What if Archie and friends from the comics (puts sunglasses on) got a dark and gritty reboot?
The tempo is great. The dialogue is a little talky in spots and the kids mostly speak with a very Kevin Williamson inspired verve where they both are experiencing the traditional teenager tropes but yet are also hyper equipped with a perspective beyond their years to comment on it cleverly. But, as much as that can be something to critique, it’s better to watch an idealized version of teenage conversation as opposed to a more realistic rendering.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The acceptance of the soapy legacy set before it. So far, we’re treated to active elements of Friday Night Lights, Gossip Girl, 90210 (see more below) and Dawson’s Creek. Some could see this stew as potentially untenable, but I’m all for it.
- The Godfather of Teen Soaps Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) showing up as a principle character. You serious right now? NO ONE TOLD ME THIS WAS HAPPENING. I was already down before. NOW? Ride. Or. Die. What’s next, Brandon Walsh showing up as Mr. Weatherbee? (/head explodes just thinking about it)
- Veronica. I was already a Veronica man myself but it’s not about that. This Veronica functions as the infusion of energy into the sleepy town of Riverdale. She’s a great fish out of water character who seems primed to straddle the line of potential adversary or potential ally based on what the story needs.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
- Archie. We’re in range of a full-on Ted Mosby catastrophe scenario with this one. He just wants to play his music, WHICH IS FINE, but Coach Knox tip: never actually vocalize that. Your music playing can certainly be a priority, but the second those words come out, you are a stereotype writ large, Champ.
- Jughead. I really want this to be a temporary thing because I think Cole Sprouse is legitmately decent in his limited appearance in the pilot BUT, he’s the epicenter of broody mystery and seemingly the narrator of what is about to unfold. He kind of lurks in the background of the show and given how vivid and fully realized Betty and Veronica’s characters are, I’d like to see more of that from the guys, specifically Jughead if he’s going to be a pivotal character.
- Reggie. I needed more Reggie. I’m sure we’ll get that but this is probably more of a larger issue with Archie’s characterization than it is Reggie’s. I just need more intrigue on the landscape around Archie than he’s currently giving us.
WILL I CONTINUE WATCHING?
- Oh you can believe that. I’m sucker for teen soaps and this one has all the makings of a ridiculously fun subversion of the classic comics. If I ever become a billionaire, I will create a network that EXCLUSIVELY does dark and gritty reboots of vanilla stories and characters: Darkwing Duck, My Little Pony, Pinky and the Brain, Sid the Science Kid etc etc etc.
- Also, I didn’t even get a chance to talk about the murder mystery at the center of everything. I’m oddly intrigued in it.
- Double also, I didn’t even get a chance to talk about how Archie finds himself in a Pacey-from-Dawsons-Creek situation with the sexpot music teacher. I don’t know how to comment on this without it being weird, but I’m sure that Archie and Ms. Pedophile Lady will not experience any other complicated situations stemming from their sexytime encounter.