Review: Riverdale S1E1 “Chapter One: The River’s Edge”

riverdale I remember Archie and the gang from when I was younger; my uncle had a few Archie books on his shelves and I would go through them every time I was over there.  They were light and funny, showing a simpler time. Riverdale, a more modern take on Archie and the gang, is anything but light and funny.

The town of Riverdale has been shaken by the death of Jason Blossom, twin brother to Riverdale high’s queen bee Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), over the summer break. This casts a dark cloud over the return to school, but as we are introduced to the characters in this show, we soon find out that there is a lot more going on with the residents of Riverdale.

Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) has had an awakening over the summer, and wants to pursue his new found passion in music, rather then work for his father (Luke Perry) in the family business.  Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) has come to the realization that her feelings for her best friend Archie have grown into more, and she is struggling to let him know. And new girl in town Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) is trying to shake off the person she used to be and start a new life away from New York and the problems following her after her father was arrested for fraud.

We also get introduced to supporting players that will bring out the mysteries hidden in this sleepy town; Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) is Betty’s good friend, nudging her to Archie; Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) is the no-nonsense lead singer of the Pussycats, and isn’t going to let anyone take focus of her journey to stardom.  We also get quick nods to other known characters Reggie Mantle (Ross Butler) and Moose Mason (Cody Kearsley). Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel) has been radically changed from the original comics and plays an interesting role in the life of Archie Andrews. And the whole story is being laid out by Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), working on a novel of the events of over the summer. He is seen as being more of a loner, not really being part of any group, or the best friend of Archie as most know him to be in the books.

For a premiere episode, Riverdale does a good job of introducing us to the characters, but as mentioned, this is not the Archie many of us remember. This is a more dark and brooding rendering of these characters, dealing with more grown up issues. I haven’t read the revamped Archie comics that have been released, so to those who read them, this may be more true to the characters they know.  But to someone new to this ‘new’ Archie, it took a little getting used to.

About 15-20 minutes into it, part of me was thinking “oh yeah, just another teen drama”, but as the episode went on, and plot lines were established, I was like “ok this is going somewhere”.  I really enjoy the cast and their portrayal of their characters. It was hard to shake away what I thought of them originally, but I think that played into me getting more drawn into it. Archie having a secret romance?  Veronica and Betty kissed? A murder mystery in Riverdale? Not the Archie I remember…but one that I am looking forward to seeing again.

Overall Rating: 7.5