The CW’s Archie Comics television series Riverdale made its debut last night, and if it isn’t on The CW’s mind already, it likely won’t be long before the network starts doubling down and putting more chips in the game when it comes to the Archie Comics source material. After all, Archie Andrews isn’t the only teenager that Archie Comics has iconized in it’s time. There is a gold mine of untapped, high school-set, adolescent magic to bring to the small screen, and based on what showrunner Greg Berlanti has already achieved with the Arrowverse – which now spans four different shows – it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see The CW take a similar approach with Archie.
Riverdale saw a soft debut with 1.37 million viewers tuning in for the premiere, but with positive reviews from critics the show stands a good chance of picking up more viewers over the course of its first season. So, while you’re still getting used to the idea of Riverdale, it makes sense to know what else is (hopefully) on the way. Here are some good bets as to the Archie Comics properties that The CW could and should adapt if Riverdale earns its place as a hit.
Josie & The Pussycats
Josie McCoy, played by Ashleigh Murray, isn’t exactly the main character in The CW’s Riverdale, but she’s definitely one of them. From the way the show is handling the promotion it’s extremely clear that her role doesn’t just consist of holding a guitar on stage and singing during montages and cut scenes. She and the Pussycats (Asha Bromfield & Irie Hayleau) have their own storyline that crosses over with Archie and the gang in a way that already promises nothing but entertainment. In one of the behind the scenes promos for her character she calls Archie “Justin Ginger-lake” when it even looks like he’s trying to step into her lane and consider music as a career.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Robert Aguirre-Sacasa said that, “they’re like the Dream Girls” – which, if you’ve ever heard of Jennifer Hudson or Beyoncé, is probably one of the highest musical compliments you can give. What’s even better is that these girls aren’t just there to look good and lip sync either. This video of Asha Bromfield, who plays Melody Valentine, singing Rae Sremmurd’s number one hit “Black Beatles” with KJ Alpa on the guitar is proof of that. There’s more than enough source material, plus space for new and interesting stories to be told surrounding Josie and the Pussycats, and the fact that shows like Empire, Nashville, and others exist makes it pretty difficult to argue that shows about musicians braving the music industry don’t work well in today’s television programming.
Betty & Veronica
This one is a no-brainer; the most important characters in the Archie Comics multiverse have never been any of the men. Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge have always been the catalysts for action, even from the very beginning. Although the original focal point was these two young women fighting over the lovable, goofy, and clueless Archie Andrews, things have changed since then. The two characters have always been best friends, but Riverdale looks to be focused on that aspect of their lives even more so than any of the comics ever have. Not to say that the love triangle is nonexistent – this is a high school teen drama, after all, and awkward romance is the bread and butter of that genre – but it’s not the only thing that’s going on between Betty and Veronica.
Friendship, and rivalry, between young women is a storyline that’s a staple foundation for good coming of age storytelling. In an America where women are more vocal than ever about their rights, their place in society, and the power of their agency, a story that features the bond between two uniquely different and confident young girls can share together is a hook, line and sinker. Do not be surprised if after two or three seasons of Riverdale Betty and Veronica end up at college as roommates in a campus dorm – with no Archie or Jughead in sight.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Archie Comics is chock full of leading ladies in disguise. It may not have been the intention of the original creators for it to be that way, but under a 2017 lens it’s impossible not to see it. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is just as iconic, maybe even more so, than Archie Andrews ever has been. In fact, it’s beyond safe to say that Sabrina is probably the Archie Comics title that paved the way for adaptations from the source material to make it television the most successfully.
Melissa Joan Hart starred as Sabrina on ABC, and then The WB, for an entire seven seasons, plus three television movies. The first time Archie made it to live action in Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again he tanked, only making it as high as 51st in the Nielsen ratings. Robert Aguirre-Sacasa’s second Archie Horror title Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, just like Riverdale, is a different, more subversive take on the the life of a teenage witch. And some version of that story is one that television is just waiting for. Shows like the The Magicians set precedent that fantasy fans are ready to delve a little deeper into the consequences of magic and what it might actually look like in a more realistic sense. And the fact that this Sabrina Spellman story is set in the 1960’s adds a great period-piece element that hasn’t existed in a lot of the most recent small screen titles that follow witchcraft and wizardry.
With Riverdale, The CW has opened the book on an entire multiverse with tons of great source material to mine for future projects. And it would be naive to think they don’t know it. Only time will tell which stories they decide to adapt for new shows in the Archie Comics television universe, but it’s just common sense to ready ourselves for their arrival. Even though the stories that we’ve listed are clearly some of the most compelling ones. 2017 opens a new chapter of Archie Comics that’s more vibrant and interesting ever, we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.
Riverdale airs 9PM Thursdays on The CW.
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