Chapter One: The River's Edge - S1E01 RIVERDALE Review

The CW and Archie Comics' noir-thriller "Riverdale" could become the stuff of teen legend...

Chapter One: The River's Edge - S1E01 RIVERDALE Review

The CW and Archie Comics' noir-thriller "Riverdale" could become the stuff of teen legend...

I'm just going to start by saying that I have never read the Riverdale Comics, nor did I know anything about them before going into the first episode. As the show continues, I shall do a bit more research, but I thought I should make my lack of pre-knowledge clear straight off the bat.

Chapter One: The River's Edge was just what I had expected from Riverdale's first episode, which is both a good and a bad thing. As a child of the 90s, I have been around the block a few times when it comes to teen TV. From Buffy and Dawson's Creek to The OC and One Tree Hill, I know my tropes and Riverdale has them in spades.

The sensitive jock torn between his responsibilities and his dreams. The perfect girl teetering on the edge of rebellion or insanity. The bad girl turned good, but for how long? The creepy, American Beauty writer guy/narrator. The savvy GBF (gay best friend). Check, check and double check! The hot-teacher-in-glasses trope had me laughing out loud, but if they're staying true to the comics then fair enough.

The show even injects some meta-humour as a way of demonstrating, "Hey, we totally know these are tropes but because we're commenting on them, it's cool. Right?" Wrong. In a post-Kevin Williamson world, that in itself in a cliché.

"Is cheerleading still a things?" - Kevin Keller

"Is being the gay best friend still a thing?" - Cheryl Blossom

It may sound like I'm being overly harsh. I'm not. Just because these are stereotypical characters, doesn't not mean that they aren't entertaining, compelling and played to perfection by their cast -- a hungry cast of fresh faces -- I'm just saying, "I see you Riverdale." That's all.

"So what are you three hens gossiping about? Archie's Efron-esque emergence from the crystallise of puberty?" - Cheryl Blossom 

Speaking of cast, clear standout is Camila Mendes' portrayal of new girl, Veronica Lodge. Equal parts Jen Lindley and Blair Waldorf, with more than a hint of Sarah Michelle Gellar's Kathryn Meteuil, Veronica's 'ice-queen' speech is already iconic and Mendes injects real heart into a character that could easily be one-note.

Luke Perry, in his few scenes, gives a real weight to his role a Archie's father, and I look forward to more of him.

If Chapter One: The River's Edge is anything to go by, I'm certain the rest of the first season will be just as slick and smart (we'll wait for Season 2 to see if everything falls apart). My only concern that, as will many teen serial drama, Riverdale could fall into the trap of getting lost in its own mythology and forgot the simplicity and joy of the stand-alone episode. Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries are both culprits of this, causing episodes to blur into one, rather than allowing its audience to look back a say "Let's the watch the one where..."

If the show succeeds at this, allows its stereotypical characters to subvert their pre-ordained molds and stays dark (the dead body at the end was surprisingly graphic), Riverdale could become the stuff of teen legend. Time will tell.

Till then...

See you next Friday.

3.5/5