Why Riverdale is 2017’s Veronica Mars


There’s a few things I’m excited about for this festive season.

Presents, of course. So long as the duds come with receipts.
Getting together with family and friends.
Having way too much out-of-date eggnog on New Years Eve, leading to one embarrassing morning New Years Day.
Doing fun things like – and this one was suggested to me tonight, actually – a great Italian meal in Carlton followed by a movie in the botanical gardens at dusk. What a dream. Also catching up on some much-needed sleep after umpteen years of schooling and work back-to-back. (Groan) my back.
Boxing day sales – so long as they don’t include me rostered onto work them.
News of Trump’s impending impeachment – too ‘hot button’ for a movie site? Oops!
And the new “Archie” series… or rather, “Riverdale”.

This surrealist take on the classic comic series might just be one of the more appealing, and definitely unique, offerings since… what month did “Westworld” begin?

Seriously, the network could’ve simply done a straight-up ham n’ cheese version of “Archie”, something akin to the screen adaptations of sister comics’ “Josie & The Pussycats”* or “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, and it would’ve been enough to warrant a watch. But let’s be honest here, to stay around longer than 12 episodes or so these days you’ve got to do something different. “Westworld” knew that. “The Walking Dead” continues to do that. And “Big Bang Theory”, for what it’s worth, also continues to take risks (as a sitcom). “Riverdale” is likely going to send some of the elder gents who inked the original comics into comas, sure, but it’s also going to chalk up some hefty mid-season ratings.

*Confession : I love “Josie & The Pussycats” – the film. That very meta, uber safe-aware and somewhat satirical poke at everything mass-marketing was so much more than most expected it to be. It also featured an amazing soundtrack; I particularly remember this song giving me the G bumps.. after all, don’t we all, at sometime, just want him/her to just sit up and NOTICE us!? Ah, such beauty in the words…

“Riverdale”. The way the show has been described is sort of like a “Dawson’s Creek” or “The OC” by way of “Stranger Things” or “Twin Peaks”. Personally, I think it’s got a “Veronica Mars” vibe going for it. Even the title treatment and colours they’re using in the marketing scheme resemble Rob Thomas’s ‘cult classic’.

Furthermore, “Riverdale” seems to encompass the same small-town mystery dramedy tone that “Mars” did. I believe the former also opens with a murder – one that leads into a mystery that plays out all season long. Betting it’s also got a ‘dope’ soundtrack, too. And let’s not be stupid here – there does seem to be a playbook that shows need to follow if they’re going to air on The CW, which both “Riverdale” will and “Veronica Mars” did.

In other words, it’s a total mix of genres, and the tone is considerably different to that of the funny, racy comics that inspired the series. I’m actually surprised that Archie comics actually signed off on the series, to be honest, because it’s so radically different that there’s bound to be some purists who want to tear down it’s blinds before they open.

The show, much like some of the other teen-skewed CW shows, has a wonderful cast – a lot of fresh faces joined by pros like Luke Perry (he was on the “90210” before ‘our’ 90210, Gen Y’s), old school rom-com regular Molly Ringwald (playing Archie’s mother), Madchen Amick (She’s been on everything…), Marisol Nichols (she was on “24”), Skeet Ulrich (“Scream”), Lochlyn Munro (any “White Chicks” fans in the house?) and even Robyn Givens.. playing the Mayor! Casting agents were on fire when this went out to agents. They definitely earned their Christmas bonuses not only finding the right faces for Archie, Veronica, Betty, Reggie Mantle, Jughead Jones and Josie McCoy (yep, Josie of ‘The Pussycats’) but the supporting cast too. More so, they seem to have cast good talent.

We shouldn’t be surprised, really, the executive producer is Greg Berlanti, who got his start on the classic drama “Everwood”, among others, before moving onto The CW’s superhero slate, beginning with “Arrow”. He’s had considerable success with his more recent shows for the network so clearly knows the ingredients that go into the magic formula.

Interestingly enough, “Riverdale” was originally set up at FOX. So thankful that they didn’t see the potential so The CW could swoop in. Having seen a few of my favourite shows swallowed and spat out by FOX, and within weeks of their initial broadcasts, I’m glad the network with more patience and know-how has this one.

We’ve seen a promo trailer for the show, now there’s a brand spankin’ new poster for the show. Now tell me.. do those funky, neon sodden colours not remind you of a certain teen detective show starring Kristen Bell!? Hopefully it’s as good!