TELEVISION REVIEW: "Riverdale" Has Yet to Justify Its Continued Existence

Riverdale is a show that I’m fairly certain no one familiar with the original Archie comics was clamoring for. As someone who, from the ages of roughly nine to 14, eagerly bought all of the digests and double digests jumping out at me in the supermarket checkout line, enjoying the lighthearted silliness of the adventures of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, my reaction to learning that the CW, home of Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and other faux-lurid teen fare, was making an Archie TV series amounted to a groan and eye-roll. Especially with the announcement of the series’ nature as a mystery-drama rather than the more typical slice-of-life of Archie’s world, I was increasingly skeptical of why anyone would want this show. 
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The casting announcements did little to stoke my excitement, and the leaking of details about the storylines caused more annoyance than anticipation. (Despite the edgy plotlines of recent Archie comics, the series is fundamentally undramatic as a rule.) For example, in the world of 2017, do we really need another plotline with a clandestine student-teacher tryst? Do we really need the participants in said forbidden relationship to be Archie (KJ Apa) himself and a sexed-up version of Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel)? If Archie comics are to be adapted, do they really have to jump on the mysterious serialized Peak Television bandwagon? Most importantly, are we really going to pretend that Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) can’t do better than Archie Andrews in the first place?...

The rest of this review can be read at PopMatters here.

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