Recently (aka Wednesday) I have been binge-watching Riverdale and I really really enjoy it so far. Which surprised me a bit, (atterntion, unpopular opinion ahead) because the last Netflix original I watched bored me. Stranger Things, that is – it is an 80s mystery story and I made a break after episode two and then stopped torturing me midway through episode three and switched to Riverdale. That was a pretty good desicion, I must say. However I have no connection to the comics, only a vague idea of who Sabrina the Teenage Witch is and she isn’t in so far.
The concept is easily explained, it is set at a high school and a student dies (the cause for this is unknown in the beginning). So of course, allegations and fear follow, but besides that it also features regular high school stuff, romance, friendship, fighting.
While none of the actors look like they still go to school, but rather to college, I think it fits in a way, because the whole show is very picturesque and more like a perfect painting. I assume there is a lot of symbolism behind colour choices and most of the outfits have a midcentury charme. The white outfit Cherly wears in the beginning could just as well have been worn 60 years ago. And with all the novelty brooches I’m constantly thinking: Ohh, I know where they got this one/someone who has one just like it. But it is not only the outifts, also the whole enviroment, rooms, houses, everything from Pop’s to Archie’s rooms shows how much detail they put into the show. The story telling is another thing I like, it’s subtle with the narrator, but a bit like in Pushing Daisies (though it is an actual character in Riverdale, not a omnipresent being we never get to see).
Personally I think it’s pretty exciting and gripping and at least I haven’t figured out everything yet. Things are revealed in an appropriate speed and make me want to watch more of it. Also, I think the high school element is handled well for a few reasons.
Ohh, the feminism, the show is so amazing on this aspect, I really have to look into the producers, crew etc. Because so far I did not realise anything problematic – they even go so far as to condemn slut-shaming and the girls fight it (something that is often forgotten in pop culture or shown in a somewhat positive way). They also have a pretty diverse cast, that is not just a trope, but feels real. They play with the tropes and chlichés in a way that I think is pretty good (e.g. the gay best friend – also, fortunately Kevin has his own storyline and some fun along the way). The parents of basically everyone have a lot of issues of there own and aren’t just cut-outs, though I would prefer Betty’s mum to be one, she is scary. Since most of them went to Riverdale High before their kids they have connections to other parents in town. So, those various story lines add a lot of suspension and you can’t really make out who has dirty secrets and who is innocent.
Now on to the characters, I heard that a lot of people do not like Archie, but I think he is adorable, charming and an interesting protagonist, because he has quite some issues and flaws right from the beginning. Also I think his strugle between music and sport is executed quite neatly and with it comes the return to an old friendship he swept under the rug – the one with Jughead. I think it’s lovely how Archie revaluates what is important in his life. Also, I love Jughead, I think he is adorable and I like a good emotional character that likes to be alone and do his thing. Plus, I like this style and he eats all the time. Betty reminds me a lot of Sandy from Grease with her ponytail and I’m wondering if this is intentional. However she is not as whiney, but pretty fierce and so far she had the biggest personality developement in my opinion and Veronica helped her a lot and their friendship is wonderful. Because she is very determined yet lovely, I just like the way they become friends. And can we please appreaciate how sassy she is while being kind? She is such a feminist badass. Also her references are so on point, though not only hers, also Jughead and Sheryl do a great job at referencing to all things pop culture, though always matching their characters. The character of Sherly is pretty intense, too, she is the best example how this show does not create a good/evil cast, but one that is rather grey and opaque. I also really like the Pussycats, they are minor characters, but still have three amazing, strong personalities (plus esp. Valerie is unbelievably pretty). Then again the whole casting is great – while e.g. the Shadowhunters cast had very poor acting skill in my opinion, the Riverdale cast is not only a festival of eyecandy, the actors are talented as well.
Additionally in my opinion the music choice is exquisite and matches both the setting and story elements without being in your face. It underlines the show that is a surprise hit for me with all it’s fantastic girl friendships and suspense.
After writing this I feel like rewatching the episodes that have been released so far and I’m really excited for the new one. Do you watch the show?