We review Riverdale, the teen drama that’s got everyone talking.
For the past few months, there has been a new Netflix series that has taken the internet by storm. A teen drama that I’m sure a lot of fans, including my friends and I, love to talk about, no matter how ‘trashy’ and over-dramatic the show is compared to its comic book counterpart. Yes, it’s Riverdale, inspired off the beloved Archie comics.
Following iconic characters like Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Riverdale is a murder mystery drama. And with the season finale having just been released, I thought I could outline some of the reasons why I hate myself for loving this show.
Right off the bat, Riverdale is a gorgeous show. Throughout the season, the correlation between well-structured shots and visually appealing settings blend to make flawless visuals. I can’t praise the camerawork enough. The show really does look very pretty, and the addition of contrasting colour palettes accentuate the tones carried in the scene, whether it’s a lively house party or a crime scene.
Hell, even the Riverdale cast are all good-looking.
The plot is also very enticing and sets up a solid mystery. Right from the very beginning, Riverdale introduces a very intense story that constantly develops episode after episode, making it very easy to get addicted and binge straight through the entire series.
Now, the mystery also involves most the main characters as well, creating a complex web between the various characters and complicating the issue as time goes on. This complex web is also what makes the mystery even more compelling, making you second guess every single character.
To us, every single character is a suspect till the very end. Sometimes it got a little far-fetched and dramatic, but it was still very entertaining to watch.
I’d like to quickly mention that while the show does stray away from its comic book origins, and goes for a more dramatised series, Riverdale does still attribute the cartoon aspects of the franchise. Eagle-eyed fans might notice the characters’ iconic costume designs, or other cool easter eggs throughout the show.
Now, the show does have a few flaws.
For one, Archie is an awful protagonist. That’s nothing against him as a character, and KJ Apa does a great job as a hunky Archie. But from a story-based standpoint, Archie does nothing to prove himself as a protagonist. Riverdale’s mystery thriller arc is easily the main plot of this play, however it impacts Betty and Jughead much more than it does Archie.
Throughout the show, Betty and Jughead find themselves investigating a murder mystery, while Archie’s off contemplating his career as a musician. These two arcs frequently struggle to merge, and thus the tone is often very contrasting. It’s hard to continue the suspense of the mystery when you have Archie’s generic high school drama.
Riverdale often drags considerably throughout the episodes, and I found myself getting bored or restless. Like most other Netflix series, especially the Marvel ones, 13 episodes is often quite a stretch.
Whilst these shows have a captivating plot and intricate characters, the series often gets bogged down by having to stretch the story into 13 episode arcs. Perhaps if they shorten the series into eight episodes or so, and get rid of all the filler and unnecessary plot points (similar to what Marvel’s Defenders series is doing), Riverdale will immensely profit from that.
Ultimately, Riverdale came down to two aspects for me:
Whether I was captivated by the story and whether it was something I could get hooked on. It has its flaws, its storytelling issues and an imbalance of characters, but at the end of the day, I was still waiting impatiently for the next episode.
I freakin’ love Riverdale, and I reckon all of you need to check it out ASAP. Fortunately, the show just wrapped up so all thirteen episodes are available to binge on Netflix.
My Rating: 8.5/10