Posted February 11, 2017 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV

REVIEW: Riverdale – It’s Not Just Another Teen Drama

Review By: Anna Bilton

With the end in sight for the Vampire Diaries, the CW needed a new teen drama to fill in the soapy void.

Enter Riverdale.

If the fictional town of Riverdale sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve read Archie Comics Digest when you were a kid. Yes, my friends, this is a live-action series of Archie Comics. But rather than seeing the bright, fun, and optimistic teens of your youth, you’re introduced to some dark and edgy characters donning the names of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica.


The episode titled “Chapter One: The River’s Edge” begins with a death. Popular twins Cheryl and Jason Blossom (wearing bizarre cult-like matching outfits, by the way) go on a boat ride on the Fourth of July that ends in tragedy. Jason winds up dead after falling into the river while trying to retrieve his sister’s glove – or so that’s what she claims to have happened.

It’s a murder mystery reminiscent of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. And if you haven’t seen that show, just think of Riverdale as something like Pretty Little Liars. If you’re into that, you’ll like this show.

But you can’t have a teen show with drama, and seeing as this is the CW – the show is filled with it.

Much like its original source material, we’re introduced to the trademark Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle but with a weird twist. First, you have Betty (Lili Reinhart) pining away in the friend-zone for Archie (KJ Apa) while sophisticated Veronica (Camila Mendes) enters the scene. But, you see, Archie grew abs over the summer and ended up hooking up his music teacher Ms. Grundy.


What did I tell you? It’s Pretty Little Liars all over again. Or is it Dawson’s Creek? Or pretty much any 90’s teen drama?

Of course, these characters are more fleshed out than what we’ve read in the comics. Girl-next-door Betty is dependent on drugs for ADHD. Rich girl Veronica moves to Riverdale after her father goes to jail for embezzlement. All-American Archie just wants to write songs about his teen angst. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is on the outside looking in narrating all of this in all of his emo glory. And all this was happening, while Jason’s mysterious death was looming above the entire town.

This gritty take on Archie comes from writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who you might remember as the guy who wrote Afterlife With Archie – it’s the one where Riverdale was invaded by a zombie apocalypse.

The episode has problems that most pilot episodes suffer from. It was a bit introductory for my liking, while at the same time, it was also a little bit too fast paced. But there are things to like about the pilot, Betty and Veronica’s dynamic and budding friendship is a saving grace, and refreshingly these kids are more than just their stereotypes.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable episode that will remind you of all the teen dramas you’ve watched in your youth, all the while laying the groundwork for an overarching mystery.

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.