“This is a story about a town, a small town and the people who live in the town”, said the poorly written narrator.
Riverdale is loosely based on Archie comics and the narration is supposed to be from a novel being written by Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse. When you take into consideration that it’s intended to be the writing of a teenager it’s much easier to forgive especially since the show as a whole is really good.
If you’ve never read a single issue of the comic, don’t worry there’s no homework required. The show is very different from the comic. They keep the iconic love triangle between Archie, Betty and veronica, but add another lady in the form of the aged down, and sexed up, Ms Grundy who, judging from the pilot, seems to be the true object of Archie’s affection.
The show begins with the death of Jason Blossom. For most of the pilot it was assumed Jason had drown, but when his body finally does surface it’s clear that wasn’t the case. His murder is obviously going to be a big part of the show going forward, so delaying the realisation that he was shot allowed some breathing space to get to know some of the core characters before the investigation begins.
New Zealand actor K.J. Apa plays Archie. He may not be a believable red head, but he does a good job as the all American teen. The real standouts though are the girls, timid and cripplingly polite Betty, Lili Reinhart, and feisty former bad girl Veronica, Camila Mendes. It’s not hard to see why anyone who have difficulty choosing between them #TeamVeronica.
Pilots rarely go this well, but there is a weak link and that weak link is Jughead. Riverdale is Cole Sprouse’s return to acting and hopefully he will get better, but his narration is dull and his on screen performance is over the top. Admittedly, he doesn’t have a lot to do in the pilot and may have made some bold choices in an effort to make an impression. Only time will tell.