ByChristina St-Jean, writer at
Mom to 2 awesome girls. Love teaching, love writing. Black belt recipient and always into Star Trek, Star Wars and Harry Potter!
Christina St-Jean

Remember the Archie cartoon series of the 1960s and 1970s? The songs were bright and upbeat, everyone was often smiling, and the issues that the kids dealt with were usually relatively lighthearted and easily solved within the half-hour span of the show. They were a reflection of the sunny, lighthearted lifestyles that the kids in Riverdale were living, and a much-needed respite from global tensions such as the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975 but saw the United States embroiled in a battle on both the home front and internationally. North America, at the time, needed a break, and kids were drawn to Archie for a means of escape.

[Credit: Archie Comics]
[Credit: Archie Comics]

The problem with the comics is that while everyone needs a bit of lighthearted fun, a bright, sunny Riverdale with minimal issues did not reflect the changing world. Readers were soon introduced to a more diverse Riverdale, but in reality, that wasn't quite enough to compete with the demands for screen time and pressures that kids deal with in the 21st century. With the debut of Riverdale, though, viewers will come to realize that the world of Archie, one of the most beloved figures in comic books, is far darker than they realized. It would seem that there are fans excited for Riverdale's Jan. 26 premiere.

While features the same cast of characters we've come to know and love from the comics — Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and their friends — these kids are far different than their comic book counterparts. Gone is the sense that all these kids live clean-cut lifestyles and in its place is a sense of brooding tension. There are moments of levity — leaving that completely out of an Archie-related TV show would be somehow unfair to audiences who have come to love these characters from the comics — but this new look at Riverdale seems to fit more easily into the world of today.

The New Riverdale

Archie is now a buff heartthrob who works for his father's construction company. Jughead, known in the comics for his bottomless stomach and his loyalty to his best friend Archie, is trying to cope with a rift between him and Archie. Veronica is trying to rebound from an unknown scandal involving her father, and Betty is working to impress her perfectionistic mother with an unrequited crush on Archie.

The show is geared for anyone from 16 to 49 years of age, in all likelihood due to storylines that can, at times, be mature. Younger viewers might be most interested to see Cole Sprouse, one half of the dynamic duo that once reigned at the House of Mouse. Cole and Dylan Sprouse were best known for their roles as twins Zack (Dylan) and Cody (Cole) in shows like The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody and The Suite Life On Deck, which ran on Disney from 2005 to 2011. Now, playing an intense and brooding heartthrob is definitely a change of pace for Cole Sprouse, who said he lobbied unsuccessfully to make his character asexual in Riverdale, as the Archie comics themselves had done with Jughead.

'Riverdale' [Credit: Warner Bros. TV]
'Riverdale' [Credit: Warner Bros. TV]

The draw for older viewers might be the appearance of a Beverly Hills 90210 alumnus, Luke Perry. Perry is stepping into the role of Fred Andrews, Archie's dad. This interpretation of Archie's father is perhaps the most noteworthy change. Fred Andrews in the comics had always been portrayed as being portly, so seeing the athletic Perry step into this role is quite a switch for the character.

Regardless of how audiences might feel about the Archie comics, Riverdale is definitely a series that gives Archie and the gang a much needed, real-world update. While there aren't that many teens trying to solve a murder (like what seems to be happening in Riverdale's first season), the world of a teenager is not as bright and bubbly as the original Archie comics once appeared.

What do you think of this first look at Riverdale? Let us know in the comments section.


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