To say that Riverdale has been a hit would be an understatement. The CW television show, based on the Archie Comics, has captivated viewers by taking an innocent comic book story about high school friends and turning it into a murder mystery drama series.
The majority of the characters coincide with their comic book counterparts. For example, Archie Andrews is still a red-headed jock who is the focus of the story. Betty Cooper is still the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl next door. Veronica Lodge is still the raven-haired, sophisticated girl from a wealthy family. Although much of the physical attributes are the same as the comics, the dark twist implemented on the show also diverted the storylines of the characters. The show often makes the characters better, but others are completely ruined.
When the adaptation of the character is successful, it usually consists of turning a simple character into a multi-dimensional one. The adaptation of a character can be ruined for different reasons, from re-castings to diverting the character too far his or her origins.
Here are the 8 Characters That Riverdale Makes Better (And 7 It Ruins).
15 Better: Josie And The Pussycats
Although they may not have a huge role in the show or comics, the way that Josie and the Pussycats are portrayed in the show is a perfect fit. Instead of just simply being a girl band, the Pussycats are like Riverdale’s version of Destiny’s Child. They write their own songs, they have fierce outfits and they are all about female empowerment.
The group includes Josie, Melody, and Valerie, which is the same as the source material. A major difference in the show is that all three members are African-American women, who embrace their skin color and worship Whitney Houston.
The girls constantly having the goal of becoming professional recording artists is a great message about following persistently following your dreams. They also strive to be good female role models, making Josie and the Pussycats something that Riverdale definitely does right.
14 Ruins: Moose Mason
In both the show and the comics, Moose Mason is a stereotypical version of a jock. For Moose, football is his life and he’s not the smartest kid at school. In the Archie comics, it was eventually revealed that he has dyslexia. Most of all, he is extremely protective of his girlfriend Midge Klump.
Moose, whose real name is Marmaduke Mason, has these same attributes on the show. However in Riverdale, a main difference is that Moose's sexuality. In season one, we witness Moose sneaking off to hook up with Kevin Keller, although he's dating Midge - as he does in the comics. While it's good that the show added some much needed diversity, the show isn’t consistent.
In the second season, Moose is still Midge Klump and seemingly nothing has come of his love story with Kevin. It's fine if Moose is curious, but at least address in the show that he's made a choice.
13 Better: FP Jones
Forsythe Pendleton Jones II, otherwise known as FP Jones, didn’t have a very large presence in the comics. However, on the show, FP is basically king of the Southside Serpents gang.
He might not be the greatest dad, but he always tries to do the right thing to protect his family, whether that’s Jughead or the Serpents. Making FP a multidimensional character with a larger role in the TV series is something the show definitely improves on.
Another thing the show does much better than the comics is the fact that FP Jones, played by Skeet Ulrich, is very good looking. The CW has always been good at casting hot father figures - just look at Rufus from Gossip Girl.
12 Ruins: Reggie Mantle
In the comics, the character of Reggie Mantle is simultaneously a good friend and a worst enemy of Archie. The boys are most often seen fighting for Veronica Lodge’s affection. In the show, he’s a conniving and good-looking jock with a penchant for trouble. His character has a much smaller role on the show.
The main reason that the television show ruins the character of Reggie Mantle, is due to the recasting that happened between the first and scond seasons. Obviously, this type of stuff happens in show business, but changing the actor after one season didn’t do the CW any favors.
Ross Butler was cast in the role initially, but he left because of scheduling conflicts with the next season of 13 Reasons Why. Charles Melton has since replaced him for the second season.
11 Better: Kevin Keller
Kevin Keller was the first openly gay character in the Archie comics and in the fictional town of Riverdale. Similar to many of the characters in the television adaptation, the character of Kevin Keller has a much darker storyline.
The fact that he is gay seems to be accepted by most of the town, yet he still sneaks around when canoodling with other men. Also like in the comics, Kevin is best friends with Betty and Veronica.
The main reason the show made Kevin better is simply because they gave him a bigger role. He serves mainly as comedic relief but also adds a unique personality to the group. Kevin's relationship with his father, Sheriff Keller, has also been a great way of adding mystery and suspense to the show.
10 Ruins: Chuck Clayton
In the comics, Chuck Clayton is a close friend of Archie, Jughead, and Betty. He’s an athlete, a great cartoonist, and all around a nice guy. Unfortunately, him being a football player is the only similarity to the show.
On Riverdale, Chuck Clayton is a womanizer and a bad boy. He’s rude, conniving, and a total player. Chuck’s biggest character arc on the show thus far, was when he went out on a date with Veronica and then harassed and shamed her, claiming they had hooked up.
Chuck, along with other guys in the locker room, had created a scoring system for girls they hook up with. Although having an evil character is always good, fans of the comics would have never guessed that one of them would be Chuck.
9 Better: Cheryl Blossom
Cheryl Blossom is without a doubt one of the greatest characters on Riverdale. In the comics, Cheryl is a red-headed cheerleader who shows up once in a while as a third love interest for Archie. However in Riverdale, Cheryl is so much more.
Cheryl is pretty much the same as in the comics - one minute she is friends with Betty and Veronica and the next day she is out to get them. She’s conniving, she’s fierce, and she’s pretty much fearless.
What makes Cheryl’s character so much better on the show is that she truly is a multidimensional character. Although she might seem like your stereotypical mean girl at times, her one-liners are absolutely incredible. The show balances her vulnerability and terrible upbringing, making her a full-rounded character the audience can relate to.
8 Ruins: Hermione & Hiram Lodge
Veronica Lodge’s parents, Hermione and Hiram, are good-looking and overly protective parents. Originally from New York, Veronica’s parents have a stranglehold on the small town in many ways. In the comics, the Lodges aren’t extremely fond of Veronica’s relationship with Archie. In fact, Hiram was a much bigger character than Hermione was.
In Riverdale, they are portrayed as criminals with strong ties to the mafia. Although Hermione is more discreet and doesn’t perform many crimes herself, Hiram was incarcerated for the entire first season. There is also the minor detail that the Lodges are the oldest parents in the comics, having both been portrayed with having white hair.
In season two, Hiram and Hermione create a united front and recruit Veronica into the family business.
7 Better: Veronica Lodge
Like in the comics, Riverdale's Veronica Lodge is a raven-haired girl with a wealthy family and eyes for Archie Andrews. She is both sophisticated and sassy. Betty Cooper is her best friend and her family is very important to her. But in the show, Veronica is so much more.
In Riverdale, Veronica Lodge has these same characteristics, but they are all turned up a notch. In other words, family isn’t just important to her, she’s devoted to them. Betty is more than her high school friend, she’s her ride or die BFF. When it comes to Archie, he means the world to her and she does whatever she can to protect him.
Veronica is intelligent, confident, and strong. She struts the halls of Riverdale High clad in her pearls, chic dresses, and her high heels. Basically, Veronica Lodge is Blair Waldorf with a heart of gold.
6 Ruins: Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is the mother of Betty and Polly, and is one of the meanest people on the show. The comics portray her as a loving parent who only wants the best for her kids. However on the show, Alice is manipulative, overprotective, and a flat-out control freak. She is obsessed with everything her children do, to the point that she is breathing down their necks.
To say that Alice is always in Betty’s business is an understatement. She tries to control her relationships with Archie, Jughead, and Veronica. Polly going off and making her own decisions has made Alice live in fear that Betty will do the same.
Alice Cooper is also a hypocrite, as she says she hates the Serpents, but Betty later discovers that her mom used to be one.
5 Better: Archie Andrews
The center of both the comics and the television show, Archie Andrews is a red-headed sweetheart. In the comics, he is a confident jock who likes both Veronica and Betty. He also loves football, he's loyal to his friends, and he has an aura of innocence.
In the show, Archie is a much more modernized, realistic teenager. He has angst, he’s vulnerable, and he has self-doubt. Archie is still an athlete and football, his friends, and his family still mean a lot to him. Riverdale takes this to the next level by having him feel responsible for the entire town.
In the first season, Archie is determined to find out who killed Jason Blossom. Similarly, the second season sees Archie and the gang determined to find the man under the Black Hood.
4 Ruins: The Black Hood
The Black Hood of Riverdale wasn’t actually in the Archie comics, but he is from an adjacent universe. The Black Hood was first published by MLJ comics, which would then change its name to Archie Comics due to the success of that series. In the comics, the Black Hood is a superhero who fights crime. In the show, his character is completely different.
On Riverdale, the hero has been changed into a serial killer who specifically targets sinners. Although the idea made for a good storyline, it didn’t conclude well and many parts didn’t add up.
For starters, the Black Hood ended up killing two people, Miss Grundy and The Sugar Man, while the rest were only injured. After much speculation over who was behind the attacks, the Black Hood ended up being a character that wasn’t introduced until two episodes before the reveal. It was definitely underwhelming.
3 Better: Jughead Jones
The character of Jughead Jones probably had the most changes in transition from comic book to screen. In the comics, Jughead is a crown-wearing doofus who is obsessed with eating hamburgers. He is a form of comic relief and he doesn’t care about getting a girlfriend.
In the show, Jughead wears the crown-shaped beanie and he does like to eat at Pop’s, but those are the only similarities. Jughead is an emotionally troubled kid who had a rough life growing up with his deadbeat father, FP Jones.
Jughead is eccentric, a bit of a hipster, and he enjoys writing. He also serves as the narrator of the show. The major difference is his love story with Betty Cooper, which has become a fan-favorite storyline.
2 Ruins: Miss Grundy
Just like Jughead, the character of Miss Grundy differs greatly in Riverdale than in the comics. Miss Grundy is originally an older teacher at Riverdale High. However on the show, Miss Grundy is a young and attractive music teacher who privately tutors Archie.
Miss Grundy and Archie even have a relationship, even though she is obviously much older than him. She often feigns innocence, pretending that she is just an average teacher.
When their secret affair comes out, Betty and Veronica also discover that Geraldine Grundy isn’t actually her real name. Apparently, Miss Grundy was married to an abusive husband and her actual name is Jennifer Gibson. When the truth comes to light she is forced to leave town.
1 Better: Betty Cooper
Like in the comics, Betty Cooper is the blonde, blue-eyed girl next door who is in love with her childhood friend, Archie. She is also best friends with Veronica Lodge. On Riverdale, the creators added so much more to her character. She’s intelligent, determined, and strong.
Although Betty is in love with Archie at the beginning of the series, when she realizes the feelings aren’t mutual, she takes a step back. Fortunately, she does form a relationship with Jughead. Their resulting relationship is extremely complicated and it highlights Betty’s strengths. In Riverdale, Betty also shows hints of a darker side, struggling with anxiety and medication.
Despite this, Betty’s greatest strength may be her crime-solving skills. She is like a modern day, ponytail-sporting, Nancy Drew.
Did we miss any other important Riverdale characters the show either ruined or made better?