Developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Rating: 3.5/5

Riverdale is a new show from the CW based (loosely) on the Archie comics and is streaming on Netflix. It’s set in a town illuminated by neon lights that has been rocked by the recent death of beloved high school jock Jason Blossom. Archie (played by New Zealand’s own K.J. Apa) stars as the newly minted hottie, Betty is his straight-laced best friend and then there’s Veronica, who has just moved to town from New York. 

I don’t know about you, but I think the last five years has been particularly lackluster for teen television; the Vampire Diaries is probably still dragging its corpse along the road somewhere and I don’t even want to know what happened to Pretty Little Liars… But maybe Riverdale is our salvation and will give us some much needed guilty pleasure watching. 

Yes, it has its clichés and stereotypical characters, but something about Riverdale is just working, from the moody cinematography to the on point casting choices, even some of the more ridiculous scenes lend it some needed charm and light-heartedness. Fine, I’m just digging it guys, I’m digging it. The melodramatic voiceovers that start and end the episodes, the repeated shots of red neon diner signs and mysterious blue forest scenery, Veronica constantly walking intimidatingly towards people, yelling about how they shouldn’t mess with her because she’s rich and from New York, or something. There’s also a particularly great (and angsty) character called Jughead Jones who wears a beanie made of triangles and is really nailing the tortured writer aesthetic. I do wish they would’ve incorporated more of Jason Blossom in the flashbacks so we got to know more about the character, other than him being a red-haired hottie obsessed with wearing white and tucking his shirt in. 

But, if you’ve been looking for a new teen TV show that straddles the gap between ridiculous and entertaining and gives you that mildly delighted feeling of guilty pleasure as you click the play button on Netflix, then this eclectic mix of One Tree Hill, Twin Peaks and Gossip Girl might just be for you. 

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2017.
Posted 1:09pm Sunday 26th March 2017 by Saskia Bunce-Rath.