Back in the 1940s, Archie Comics introduced readers to a wholesome, small town called Riverdale. The comics followed the adventures of Archie Andrews, a high school teen caught amid a love triangle with two girls: friendly blonde Betty Cooper and spoiled vixen Veronica Lodge. In recent years, the series has delved into more modern storylines, focusing on Archie taking a bullet for his friend Kevin Keller, and Jughead coming out as asexual.
Now The CW will amp up Archie’s newfound grit with the forthcoming adaptation Riverdale, a dark, subversive take on the classic comics. Set to premiere January 26, the series centers around the murder of Jason Blossom and the mysteries and secrets that emerge as a result. Promos have teased danger, lies, and lots of seduction, but a new clip shows off Archie’s revamped look.
In an exclusive clip from The Wrap, Betty (Lili Reinhardt) prepares to reunite with Archie (K.J. Appa) after being away from him all summer. While chatting with her friend Kevin (Casey Cott), a clearly smitten Betty wonders why Archie hasn’t said anything if he feels the same way. “Archie’s swell, but like most millennial straight guys, he needs to be told what he wants, so tell him,” Kevin urges, before gasping at Archie’s new abs.
The exchange doesn’t offer much in the way of plot details, but it’s a welcome alternative from the gloomy, foreboding tone touted in the trailer. It also confirms the show is almost certainly geared toward the young adult crowd, having already drawn comparisons to similarly steamy teen soap Gossip Girl. That’s been the direction since the start, but other clips have offered heady mystery more akin to cult favorite Twin Peaks. It’s nice to see Riverdale won’t be totally somber, but such a youth-focused approach may throw off longtime Archie fans who grew up reading the more virtuous take.
On the other hand, that might not be who The CW is targeting, and older viewers could very well love a fresher, more contemporary approach. After all, Gossip Girl, which also aired on The CW, was one of the hottest shows on television when it premiered in 2007, so perhaps the network is aiming to repeat one of its greatest hits. Judging by the buzz Riverdale has already received, it’ll have an audience no matter what the age.
Riverdale premieres on The CW on January 26.
Source: The Wrap