‘Riverdale’ offers more than meets the eye

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Rachel Bayler, Reporter

The CW’s TV phenomenon “Riverdale” has taken the world by storm, and I am one of the millions of people who have been caught up in the frenzy. According to an article by Rick Porter for tvbythenumbers.com, “Riverdale” received 1.37 million viewers for the airing of its first episode, “Chapter One: The River’s Edge.” After reading some of the old Archie comics at a young age and thoroughly enjoying them, I was a little wary at first about how this show would come off. I knew it was going to differ from the original Archie comics because of the dark undertones, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would enjoy it.

The dark, mysterious aspect of the show coupled with my love for the Archie comics really helped draw me in. The premise of the show revolves around the murder of Jason Blossom and the town’s need for answers. As the plot unfolds, we discover that there is so much more to the town of Riverdale than we originally thought.

The show tackles many common social issues. Many of the characters are shown grappling with depression, grief and mental health issues while others simply struggle to feel accepted, like Kevin Keller, the gay son of the local Sheriff. One of the characters, Jughead Jones, tries to grapple with his gang-leader father being implicated in the murder and the constant persecution he experiences because of his familial circumstances. The show really provides us with characters that teenagers can connect with.

I’ve also found that the characters are really impactful. From golden boy Archie Andrews, who struggles to balance expectations and aspirations, to Cheryl Blossom, daughter of one of the richest families in town, forced to deal with the sudden death of her beloved twin brother. As the story unfolds, we start to learn more about what drives the characters to do what they do. It gives the characters a refreshing depth and really kept me invested.

When first watching the show, I noticed many different stereotypes exhibited that are completely crushed by the final episode. Betty Cooper, the girl next door, turns into someone so deeply involved in the underworld of Riverdale and her family’s secrets. Kevin goes from being the stereotypical gay best friend to discovering that he may have a bigger part to play in solving Jason’s murder. Veronica Lodge, a rich girl recently moved from the big city, realizes that her parents may not be the role models she’s always revered them as. It’s a reminder that people are always more than they appear.

I own three Archie series comic books, one from 1966 and the other from 1971, and another more recent one from 2012. The show and comic books differ in tone, content, and how the characters are portrayed. The bright colors and light hearted jokes used in the comic books give off a happy, carefree vibe that made Archie comics so popular in the first place. But, even though “Riverdale” completely skews that portrayal and takes a more ominous path for their plot line, it still keeps up with what you’d expect from Archie comics. Archie still has a love triangle between Betty and Veronica, Jughead is still cracking jokes, and you still get that special, warm hearted feeling in the midst of everything.

Watching Riverdale not only provides you with a new show to binge watch, it gives you an outlet to connect with characters that are going through situations that you may be experiencing as well.