Warning: This review contains mentions of suicide and fictionalized rape.
In hindsight, seeing an Archie Comics adaptation on the CW isn't very surprising. From the very start, the show has been about romance and drama, the pursuer and the pursued. Archie likes Veronica, Betty likes Archie, Veronica likes Archie, Archie likes Betty, Jughead likes food, and it only gets more complicated from there. The mixture of programming on the network has changed, with content about a bevy of superheroes, musical romantic comedies, and even a show with a guy who thinks that the world is going to end. (No spoilers, I haven't finished the first episode of No Tomorrow yet.) Still, no matter if it's a paranormal show or something more contemporary, the key focus has been on purty teens doing not so purty things, and Riverdale stays true.
I'm not a fan of the student-teacher relationship plot. I admit, I dislike that trope in general, but I especially disagree with it in this case. Aging down Ms. Grundy additionally wouldn't have been as bad, but seemingly just to use it for making her get into an affair over the summer with Archie adds more levels to the uncomfortable nature. Topping it off, even if he did consent, it's still, technically, statutory rape. Given that the teens are possibly meant to be fifteen, I am very unnerved, and not in a good way.
Jughead's opening narration reminds me of Noah Foster's meta-monologues from MTV's Scream. In fact, a lot of his character rings some familiar bells. He's an outsider, looking back on everyone and examining mysterious goings-on. Cheryl, on the other hand, seems to have been ripped right from the comics. Aside from the small change of having grown up in Riverdale with the rest of the cast, she's just as spiteful as ever.
Personally, I think it was either a suicide pact and Cheryl backed out of it due to fear, or she orchestrated Jason's murder by planning one and then killing him at the last minute. Or, if the implied subtext from Afterlife With Archie comes into play, they were going to run off together under assumed names, but she backed out. To be honest, the murder mystery is my main reason for watching the show. Despite having grown up on the comics and being in my very early twenties, I might not be the right demographic for the show.
I've never been a huge fan of teen drama and love triangles, unless they're fairly light-hearted. So far, the show seems like it's trying to be super-dramatic and dark just to distance itself from the source material. Other shows on the CW can pull off equally dramatic material without being so graphic. Despite my misgivings, I'm going to keep watching the show, due to reading an article saying that the given episodes, screened copies going up to number four, got better.
Riverdale airs on Thursdays on the CW. You can also watch select episodes on the CW website and app.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.