Riverdale – A Nice Place To Visit And You Just Might Want To Live There

(Image Credit Katie Yu, The CW Network)

My first full-time gig after graduating from college was managing a movie multi-plex. That experience in itself is truly worthy of a blog post or two down the road but for now I just want to extract one moment in time. I’m standing in the lobby near our ticket-taking usher one winter afternoon when a patron comes out from one of the theatres and says, “Geez, could you turn the heat up in there? It’s freezing.”

Neither the usher nor I moved off our spots.

Precisely one minute later a second patron comes out of the same theatre and says, “Hey, could you turn back the heat in there? It’s a furnace.”

We’re all different. People are unique.

One person’s “hot” is often another person’s “cold.”

My mind occasionally drifts in the direction of this moment whenever I set out to offer opinions in highly subjective areas most often followed by the word “critic.” Food…Music…Book…Film…TV.

We each know what we like; we all know what we don’t like.

There are a ton of choices out there. We can’t possibly take in everything people recommend we consume. Choices have to be made regarding trying new experiences based on preconceived notions.

Yet, allow me to tell you about one choice you might want to sample…even if your first inclination upon hearing what it is leaves you more inclined to move off this spot.

Last Thursday evening the CW raised the curtain on their new show Riverdale.

A couple bullet points to get us started:

  • The main characters are drawn from the world of the iconic Archie comic strip.
  • This series has already been compared to several others including Twin Peaks, Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.

Still here? Good.

I thought some of you might have taken off upon hearing this show references a comic strip almost 80 years old.

I thought others might have departed upon hearing those other show references.

Look, it would be v-e-r-y easy to dismiss Riverdale as just another youth-centric CW show. The stars are all attractive and look at least a tad older than the high school students they’re portraying. There is all sorts of teen angst hovering in the air within the small town’s borders…and a very dead body floating between the banks of the small town’s river.


(Image Credit Diyah Pera, The CW Network)

But the debut episode really clicked with me. An awful lot was stuffed into the opening hour. It was witty. It introduced intriguing characters within a visually stylish setting. You could cut the atmosphere in that town with a knife. There’s way more than just one mystery to be solved. And it was so…self-aware.

The creators took all the stereotypes you could potentially pin on this show before giving it a look and got them “dealt with” in the pilot. The attitude I came away with of the writing was…”Here’s what you thought you’d see…but now that THAT’s out of the way…”

Some observations from others:

“Pilot episodes are difficult enough as an entry point but ones that truly capture the world of a series – almost instantly – are even harder to come by. And Riverdale does that here, keeping true to its source material but with a twist.”

LaToya Ferguson, A.V. Club

“Dares are about attitude, not aptitude. They’re about taking a ridiculous challenge and going with it, not necessarily how well you execute. The CW’s new drama series Riverdale is a crazed dare of a TV show and while it may defy conventional qualitative norms when it comes to things like narrative coherence and character consistency, it is utterly committed to the strange thing it’s doing.”

Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“As predictable or artificial as the show can seem, when you take stock of it – even in its dark themes and situations – it is vital and inviting, fundamentally true to its characters and hard to put down.”

Robert Lloyd, L.A. Times

Riverdale in fact is the sum of all trends: franchise extension, comic-book adaptation, theory-baiting crypto serial, edgy Y.A. romance and densely ironic deconstruction. Riverdale is keenly aware of this: coded within its solidly satisfying juvie pulp is a sly spoof of itself and the business of reinvention.”

Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly

A final observation…someone directly associated with the show…Sarah Schechter, head of production for Riverdale:

“It’s not just for teenagers: it’s for people at every age because being a teenager is one of the few universal experiences we all have.”

Riverdale. I planned for a day trip but now I’m staying…to tour some more.


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
This entry was posted in Culture, Entertainment, Media, Opinion, Review, Reviews, Riverdale, Television, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Riverdale – A Nice Place To Visit And You Just Might Want To Live There

  1. Belinda O says:

    Okay, I may try this one. It sounds like it could become a hit and I always like being in on the beginning of a hit series. You know, makes me sound cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK. Missed this one as it looked like just more fluff. But you said witty. Intriguing characters. Those two can make up for a lot
    Will give it a look. Thanks for the heads-up

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose after viewing it some will STILL consider it just more fluff. The dialogue has pop culture references both in and out of its time. The subject matter is heavy and yet there is an “Archiekins” thrown in for good measure. Set in 2017 but doesn’t look it all the time…distinct universe being created.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Meg Sorick says:

    Interesting! I wouldn’t have guessed. But… ahem… I remember reading Archie comics when I was little, so… must check it out. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t expect much going in but the world they are setting up seems very cool. Straddling the fence on Archie from the “Happy Days” period and 2017 Archie. The comics had a major overhaul in recent years so this wasn’t as much of a shock to folks following it. For those who read Archie when little…quite an update! Not for everyone but I just have a feeling about it. Betty and Veronica may wind up being the true power couple in town. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. reocochran says:

    I watched the first one, my son and his wife are in their 30’s and also enjoyed it. I will watch it and compare it to “Revenge” which wasn’t high school but more about the community and history of the characters. It was a guilty pleasure and the Jughead character is interesting. I like that although Veronica is from rich “roots” she is kind to Betty. Great blog post! Thanks! Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too like the Veronica character and believe she and Betty may be headed towards being the real power couple in town…Archie may have to take a back seat on this ride. Some folks are wary of narration on their shows but the Jughead character works for me just fine. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Robin!

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        It was fun having a conversation about a TV show, Bruce. I usually watch police, detective and serious style shows but this was an interesting and fun show. I am not always consistent in my watching pattern, though. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        The latest one with the talent show with Archie soulful songand Josie and the Pussycats’ lively song was a good one, the shocking ending washed up on shore makes you wonder, “who dunnit?”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Robin, that last episode with the talent show appears to have been a winner with most, including me. They reveal just a bit more each week and yet I really don’t know where this is all headed.


  5. I’d never even heard of this one before your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. scifihammy says:

    I used to watch those old TV series with my daughters, and enjoyed them! It’s so rare these days to find a good series, so just sit back and enjoy it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been waiting for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JFI says:

    I’d heard about this show awhile back. I watched this pilot and I liked it. Hoping now that the character intros are out of the way it gets even better. Sure isn’t the Miss Grundy I remember from the comics haha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. George says:

    Thanks for the tip, Bruce. There are so many choices now that it’s sometimes hard to keep up but this one sounds interesting. I will definitely give it a look and see if I can get the pilot On Demand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So many choices…one always has the next thing he or she hasn’t yet had time to sample. The carving out of its own universe between the golden era the comics are most known for and today’s world intrigued me the most, especially within just one episode…pilots are hard to pull off reasonably well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. aFrankAngle says:

    The first time I saw the ad, Archie immediately popped into my mind … so thanks for the confirmation. I’m not a regular TV watcher as my wife has numerous shows she records. She doesn’t need another one. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bun Karyudo says:

    Like some of the other commenters, I hadn’t heard about this show either. It’s always good to get a tip about something worth watching, though. There’s so much stuff out there, It can be very hit or miss, so a little guidance from other people is always helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like fun! I like anything as long as it is lighthearted and fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Steph McCoy says:

    Ah man!! You’re killing me, Bruce. Last time you made a recommendation I got so caught up I didn’t think I could make it once I binged watched Netflix to the current season. Oh well it was a good selection so I’ll have to trust your judgment here and give this one a go.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Samantha says:

    “DYLAN!” – that was my first reaction to the still of the show, lol. Luke Perry just does that to my little 90210 heart. Maybe I should see the show. I hadn’t heard about it before, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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