To be honest, Riverdale doesn’t have anything you haven’t seen before in a teen soap. The character archetypes are all quite cliched: the hot jock who feels things ‘deeply’, the rich bitch, the sweet girl next door, the sardonic best friend, the sage dad giving sage advice. And the stories of love triangles, mysterious deaths and scandalous secrets are well trodden material.
But Riverdale takes something the familiar and turns it into something delicious and addictive to watch, helped by a well-depicted sense of place and mood, sharp writing and good acting from it’s young and not so young cast. The murder mystery and the surrounding stories are intriguing. In fact, I pretty much love everything about Riverdale, except for one thing, which I’ll get to shortly.
KJ Apa is very good as the lead character Archie, who can act and has nice abs, which the camera loves to linger on. Apa has improved immeasurably from his debut on New Zealand soap Shortland Street, where he was actually pretty terrible. I also like Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinheart as Betty. Oh and I must mention Luke Perry as Archie’s DILF daddy Fred Andrews. My, has he aged well. I know this is a teen drama, but let’s forget that Perry is still a sexy dude. I wanna see him getting his groove on.
But the star of the show for me is Camila Mendes as Veronica. Sure, Veronica a rich bitch, but she has depth and she’s written with heart. And Mendes plays her beautifully, stealing every scene she’s in. She also has blistering chemistry with Apa, which doesn’t bode well for Betty in this triangle. I also love that Betty and Veronica have a real friendship. Sure they both like Archie, but they wouldn’t screw each other over for his D. That is different in a teen soap where the girls are generally always rivals.
My problem with this show and something I hope they can fix is the portrayal of Kevin Keller, which is painfully, annoyingly stereotypical. Sadly, Kevin is the girls’ BFF, obsessed with fashion, always bitchy and other unfortunate gay stereotypes. It’s a shame because the writing is sharp for the other characters but for Kevin, it’s like so many shallowly written gay teens I’ve seen on so many shows and movies. We should be past this kind of portrayal and I hope the show fleshes Kevin out as the show moves forward and makes him more than just a one-dimensional teen queen.
To be fair, Casey Cott can act and his part is bigger than I thought it would be. I just want better writing for him. The show has time to give me that. Oh and at this point, I’m not sure how I feel about Josie and the Pussycats, but again, I’ll give the show time to let them grow on me as well.
All right, it’s time for David to get his act together and come out. His grabbing Dani so harshly makes me nervous. Not only should he never treat Dani like that, I’m afraid of how he might behave if he and Rhys ever got into a fight. I don’t want to see any violence in a relationship, ever. And what was he looking at on that app? He knew what Rhys’ date looked like, what else was there to see?
Well, it was nice to finally have a scene with Tyler and Iolo together. And I’m digging Tyler in that black tank top showing off those guns. The scene of them rehearsing for the quiz was cute. They have such fun and romantic banter. They still need a story though.
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