Sunday, January 29, 2017

Riverdale series premiere review
 Chapter One: The River’s edge 
by Simon (@Suypro)

This is a very different Riverdale from the one that you might know. In fact, I wonder whether or not this show should have any connection to Archie at all. The characters are vastly different, the tone is kind-of weird and their connection also are not the ones you’d expect from them. In fact, if you make a few casting changes, or just ask the lead to not change his hair color, and change the names, no one would think to connect this to the Archie comics. I know that this was just a way to attract viewership, hey, it worked on me, but it still feels like a cheat.

The episode:
So anyway, we start with some beautiful establishing shots of Riverdale as a town. And I have to give credits to the director here, Lee Toland Krieger, for recreating images you might see in the Archie comics.

Oh, Jason Blossom dies. Cheryl is sad, I guess.

The song playing before the boat trip is a very romantic song, which is creepy. Between that and the “He was my soulmate” comment from Cheryl later on, I really think that we have an incest situation going on here. Or maybe not, because of how hard they push this theory down our throat. But this is a CW/Berlanti show, subtlety is not their strong suit.

The episode does something interesting where it introduces most of the leads before Archie. This is good, since everyone expects to see Archie first.

Jughead is narrating this whole thing, well in theory he is writing it. And we see a glimpse of him after Jason’s death.

At the same time, we see Alice Cooper, Betty’s mom. She is also the second worst. And she blames everything that happened to her other daughter on Jason.

Veronica just appears into town with her mom after her father gets in trouble with the law because of embezzlement.

Then we get Betty and Kevin. Betty just came back from her internship, which apparently lasted all summer. This is surprising because WHO THE FUCK gives an internship to a 14-15 year old girl? Anyway, Kevin is introduced as the token gay best friend, which is something that they at least allude to later on. Given how he is in the comics, it is weird to see him as such a cliché gay character here, but it doesn’t hurt him. He’s good.

And finally we meet Archie.  He worked construction with his dad over the summer. He also got into a sexual relationship with his teacher, Miss Grundy, who is in her early 30s. Let me remind you, because I myself forgot because of how the actors look, that Archie is supposed to be 14 OR 15 YEARS OLD. Gross.  She is the number 1 worst btw.

Few things made me as mad as Archie completely ignoring HIS BEST FRIENDS THAT HE HASN’T SEEN ALL SUMMER, because a hot girl entered Pop’s. But, they all meet and Archie is very interested. Much to the dismay of Betty. (and mine)

The next day, we get a scene between Archie and his dad. The biggest problem with this scene is how absolutely terrible the sound is during the start of it. Listen to the portion where Archie goes down the stairs and speak to his dog. This is terrible ADR(Automatic dialogue replacement). Compare it to the rest of the discussion and cry.

We get two filler hallway scenes. And then Archie goes to see Josie and the Pussycats to get some help with his new passion he discovered during the summer: MUSIC! Their singing is live here and it was really good. Josie turns him down with the best-bad pun nickname “Justin Gingerlake”.

Then the hallway scene continues but with some good stuff now. “Is he your boyfriend?” “No, we’re just friends” “No, he’s straight.”  Also, Kevin tells us that Archie/Betty are endgame. So Veronica decides Betty should invite him to the dance.

Seeing how Archie and Miss Grundy first had sex is gross and I really do not understand this storyline it infuriates every time I see it. GET IT THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE. Remember: This 30s lady WAS ATTRACTED TO A 14-15YEAR OLD. I DON’T CARE HOW MUCH PUBERTY HIT. WTF. If we want to take something positive from this scene: There are some interesting shots in it. The ones in the car are very beautifully shot. And the focus change as Grundy turns around is great.

Blah blah blah adults speaking, booooorrriiinnnnngggg. Blah blah blah.

Now we hear Archie’s song for the first time. And the few we hear of it is actually good.  Not fantastic, but good. The way the music changes from being non-diegetic to diegetic* as Veronica gets closer to the table is very well done. Simple, but great.

(*Characters in-universe also hear it when it is diegetic, and we usually see the source from where the music is coming from)
Cheryl shows up and is really great at her fake-kindness. I also have to praise her half-hidden insult at veronica “Betty already has so much on her plate right now” she says, as she looks at her plate in disgust. (it is kind of ridiculous since she’s eating a salad, but still funny) And her asking for a “Follow for Follow” in real life is probably the saddest thing I have ever seen. Please tell me people don’t actually do that. PLEASE.

Archie goes to make Miss Grundy, the music teacher, hear his music because he wants help with it. REMINDER THAT THEY HAVE SLEPT TOGETHER. MULTIPLE TIMES. She makes a good choice for once, and refuses.

And then we learn that they heard a gunshot the day Jason died. Miss Grundy, being the worst, tries to convince Archie that the sound was fireworks. And say that they have to hide it because oh HOW would they ever explain that they were together. But this is dumb. One of them could report it. Alone. And say that they were alone. Finding a reason to be alone in the woods wouldn’t be hard. I was taking a walk.

Finally, the best, and worst scene.

Worst: That queerbaiting. WHY. WHHHHYYYYYYYY. I do not believe for a second that they’ll get together ever. That kiss was beautiful. And they had more chemistry during it than that other kiss later in the episode. But it’s still never going to happen.

Best: Veronica totally backing up Betty and squashing Cheryl with the best line of the episode. “Betty and I come as a matching set. You want one, you take us both. You wanted fire? Sorry, Cheryl Bombshell, my specialty is ice.” So campy, but so great. In a world where we never see enough genuine friendships between women. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

Then Veronica reveals that she wants to be a better person, which is why she wants to hang out with Betty so bad. She’s on a good path, honestly.

Veronica pushes Betty into inviting Archie to the dance. Which she does. Inviting both Veronica and Archie. Archie refuses for a while, Betty accepts but Veronica pushes him into it. And calls him Archiekins. Which is a beautiful comics call out.

Betty is happy. And her mother is terrible. Betty is tired of being perfect. (remember this for later on, this is VERY important)
Archie wants to do music, but he’s stuck between football and working with his dad and playing football. He tried hiding music from both of these and now his dad is mad at him, but tells him he should make a choice one way or another.

At the dance, Veronica leaves Betty and Archie alone to “go get punch”.  So, of course, Archie decides to go talk to Miss Grundy to force her into helping him with his music. Which she agrees to, because she’s an idiot.

Archie comes back. And after some pressure from Kevin and Veronica, Betty reveals her feeling. Only for Archie to be awkward and basically not really respond. He even turns to Miss Grundy during the awkward silence.

Apparently Cheryl is also Sabrina the Teenage witch, because she manages to convince Archie, Betty and Veronica to go to her party after this. And she wants to play seven minutes in heaven. And Archie goes first. It (not really) lands on Veronica

Let’s take a pause here. Her plan was to bring them to her house, pick Archie to play seven minutes in heaven and then have it land on Veronica???? Thank god, her bottle spinning skills are nearly 100% accurate.

They go into the closet and resist for a while by talking but then GASP, they kiss. They come out and are shocked to find Betty gone.
Bonus gay possibilities from the scene: Archie asks if she had a boyfriend, she says no. But she also says later that she was in love with someone at some point.

For some reason, Archie thinks that heartbroken Betty would go hide at Pop’s. But hey, we finally get an Archie/Jughead scene. And it is a great one. And we also learn that Archie messed up this relationship as well. By not talking to him after SOMETHING happened.  Archie seems really good at messing shit up.

Archie goes to Betty’s house and, SURPRISE, she’s there! She asks him if he loves her. Or even likes her. (That’s the sound of my heart breaking) He says that he DOES love her, but that she’s way too good for him. So perfect. (We agree on that one, Betty is waaayy too good)

We end with Kevin about to do some totally-not-gay-naked-stuff with a football player called Moose. And oops Jason’s body. With clear bullet hole on his forehead.

Jughead does a little voiceover telling us shit’s about to start going down rather quickly. See you next week Riverdale.

I don’t really like any of the adult cast.
Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper. She can do so much better.  She overacts a lot here.
Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge. I don’t remember seeing her in anything else. But she doesn’t really sound genuine in most of her scenes. But I don’t know if she can do better, we’ll see.
Luke Perry as Fred Andrews. The best of the adults. He still has a few weak spots, but at least he does have some good scenes. I.E. Talking with Archie on the porch.
All of the “teens” are at least good.
Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy. She has a very short scene, in which she’s good. And she has a good voice, which really matters for that role.
Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones. He also has a very short scene, in which he is very good. Not sure how good the voice-over is.
Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom. In some scenes she is very good and in others it all feel forced.
K. J. Apa as Archie Andrews. He is never bad, but he is not always good. But I think it might be mostly due to him not being used to hiding his accent and getting used to the role.
Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper. Always good.
Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge. Always good. Sometimes amazing. I now worship her.
Miss Grundy and her entire storyline better disappear as soon as possible.
Alice Cooper is a terrible mother and should also disappear quickly.
Hermione Lodge and Luke Perry are fine.
Josie McCoy is amazing and should be there at all times to crush Archie.
Jughead Jones is still too background-ish in the episode to have a clear opinion on him.
Archie Andrews is kind of terrible. He makes all the wrong choices and treats Betty like crap. But I guess that’s fine because he can only improve.
Betty Cooper is great and too good for Archie.
Veronica Lodge is kind-of in the middle. In theory, she also backstabbed Betty when she kissed Archie. But to be fair, she’s only known her for a few days.  So it’s hard for me to judge her as hard as Archie.
Betty opened to the idea of not being perfect because of “bad girl” Veronica. And then Archie tells her that she’s too perfect for him, so I think Betty will go down a path of becoming wild. I just hope she doesn’t go too far.
I only put four people as NOT being the killer. And these are Miss Grundy and Archie, because they were together doing gross things when the shot was heard. Jughead because there is no way that the “creepy” teen is actually the killer. Cheryl is also not the killer because it would be too obvious.
Overall a good and fun episode of television. 7/10
 This was a terrible review, but I had fun to writing it. If anyone read all the way to here, CONGRATULATIONS.