Riverdale – Episode One ‘The River’s Edge’

My thoughts on the pilot of this series are split.

Usually one can see clearly what a show is attempting to convey to its audience.

Something completely unusual happened when I tuned in to watch the first episode.

I enjoyed where it was going.

By all accounts I honestly wasn’t expecting much.

  • A CW show.
  • A darker storyline on a usually upbeat comic series.
  • A ton of needless teen drama akin to that of Pretty Little Liars.

Normally I would never bring myself to sit through whiny drivel that so many people call good television.

I never expected to connect to the show in the way that I did.

Perhaps the tongue and cheek vibe simply got to me.

The show knows what it is trying to accomplish, and I commend the effort that can easily be seen.

Perhaps the best way that I can describe the pilot is in the form of campiness.

The characters all have distinct personalities that meld quite well with each other, and the interest that is generated from their interactions is what will bring me to watch the next episode this Thursday.

The casting is spot on.

The characters motivations make sense and the presence of the mystery of what truly happened to Jason Blossom is enough to make me want to at least see where it’s going.

One unfortunate downside was the inclusion of Josie and the Pussycats.

That just felt like unneeded fan service that shouldn’t have revealed itself until the show found its legs.

If the show had just waited to introduce them later in the series I honestly wouldn’t have minded, but the inclusion just felt like a check on the list of references to the original strip.

Now I’ve heard rumors that Sabrina (you know, the teenage witch) could also show up by the finale of this season.

Pandering to the audience aside, if the story actually serves a purpose to include her instead of just introducing her for ratings sake I will have no issues.

Speculation aside, the series has a decent bit of potential.

The setup of the love triangle that stems between Archie, Betty, and Veronica is quite effective and I honestly would have been surprised if it wasn’t touched on in this episode. It’s been a staple of the strip since its inception, and the CW plays to its strength in the troubled and dramatic relationship department that it loves to use so much.

Perhaps the most interesting development that I would like to touch on in this review is the casting of the narrator Jughead Jones. Played by Cole Sprouse (from Disney Channel fame), the character is certainly intriguing. The often snarky character is my favorite from the original comic strip, and the performance from Mr. Sprouse certainly grabbed my attention in the brief bit that we saw of him in this pilot.

It’s too early to tell how this series will end up.

The story is only as good as the execution of the mystery, and the setup is strong enough to keep me fully invested. Only time will tell if this series has the ability to gather fans, allowing it to thrive.

PROS

  • Self aware in execution
  • Adequate casting of major characters
  • Decent setup of mystery

CONS

  • Needless early fan service
  • Early signs of annoying drama that will fuel stupidity (what did I expect from a teenage drama show?)
  • Characters completely foreign from their comic counterparts

 

7/10

Good.

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