Riverdale: Chapter One: The River's Edge   Books Included 
January 26, 2017 8:01 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

I didn't love this as much as the various reviewers seemed to -- mostly because I was a little too creeped out by the Archie/Ms. Grundy affair. I mean, the actors are all adults, but Archie the character is supposed to be a high school sophomore, I guess?

It is a pretty gorgeous looking show though, and I'm curious to see where it goes for now at least.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:11 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I heard about this on All Things Considered this evening driving home from work - first I'd heard of it at all. They had a decent discussion with someone from the show that caught my interest. I'm not too familiar with the Archie comics, given that I grew up in Europe, except in a sort of general way knowing about Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. Plus I'd heard about the comic getting a gay character a while back, and that's about the extent of my previous knowledge of this universe.

The first episode was... ok. Didn't love it, but didn't hate it either. I can see that it might be interesting, and I'll be curious to hear what others say here.
posted by gemmy at 9:37 PM on January 26, 2017

This is probably the silliest damn idea for a series I've ever heard. Archie is supposed to be a cartoon about goofy teen hijinks, FFS! The phrase "Archie/Ms. Grundy affair" is hurl-worthy. What's next, a sexy teen soap Happy Days reboot with a dark and broody Fonz? A sexy teen soap version of Leave It to Beaver where Eddie Haskell is a REALLY bad boy? (If any CW exec reads this and decides to run with either of these stupid ideas, I want a cut.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:04 AM on January 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

I liked this (I need to watch it again, because I missed the first few minutes and my reception wasn't great) but I tend to be a pretty big fan/follower of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, so I'm biased. It is, without a doubt, the CW-est thing out of all the CW things in the world, and it's also the most Aguirre-Sacasa-est thing out of all the Aguirre-Sacasa things (I'm familiar with anyway). It feels like the show he wanted to make (although, so far, it's missing overt horror, but I guess he's hinted that if it goes further, Sabrina and some supernatural elements will show up). I described this as "Glee meets Twin Peaks as Archie fanfiction" which, well, it is, basically.

Nah, this is not for everyone. It is ridiculous but in a knowing way. I liked the production design and the retro-glam styling. I liked the cast.

This being CW, I'm going to assume it's going to go stupid at some point, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to. "Dark sexy Archie" doesn't sound like it should work, really, but somehow it did.
posted by darksong at 5:43 AM on January 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Uh. I have little knowledge of Archie, but the reviews seem quite positive. Should I watch this?

What's next, a sexy teen soap Happy Days reboot with a dark and broody Fonz?
20 years apart from the 50s to the 70s. It's clearly gonna be Grunge Fonz, in 90s Ravensdale, WA
posted by lmfsilva at 6:28 AM on January 27, 2017

I curious, who is the target audience for this? I definitely don't know the level of popularity of Archie comics among the generation at which the show seems to be aimed...I guess if people who read the comics in the late-2000s as tweens and have outgrown them in the last few years find it, that's the very specific demographic?

I'm a lapsed fan, and definitely not a purist (I was way too curious about "Afterlife with Archie" to pass up buying/reading it), but I just think about the amount of effort of producing a one-off comic series like "Afterlife" for the hell of it, versus producing a television pilot using the basic trappings but otherwise not even attempting not be just another CW soap opera, and I wonder if anyone involved stopped to wonder whether obtaining the rights was even worth it.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:33 AM on January 27, 2017

Uh. I have little knowledge of Archie, but the reviews seem quite positive. Should I watch this?

I don't think familiarity with the comics matters (and in some ways could be detrimental--I know that there's been some disappointment that Riverdale's Jughead isn't going to be asexual like he is in the current comic, not to mention the ick factor of turning Ms. Grundy CW-hot). As to whether you should watch it, I don't know. It is very pretty -- not just in a 'new batch of CW hottties' eye candy way, but in the landscape, set design, color palette, etc. I don't know if that's going to be enough to keep me watching, but I'm not feeling like I want that hour of my life back. I think you just have to give it a try and see if it hooks you.

Of course, this being a CW show means the entire season will be up on Netflix a week after the finale, so people can wait and binge then.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:34 AM on January 27, 2017

From what I've read, Aguirre-Sacasa has seemed to imply that while Jughead doesn't identify at asexual on the show right now, there's a door open for that to be introduced and explored in the future (the quote was something like "these kids are still figuring out who they are" or something). But I agree it would've been nice for that to have been there from the beginning.
posted by darksong at 7:50 AM on January 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

a sexy teen soap Happy Days reboot with a dark and broody Fonz?

This time, when Fonzie jumps the shark, he literally jumps over a real, actual shark!

What? He really... really?
I just always assumed it was some kind of metaphor or something...

posted by Naberius at 8:45 AM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I like it, despite there being a few howlers in there in terms of dialogue written for teen characters that came out of the pen of a mid-30s pop culture geek. It looks REALLY nice, distractingly so given the typical CW teen drama at play. I'm hoping that the mystery picks up.
posted by codacorolla at 9:16 AM on January 27, 2017

Yeah, I think I liked this. Grew up a bit of an Archies fan - my brother was way more into it than I was, but I did the typical little brother copying older bro thing and liked them too because he did. So it was fun for me to see how the various characters showed up here. And while it's mining the well-worn path of teen drama, it's not pigeonholing characters too much. Like, right when you expect Archie's dad to be the "you MUST play football cuz that's what men do" guy, he isn't. Veronica shows up and you expect her to be a rival Regina "Mean Girls" George, but no, she's way more self-aware than that.

The Ms. Grundy situation is definitely ick, though. Like someone said above, they're only getting away with that as a plot because the actual actors are adults. Put people of the actual character ages in there and it'd be easy to see what's wrong there. (Swap the genders and it would be even worse!) We'll have to see where they go with it, if they can manage some realistic consequences for both of them.
posted by dnash at 9:42 AM on January 27, 2017

The Happy Days reboot will take place in a 1990s computer science department at a second-tier or less school (not MIT or Stanford, maybe Alabama or Ohio State or Georgia Tech, or even a community college). Fonzie will be a confident guy who dropped out but still keeps hanging around the department because everyone treats him as a god (or "guru" as they called it back in the day), while Richie will be focusing on computer graphics so that he can eventually work for a prestigious game company or Disney or something. They will have a friend who is paying full tuition himself by working -- for nostalgia's sake.

Eventually, Richie will start working for Fonzie while still in classes. They will hang out at a local pizza restaurant, but it will have a Tetris or Galaga game instead of a jukebox. There will still be a motorcycle.
posted by amtho at 9:59 AM on January 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

I really enjoyed it, though I got Gossip Girl meets Veronica Mars out of it. I would have really liked not to see that Ms Grundy plot, though.
posted by jeather at 7:41 PM on January 27, 2017

Reviewers who watched the first few episode screeners (not just one) said the show plays the Ms. Grundy/Archie romance straight as the typical teen-soap hot-for-teacher trope just long enough to thoroughly gross you out, and then starts twisting the trope to point out how messed up and actually criminal it is. Obviously none of them give any details to avoid spoilers so I don't know if it'll ungross it enough for me, but it may be worth sticking around a few episodes if that's the one bit you dislike; or reading reviews of later episodes to see how that plotline develops and catching up if it seems worth it. (I think I'll probably play catchup, myself, but I feel like smart reviewers of teen soaps whom I usually agree with have been saying the grossness has a purpose, and I don't mind being spoiled on plot twists usually so I feel like I can wait and read how that bit turns out before deciding if I want to go on the journey.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:31 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's weird to me how people seem to judge shows as though every character and relationship depicted is somehow implicitly endorsed. Art very often shows you things that are being judged by the artist. Art doesn't just pretend bad things don't exist; it shows them in order to comment on them, or to contrast with good things.
posted by amtho at 12:54 AM on January 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

I sat through many seasons of Pretty Little Liars total inability to see that Aria-Ezra wasn't True Love, so I'm obviously not bailing if there's a promise of this treating the subject any better. Even in this episode, the "I need to talk about this, but can't" framing was an approach that had some nuance.

I went into this expecting it to fill the PLL hole in my heart, and it did, but it was also, shockingly...good? I mean Archie is a drip who even kind of looks like a cartoon (something about his hair and the jacket and he's suddenly an actual human being I'm admitting to the uncanny valley), but Betty and Veronica's relationship was really well done, especially for a pilot. I also thought Josie was super great. More of her. I'm tentatively actually excited about this, instead of just semi-ironic "this will be fun but awful" excited.

posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:05 AM on January 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

Am I the only person who heard Jughead say something like, "It would have worked on me" to Archie re: Betty? And concluded that Archie and Jughead had a thing, too? At first Archie's brooding density had me thinking this was a Twin Peaks reimagined with James Hurley as the hero, but now I think maybe Archie is more of a...Laura.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:13 AM on January 28, 2017

Am I the only person who heard Jughead say something like, "It would have worked on me" to Archie re: Betty? And concluded that Archie and Jughead had a thing, too? At first Archie's brooding density had me thinking this was a Twin Peaks reimagined with James Hurley as the hero, but now I think maybe Archie is more of a...Laura.

They were talking about Archie losing Betty as a friends and Jughead said you just have to go talk to her. Archie said something along the lines of yeah I should and Jughead said 'Would have worked on me".
I took it as meaning just a reference to the talking part. That they'd had a falling out, never talked about what happened so weren't friends anymore.
posted by Jalliah at 5:23 AM on January 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I watched this last night after running out of other things to watch. I had no expectation going in, except 'Archie Comics? Weird'. I enjoyed it a lot more then I expected. Like others the Grundy relationship was ugh and oh no not this again but the show had enough little not a trope surprises that I thought I'll keep giving it a whirl to see where they take it.

One of the little surprises was when Hermonie Lodge was apply for the seasonal job. Mr. Andrews said, matter of factly, that the guy in the job was on PATERNITY leave. I realized how uncommon that is to hear in shows and said in a way as if it was just a completely normal, no big deal thing. This one small little thing was when I decided to give the show a chance.
posted by Jalliah at 6:09 AM on January 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

I can trust that they will be doing something else with Grundy and still wish it had been different.
posted by jeather at 6:11 AM on January 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

So all I knew about this show is that whatever Sprouse twin is super adamant about playing Jughead as asexual. I had no idea it was going to be dark until we saw the previews during Supernatural. Kid and I were intrigued, and I think we're going to give it a shot. I do think the actor playing Archie has a horrendous dye job, though. I say this an almost 40 woman with purple hair who has a kid who has Manic Panic'ed her hair since she was 11.
posted by Ruki at 12:48 AM on January 29, 2017

The whole thing seems to have a flavour of Veronica Mars to it for me. The actor playing Veronica, in particular, seems to be heavily channelling Kristen Ritter as Gia Goodman. It's not as good as Veronica Mars out of the gate, but I'm willing to at least keep watching it.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:49 PM on January 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I went in with an open mind - so much potential to recommend it; addressing gender spectrum, Veronica Mars vibe, age disparity and (typical) gender reversal, etc. etc.

This show isn't for me, and it let me abundantly know 10 minutes in. Still keeping an open mind and watching this FanFare to see if the show is a slow/late bloomer.
posted by porpoise at 7:30 PM on January 29, 2017


this is not real and is nothing but a worldwide Truman Show media hoax to personally gaslight me
posted by tel3path at 5:20 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've decided it's an old Mad TV skit that somehow escaped into the real world.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:55 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I dunno about this. Everyone's giving it rave reviews but so far I am eh. Archie and his huge eyebrows are hot, the screwing the teacher is not. I would, however, ship Betty and Veronica and focusing on them having a friendship is a good move. Also enjoying Veronica's "I used to be a bitch" thing.

I dunno...may give it a few more episodes, but so far I'm not in love.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:05 PM on January 30, 2017

I wasn't even sure this was available in the UK, but sure enough, I open my Netflix watchlist and there it is. It's been there for a few days, I just didn't realize what it was.

With a trembling finger, I pressed Play.

Mercifully, my broadband was having a temporary glitch and all I got was a spinning thingy. I am in no state to cope with something like this right now.

posted by tel3path at 5:32 AM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I liked it well enough to watch the second episode, although yeah, the sleeping-with-a-teacher angle is both tired and objectionable. And even once I get over that issue, I have residual problems with the changes they needed to make to the teacher character in order to have their tired, objectionable sex-with-a-teacher storyline. If your recollections of the comics aren't all that clear, in the comics Miss Grundy has historically been depicted as a much older woman, and not as someone who could be a model. I would've preferred if the show had used the opportunity to actually give an older woman actor some work. CW gonna CW, I guess, but still: annoying.

I'm also going to miss some of the slapstick that normally goes with the title, although it's easy to understand why that would go by the wayside if you're doing a noir inflection. Still...there's a scene in this where the football couch is calling Archie in from the field, and you get a cut to a long shot of him turning around to respond, and I briefly imagined the version of this show where you'd see him trip as he was walking over, or get hit will a stray ball, or something. I've always thought that was sort of a key ingredient to this universe: Archie is both an Everyman, and also secretly Cool, and yet also a total Disaster Magnet. It's not that he's clumsy...he's just always at the center of a whirlwind of physical mishaps.

I think I would have preferred this same cast doing an adaptation of Fiona Staples and Mark Waid's take on the universe.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:34 AM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

This, Hard-Right Christian Archie, Sci-Fi Archie, Life With Archie, Afterlife With Archie, Punisher Crossover Archie and still others, they are all facets of the True Archie, the Platonic (in more than one way) Archie, who will forever hang out at Pop's Choc'lit Shoppe, drive a Model A, be rivals with Reggie and pals with Jughead, and always be torn between Betty and Veronica.

posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on February 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Haven't decided if I'm going to keep watching this show -- I hadn't been particularly besieged with the promos, so it didn't register to me how deeply queer-baiting that Betty/Veronica kiss was; used in umpteen promos but then having the production be all 'oh, we won't actually be going that direction' and 'this isn't fanfic' when questioned. Disappointing that CW would go down that road again after they did such a disservice to queer fandom with Lexa/The 100 last year.

I mean, I'm sort of curious to see where the dreadful Ms. Grundy plot goes, but, I don't plan on adding this to my shows-to-post-Fanfare-threads-for list, so anyone else who feels like posting after tonight's broadcast should feel free to go ahead with it.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:54 AM on February 2, 2017

So I'm not seeing one word about the dead kid in here, unless I'm just missing it. Isn't it supposed to be the main mystery of the show? I guess it's just not too compelling so far. At first I thought Jason was just on the run because of impending sexual assault charges or something.

Hope we get to see more of Reggie and it's nice he's not played by a white guy. I'm maybe a little worried about The Pussycats all being black because it feels like it could be, "Okay this insular group is cast and now we don't have to think about diversity," so I guess we'll see.

Enjoyed some of the nicknames being worked in like Archikins and Ronnie. Didn't feel too forced. Hopefully we get a good old fashioned Egads! before this is all over.
posted by ODiV at 7:56 AM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really wish they had gone with the plot and feel of the current comic run. The comics now are fantastic! This was.... way too Dawson's Creek for me.
posted by greermahoney at 12:24 AM on February 9, 2017

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