-Peaks really works (although I seem to be in the minority). To me, it’s as if they made a new Gilligan’s Island series, but crossed it with Lost…
I guess we’ll see how things progress, but my WTF? meter is in danger of breaking already.
Riverdale can be seen on both the CW and Netflix.