NCS Grad review: Riverdale

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Julia Riverdale review

By Julia Debicka, NCS Graduate Bedfordshire.
Editor’s Note: We will only be discussing the brief plot to inform you of what ‘Riverdale’ actually is about, there are no spoilers for the series featured in this article.

What is Riverdale?

A new subversive drama focused on the life of Archie, his friends, and the unknown cause of Jason Blossom’s death. This new CW Network show explores the lives within a small town, with a façade of innocence and normality concealing the lurking darkness beneath. Inspired by ‘Archie Comics,’ first created in 1941, the town of Riverdale is not at all as it appears. The series uncovers a reality where you cannot see a person’s true intentions, feelings or thoughts, instead we experience the individual they want you to see, either as an act or as a tool for social compatibility.

Watch out, because this show is going to be your new obsession.


What’s right with it?

Not persuaded yet? How about when we tell you that the main character, Jughead, is portrayed by Cole Sprouse (aka Cody from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody), interested yet? Not only do we get to see the once ‘geeky’ twin back on our screens after 6 painful years, but now he has returned (with dyed black hair), as a mysterious and sinister character. Leaving us all curious about the real purpose of his record of Jason Blossom’s death- putting his  supposed innocence into question.

The first episode of Riverdale opens with a monologue from Jughead, warning of ‘starting to see the shadows underneath’ when you look closely at the town of Riverdale. He basically foreshadows the entire plot of the series, because I can confidently state that even your favourite characters from the first episode are hiding the darkest, and most unexpected secrets.

Just like every CW hit, Riverdale introduces a love triangle between Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Veronica Lodge(Camila Mendes). Archie’s apprehension and struggle to decide on securing his romantic feelings towards one girl, brings a series of misunderstandings, conflict and scandal. Whether he will pick the raven haired, mysterious New Yorker that is new to town; or the sweet ‘girl next door’ he’s been in a committed companionship with, remains a mystery.

However, any signs of competition or tension between the two girls are shattered, and replaced by Veronica’s persistence and determination in proving her pure-hearted intentions and sincerity to Betty. Oddly forming into a miraculous friendship between Betty and Veronica that all of us dream of.

Just like in his love life, Archie struggles to pick between two of the most important things in his life- football and music. The question is: will he continue to live two lives, or will he fully dedicate his heart to one? That’s for you to find out.



Archie (KJ Apa) , Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Betty (Lili Reinhart)

Like in every school, Riverdale had to include the royalty of the school- Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), twin sister of Jason, whose death hangs mysteriously over the town . Ever so powerful and influential, Cheryl loses her brother during a boat ride, thinking that he died by drowning. The irony lies in Jason being captain of Riverdale High’s water polo team, and his corpse being found after weeks of intense search, by the river, with a bullet hole in his forehead. The show presents the ‘popular’ in a dimmer light, to indicate that even the ‘ideal’ people face sorrows and dilemmas, rather than living a harmonious and extravagant life, that others think they experience. Throughout the season you will see how hatred brought from previous relationships and family history have transferred onto the characters and will experience either their development or disappearance.



Cheryl (played by Madelaine Petsch)

What’s wrong with it?

To start with, like most ‘teen dramas’ the characters are supposed to be seniors at the youngest, yet they’re all dolled up and beautiful and not the least bit awkward, unlike most of us during those years. The girls look like models with their Ted Baker dresses and Valentino red heels, and the boys have perfect abs, and a face sculpted by Grecian gods. However, the plot can actually be, as we call it, ‘relatable’- werewolves, witches, vampires and any other supernatural beings are being replaced by teenage drama, romance and revenge. The first episode also introduces Kevin- the gay best friend of Betty, hinting that the series will present both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and appeal to a greater audience.


The show has great potential, the plot involves so many twists and the capacity to turn into several fearsome and awe-inspiring seasons. I don’t know what future episodes will bring, and whether the reveal of Jason Blossom’s killer will be disappointing or completely unexpected. But, I do know that the episodes that have aired so far, are filled with a spectrum of emotions and turmoil that you don’t want to miss out on.

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