The CW has made Riverdale so much darker than its inspiration, the Archie comics. Here’s how.
Utilizing characters from the Archie comic series, Riverdale is a teen-plus drama that takes the Archie characters and twists them into something dark and ugly.
At times, this seems like it’s strictly for the sake of ratings or shock value. The show goes against the type of characters both of classic and modern Archie incarnations, translating them into a world full of backstabbing, sociopaths, and corruption.
Archie Andrews is supposed to be the lead male character with a heart of gold. In the first season though, Archie is a little bit of a jerk, and his ties to his girlfriend Veronica and frustration with his family life let him make less-than-honorable decisions.
In the newest season Archie has become a capo of a crime family headed by Hiram Lodge. In the comics Hiram was a tough businessman but not a mafia leader, where he does everything from enlisting the high school wrestling team to break up a protest led by his good buddy Jughead, to organizing a group of students wearing dark masks and clothing to scare off mob rivals by blowing up a vehicle.
Speaking of Jughead, he is no longer the affable slacker, philosopher, and support system for Archie Andrews. He is now a blogger, journalist, and motorbike gang member. He still has glimpses of his famous eating habits, but now has the tendency to act in impulsive and merciless fashion if provoked. (You know, like carving skin off of a female gang leader which threatened his father.)
And the darkness of these new Archies goes on and on.
The Lodges are a traditionally powerful business family, but now the business is organized crime.
The Blossoms no longer just engage in Mean Girl-esque pushiness and manipulation, but are now a family full of murders, criminals, courtesans, and insanity.
Josie, of Josie and The Pussycats, is now a self-serving, fame-hungry young woman, whose mom has been a corrupt mayor with a penchant for adultery. And the list goes on.
Betty, Kevin, even Pops, all seem to harbor dark secrets or hidden agendas.
Even the updates to the comic book series, The Archie Gang – although sometimes veering into Mean Girls and Saved By the Bell territory, still maintain some of the hallmarks that fans recognize. Lovelorn teenagers, dances, teenage goofiness and humor are still to be found in the comic book pages.
Despite being updated and contemporary, the darkness is negligible, and life lessons and light are easy to find.
As far as the Riverdale TV series though, Wolverine, Batman and the Arrow have, on average, better days than Archie Andrews. And believe me, with a renewal for a third season and a fanbase who loves the darkness at The Chocklit’ Shoppe, that is saying something.
For more CW goodness, check out our ranking of the best CW superheroes.