The CW is going pretty full-on with adaptations. Last night it debuted it’s latest series, a classic series with a modern twist and it’s somewhat blown my mind.
That’s right, last night The CW aired the first episode of…
Wait, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. The newest member of the CW Family is an updated version of some classic teen icons centered around high school kids who talked way too intelligently for their age!
That’s not right, either. Damn it. Third time’s the charm, right?
Take a familiar property with characters that have been in the public consciousness forever, throw in some mystery and shake things up to the point where things are ALMOST unrecognizable and you have The CW’s latest show.
Archie Comics have spent the last couple of years trying to reinvent themselves – from comics like Afterlife With Archie and Mark Waid’s reimagining that I’ve been a huge fan of, but this new TV show goes beyond everything that’s been attempted to reinvigorate the properties. From the first episode… actually, from the first trailer, it was clear this was a completely different animal. While Waid’s reboot stayed true to the premise he had taken up, Riverdale does everything it can to flip it all on its ear, kick it while its down and toss it down the stairs.
Let’s take a look at the characters and what we know about them by the end of the first episode:
Archie Andrews – His parents are separated, he spent the summer working for his dad’s construction company, was trying out for football and wants to ditch both so he can write music. Best friends with Betty Cooper, but has no romantic interest in her. Makes out with Veronica Lodge, but has his eye on someone else: Riverdale High School music teacher Miss Grundy. Archie, apparently, is the Pacey of this series…
Veronica Lodge – Her mother, Hermione, brings her back to Riverdale after her father, Hiram, was sent to prison for embezzlement. A former mean girl, she works to rehabilitate her image in a new school and tries to become besties with Betty and get her to hook up with Archie, until an after-dance party gets her locked in a closet with him during a game of 7 Minutes in Heaven. Her mom dated Archie’s dad, which the kids don’t know about.
Betty Cooper – Mostly defined by everyone around her, but gets added to the cheerleading team after Veronica pushes for it. We’ve got our early-season 1 Joey Potter right here, giving goo-goo eyes to the male lead without being thought of in the same way.
Kevin Keller – Betty’s gay best friend, who ends up being propositioned by Big Moose. Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder what Midge would say…
Jughead Jones – Does not appear til the end of the episode to reveal that he and Archie have beef – just not the kind in hamburgers that Jughead usually likes to chow down – but we don’t know why.
Josie & the Pussycats – Kind of bitchy. Josie wants nothing to do with helping Archie with his fledgling music career.
The show’s main premise is the death of Jason Blossom over the summer and how that affects his twin sister Cheryl Blossom. How did he die? We don’t know, because the police never found his body. We get little hints throughout the episode of things that may have happened and “Who Killed Jason Blossom?” should drive the season, just like “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” did for Twin Peaks.
After months of not finding Jason’s body, the first episode ends with Moose and Kevin going down to the lake to do “everything but kiss” when they find the dead teen with a bullet to the head. That must’ve sucked.
I’m honestly a little horrified at how easily I feel into the rhythm of the show and that I’m actually looking forward to next week to see where all of this is heading. Clearly, everyone has some secrets and there’s more than enough material set up in the first episode to burn through the 13-episode first season and beyond.