I will start my TV review Series with the show Riverdale. If you have not seen Riverdale, it is a dark teen drama loosely based on the Archie Comics. I do not know how faithful the adaptation and I will not use them in my analysis of the show. Instead, I will focus on how the show’s own narrative and my various opinions on it. It should go without say, but this review will contain a lot of spoilers. You have been warned.
The show deals with traditional teen issues. It has relationships, both romantic and intrapersonal. It has secrets and lies and drama. And underneath it all, you have kids trying to live their lives and get through high school. But this show also deals with some deeper issues such as racism and drug abuse. Unfortunately, I believe the shows inherently superficial tone prevents it from dealing with these issues effectively.
I will say, I did enjoy the first season and even found myself recommending the show. Unfortunately, this is short lived as the show derails almost instantly in the second season. In it’s attempts to be this dark teen drama it becomes cartoonishly sinister. Everyone in this town is a murderer with generic uninspired motives. I have lost interest at this point and am forcing myself to finish the series only to see how they will tie up this madness together at the end. I will address this madness specifically when I talk about Betty and her mess of a back story. Stay tuned for that.
The series starts out with the mystery of Jason Blossom’s death and the trouble that creates for the town. Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica task themselves with uncovering the truth about the town, they end up uncovering more about the town than they bargained for. The first season does a decent enough job in creating a world for Riverdale with some tangible characters and engaging story. And although the characters are generic archetypes that need to be filled for a classic teen drama, they experience some meaningful character growth. Betty becomes more assertive and begins to take control of her life. Jughead takes a more active role in the narrative. Archie gets the courage to go after his own dreams and not what is expected of him, while he does what is expected of him. Veronica learns to make real meaningful friendships for once. This is thrown out the window and any character development that is established here is traded for convenient meaningless plot points. Ultimately, the story takes a back seat to shameless fan service and that is probably my biggest reason for not recommending this show.
I understand that a lot of the mistakes that this show makes are choices geared to attract a certain audience, but that should not stop me from over analyzing a show that was written with me in mind.
For the rest of the series I will break the show down into its different elements. I will go over the different main characters in some depth as well as their story line. I will move on to any side characters I think are important to the plot as well as any other overarching themes that I think should be inspected more closely. Finally, I will close it out with any final thoughts I have about the show.
I hope that you come on this journey with me and let me know along the way about your own thoughts about the show. Thank you for reading, I will catch you on the next one.