Film Reviews

‘Riverdale’ breathes a new lease of life into the Archie Comics

The highly-anticipated teen drama ‘Riverdale’ successfully delivers a dark Twin Peak-esque twist on the wholesome Archie comic book series; and I can’t wait for more!

These days mainstream culture is completely saturated with both small and large screen adaptations of beloved comic book characters. With ‘Riverdale’ Netflix adds yet another comic book adaptation to its roster, running the risk of overdoing a formula that has been so successful in the past.

Yet, ‘Riverdale’ feels stylish and fresh whilst at the same time reinventing the Archie comic wheel with a dark undertone that we associate with teen dramas like ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. At the same time ‘Riverdale’ doesn’t lose the classic feel of the Archie comic book series that began in 40s and is still popular today.


Released weekly on Netflix, the show centres around the small town of ‘Riverdale’ which we soon find out is not as peaceful as one might imagine. The picturesque scenes of a quiet American town are punctured by the revelation that, under mysterious circumstances, high schooler Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) has been found dead in a nearby river. Blossom’s death will be the overarching A plot of the series but it doesn’t overshadow the romantic dilemmas of the central character Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), which have come to epitomise the comic book series.

In the first episode, we meet the millennial Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendez). The famous frenemies who compete for the affection of Archie in the comics. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic is updated for modern audiences armed with the Bechdel test.

Cole Sprouse makes his return to acting as Jughead Jones III, the cynical narrator of the series which makes Sprouse’s role on ‘The Suite Life’ feel like a distant memory. If this wasn’t exciting enough Molly Ringwald and Shannon Purser (Barb from ‘Stranger Things’) are set to make appearances later on in the series.


If the initial episodes are anything to go by ‘Riverdale’ promises to be another successful comic book adaptation in a genre that shows no sign of stopping. The stellar cast work well together as they successfully interpret the iconic Archie characters that so many will be familiar with.

So far ‘Riverdale’ has brilliantly balanced edgy, modern elements with the familiar Archie comic aesthetic which evokes the fashion sense of America in the 1950s. The series also shows signs of tackling important subjects such as sexuality, drug-abuse, and bullying. With 75 years of material to draw inspiration from; ‘Riverdale’ has the potential to become a long-lasting teen drama and I am excited to see how the show develops.

Polly Dorrofield

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Media Sourced from Berlanti Productions 

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