Chances are that by now most people have heard of the teen drama Riverdale which airs on The CW and is also available on Netflix for international viewing. Riverdale is based off the classic Archie Comics and features the main characters of the comics as the show’s protagonists. Writers and producers have worked with comics such as writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasas who also wrote the Afterlife With Archie comic series. Casting for Riverdale include the well known Cole Sprouse as narrator, Jughead Jones and good ol’e Archie Andrews is brought to life by New Zealander, KJ Apa.  Other main cast members are Lili Reinhart, who stars as girl-next-door Betty Cooper; Camila Mendes plays the former New York socialite named Veronica Lodge, and Madelaine Petsch appears as the town’s  “resident ‘It’ girl” Cheryl Blossom. Many other well known characters are brought into the show Riverdale such as the iconic Josie McCoy, Valerie Brow and Melody Valentine who are otherwise known as Josie and The Pussycats. Casting was also interesting as late 80s to early  2000s heartthrob actors are casted to be the parents. Familiar faces such as Luke Perry, from Beverly Hills, 90210, and Molly Ringwald, known for her role as Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club, play Archie’s divorced parents Fred and Mary Andrews. Mädchen Amick, who portrays Alice Cooper, Betty’s mother, was also in Twin Peaks as Shelly Johnson. Twin Peaks is one of the many shows that Riverdale draws inspiration from and gives references to.

Although the characters and town name are based off the Archie comics, the similarities pretty much end there. The show strays very far from the wholesome comic storyline. The plot for season one follows the end of summer vacation and the beginning of sophomore year for majority of its characters. Archie Andrews spent a summer working on a construction site and developing a passion for music, Betty Cooper is dealing with her romantic feelings for her neighbor Archie, and Veronica Lodge has moved from The Big Apple to the small town of Riverdale. But what was the most troubling news of the summer was the death of Cheryl Blossom's twin brother, Jason Blossom a Sweetwater River and narrator, Jughead Jones is writing a novel about it all. Suddenly this “once innocent and wholesome town” is “now forever changed.” As neighbor begin to suspect neighbor and more secrets are revealed, Riverdale becomes a whole different town. Besides the drama that revolves around the mystery, the main group are still high school students with drama revolving around bullying, slut shaming, family issues and the usual relationship struggles. Season two has a different mystery which revolves are the serial killer, The Black Hood, that is currently attacking Riverdale.  

San Diego Comic Con panel featuring Riverdale cast members. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Although the show’s pilot had just aired on January 29th, 2017, Riverdale has moved quickly with its tremendous success and already aired it’s mid-season finale for season two on December 13th, 2017. All thirteen episodes in the first season are uniquely titled after either an indie, triller or cult classic films but for the second season, episodes not only are named after films but also other works such as the episode Nighthawks that is in reference to a painting by Edward Hopper that goes by the same name and a future episode called that shares the title with a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart. Episode names help fans of the show be able to interpret and predict what would happen and they could create theories about the show.

Bringing back an old series for a younger generation is a tough task. The Archie comics are going through a revival stage currently, starting before Riverdale aired. In 2010, the comic revealed it’s first LGBT character in the Archie universe named Kevin Keller who is also brought into the show Riverdale by actor Casey Cott. The classic comics have been recreated and the first new issue of the series was published in July, 2015. This change is referred to as the New Riverdale because not only are stories are being modernized but so are the character’s personalities and the character art. Malden Public Library conveniently has copies of the first two modernized issues if anyone is interested in checking them out. So far, these newer version of the stories are getting positive reviews along with the new show so the Riverdale Universe revival has been successful and expanding. Anyone who already watches Riverdale probably know that the same producers and writers are creating a show that takes place in Riverdale’s sister town Greendale. This show is centered around Sabrina Spellman, commonly known as Sabrina The Teenage Witch and will be available on Netflix only.

Riverdale may be the hot new show that everyone is binging but it does have a huge history behind it. With a complex plot that reveals new things in every episode, a wonderful and good looking cast and great memes that are based off the show, you’ll easily be hooked to the show.

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