Riverdale‘s Season 1 was a spectacular 13 episodes that is leading into the release of another 22 in the same year -it’s been a popular hit. The T.V. show, executive produced by Greg Berlanti, revolves around the drama and triumphs within the small town of Riverdale.
The first season follows high school teenagers Betty Cooper, Archie Andrews, and Veronica Lodge as they uncover the dark secrets that surround the death of a classmate.
From a multi-million dollar maple syrup business to some deadly familial grudges, Riverdale holds a lens to the realities and pressures of maintaining a legacy.
“Our story is about a town -a small town and the people who live in the town. From a distance it presents itself like so many other small towns all over the world. Safe, decent, innocent. Get closer though, and you start to see the shadows underneath.
The name of our town is Riverdale.
And our story begins, I guess, with what the Blossom Twins did this summer.”
There are two primary catalysts for the beginning of this show:
- The death of Jason Blossom and the arrival of Veronica Lodge.
In a small town such as Riverdale, either is enough to shake them up -both occurring almost at once plunges the town into a downward spiral.
Early on, we also get a strong feel for a deep-seeded grudge between two families: The Coopers and The Blossoms (spoiler: one of the families is ruined by the end of the season.) Not only has Jason Blossom recently died tragically, but the Cooper’s eldest daughter, Polly Cooper, has been sent away to “get well”. From what, is another mystery, but viewers know immediately that she is unwell due to Jason Blossom. Riverdale is an instant drama within its perfectly-planned mystery.
Most important to note, is this series is told primarily from the perspective of Jughead Jones. Acting as both narrator and a lens to view the story through, Jughead is an intelligent and thoughtful writer, whose manuscript follows the multiple tragedies that begin occurring after Jason Blossom’s death.
Why you should watch it
Yes, we’re using the term “binge-worthy” because, for real, it is. The script and general intensity of the acting is incredibly gripping -from the first 10 seconds. Not every episode necessarily ends in a cliff hanger, but they do all leave you wanting to know more. Specifically, you’ll want to know more about the characters and their relationships (because everyone in a small town is somehow involved in everything.)
An important factor that adds to Riverdale‘s intrigue is the time-setting dissonance. The town of Riverdale itself looks to be right out of the American 50s, but the time period is actually current (50s-looking town, current-day story.) This creates what is almost a parallel universe where time is almost, but not quite, standing still.
Besides the obvious sign of texting on cell phones, the script often references current-day culture in a witty, if not sardonic way. This is a fun way of holding an audience close and relating to them but also keeping the viewer at an arm’s distance with the setting.
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Background On The Riverdale Series
This imaginative series is based on the Archie Comics. The adaptation is successful, as it reads perfectly into a television series and has been very popular since it aired on The CW late January 2017. A month later it was renewed for a second season, expecting to air October 11, 2017.
The characters have been adapted under the practiced eye of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who acts as Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. Aguirre-Sacasa has also proven a distinct mastery for screenwriting on shows like Glee and Big Love and this mashup between his two fortes is extremely successful. The characters that occupy Riverdale, bearing the names of their likenesses in the Archie Comics strips, have vivid personalities and goals that align and stay with the comic strip perfectly.
Because Riverdale is based on Archie Comics, the character Archie Andrews is assumed to be the main character. Riverdale slacks here a little as Archie’s goals and desires are lackluster and the audience holds no stake in his success. Whether he chooses music or football or his father’s company seems risk-less (up until the last 2 minutes of the entire season.) This is not to say that the T.V. series is uninteresting -just that Archie Andrews is less intriguing than many of the other characters.
What do you think about adaptations? Are they usually successful or do you try to avoid them?