A little bit pissed off

I had a good day yesterday, and got a lot accomplished. I decided to grab a drink and watch some television. I'd seen the previews for a show called Riverdale. Riverdale ate up a chunk of my pre-teen years in the form of Archie Comics. The previews never came right out and said as much, but I suspected this would be some form of Archie Comics.

These were a special kind of comics that we referred to as funny-books. Maybe the term is local, but it was a common reference. “Do you want anything from the store?” … “Yeah, Mom, grab me a couple of funny-books.” Archie was what you graduated to after Hot Stuff, Baby Huey, Sad Sack, and others lost their luster.

Looking back, maybe Veronica Lodge is how I developed a life long appreciation for comic book art, and pinups. Maybe I'll google Betty and Veronica to see if there is any inspiration for Lisa Burton posters. Back to the topic.

Anyway, the show included all my favorites, but it wasn't what I expected. This is another one of those teenage drama, soap opera things The CW is known for. Turns out Archie is having an affair with his teacher. Betty's mom is pushing prescription drugs on Betty to help her focus and succeed. Veronica's father is in prison. Poor old Jughead is some kind of loner who's writing a book or blog. He seems the kind of guy to shoot up a school, or shoot something into his arm (either one, maybe both.)

They also changed the ethnicity and sexual preference of several characters. You know, because we have to “catch em all” these days. It looks like Midge will never be Moose's girlfriend now. Josie and the Pussycats are all black characatures of stereotypes we've seen a million times before. They aren't just sassy, they're downright bitches.

Not only is Archie having this affair, he and his teacher were doing the nasty in the woods when they overheard a gunshot. This gunshot is the catalyst for a murder that will underly the whole show. Of course they can't tell anyone – someone might find out about their affair.

Add in some filming in various shades of greyscale. Dress everyone in black or grey the majority of time. Strike a lot of crossed arm poses while looking down the nose at the camera, and it's a hit. Woo Hoo! Don't forget to add in a lot of demeaning comments and horrible people and you have Riverdale.

As far as I'm concerned, Sabrina the Teenage Witch can show up and blast the whole lot of them into the void.

I'm disgusted by the whole thing. I have an idea from a writer's perspective. If you want to make a soap opera about a bunch of worthless, bitchy people – go ahead. Create your own characters, town, and drama. Don't piggyback onto something that was never intended to be like this just to grab those all important first viewers.

What's next on The CW's radar? Toy Story? The Muppets?

Now before someone brings it up, I've heard the comics went down the same path. I'm the first one to admit that things change, and times change. I disagree with this path too. Apparently, Archie is 75 years old now, and it's hard to keep him relevant. There is a reason why television voluntarily retires popular shows. They go out on top, rather than keep going until they bore the crap out of people. MASH did that, Mary Tyler Moore did that, Seinfeld, looking at you Bones, but that's another topic.

Archie should have retired if the dollars aren't there anymore. This path is a disservice to all the writers and artists that kept Archie alive for 75 years. It's also a disservice to 75 years worth of fans who enjoyed Archie Comics.

I'm sure this post will be missed by many, because it's Super Sunday. Hope you're all having a fun time. For the stalwarts like me, what do you think? Did I just trash your new favorite show? Am I being too dramatic? Should creators do their own work when it comes to world building?


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68 responses to “A little bit pissed off

  1. I was beginning to think I was the only one who felt that way. Archie and friends are iconic. They shouldn’t have to darken and dramatize Riverdale’s inhabitants to appeal to the masses. I think the CW saw the success of Marvel (and to a lesser degree, DC) and grabbed up the first franchise they could find that hadn’t already been claimed. Then they forced it into the teen soap formula and ran with it. My teens aren’t interested (although they’re probably a slightly older audience than this will appeal to). I watched it and reacted the same way you did.

    So many movies and television shows today are reboots (and don’t get me started on “reality” TV). If producers aren’t going to go to the trouble of curating original content, the least they could do is treat the legends with respect.

    I agree; we need to change with the times. But some things are too precious to mess with.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Another ‘re-interpretation’ to supposedly appeal to our younger generations. Most of this stuff is disgusting and I think only appeals to the prurient interest. BTW, this is the final season of Bones, but NCIS seems to have a long, long life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do agree I hate it when something you know and loved from childhood is mullered for money!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some things should be sacred and not revamped for ‘current’ taste. They’re iconic for a reason and shouldn’t be regurgitated until all the original gloss has vanished.
    Batman might be able to stand a few re-boots, but not every show can be handled that way. Don’t cross the basic formula line unless you can do as well as the original should be the watchword for ‘makeover’ shows! :-(.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are a braver man than me. Heard of it and didn’t even want to take the risk.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so freaking bummed! I was at a party last night so I missed the show but I have been looking forward to it for months. I thought it was going to be Archie and the gang the way I remember Archie and the gang. Oh, how disgusting that they’ve ruined it this way. The characters you described are only related to the original Archie comics by name. I don’t recognize a single one of them. I am freaking pissed too, and will not be bothering with such a wretched show. Ugh! šŸ˜¦

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree with you totally. The CW is into formula and that is about all there is to it. You should be pissed off. Thanks for sacrificing your precious time so I don’t have to do the same. (the old one for the Gipper)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree! You have every right to be pissed off. I don’t know what it is these days with tv shows and movies, they lack creativity! People have gotten lazy….

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I never really was cool enough that read those funny books and I sure haven’t seen that show but I do agree with your sentiments completely!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dude – this is a fab post, whether or not you’re peed off! What a tragedy! To destroy Archie and the gang like this? So wrong… this world is going down the plug hole. Hopefully the series will be a short lived disaster. In any case, the innocence of the Archie years are well over, and that is so so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Archie lasted through some pretty tough times. WWII, Korea, Vietnam. I don’t think the age of innocence has to be retired at all. This was a conscious choice to cash in quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True enough. We used to have a saying in radio: when in doubt, reach below the belt. Actually, we put it a bit cruder at the time, but you catch my point. When you aren’t clever enough to be clever, aim for what titillates. It’s a cheaply revolting technique, but it certainly got the ratings. Sounds like you are right, Craig. They’ve sold out.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. As soon as I saw the premise I was done with it. Thank you for ploughing through it. Such a waste of a good idea.


  12. Oh, how I loved Archie comics when I was a kid. It was so exciting to pick up a new one. I wasn’t aware they’d done a TV show. Based on what you’ve said, I’ll skip it. I’d like to keep the comic as is in my mind. Then again, I don’t hang out on CW much, anyway. I suspect I’m not their demographic. šŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have to wonder if this tradition of grimdark remakes is an attempt to rewrite history. People seem to want to take anything from the past that was happy and cheerful and make it into something ugly. It seems to me sometimes that they want to try to show the past as bleak, just to try to make today look better.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. At most, I recall having an Archie & Jughead coloring book. I know very little about the actual comics, and still I feel that the modernized, dramatic, dark adaptation is not suitable to its traditional audience.
    I can tell you, from living with the young people, that they do not like their literary characters messed with, and that they do go on about it. Even Sassy, who loves drama for the sake of drama gets burnt about it, “Where did these sub-plots come from? Who is that? What is going on?” I’ve seen this over and over with them.
    But it’s likely the new viewers never knew the old comic.
    I think it depends on whether you want to read to share experience, or to read to escape. I don’t think they’re interchangeable. I don’t want to see Anne of Green Gables modernized, stumbling into heroine addiction and sleeping with her cousin. I don’t want to see The Red Badge of Courage made into the feel-good movie of the year.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. As seen through the writer’s eye!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! So not cool. The Archie comics are sacred childhood memories. I bet a lot of people are disgusted by the new show.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for confirming my first impression that Riverdale wasn’t something I wanted to watch. I’m sorry that it’s an hour you will never get back!


    Liked by 1 person

  18. Archie has been around for so many years. I’ll bet when they created it in 1941, they didn’t expect it to have the longevity that would lead to this TV series. I haven’t seen it yet, but the previews looked like it might not be something I’d enjoy. It appears that T.V. and movies have lost originality and make up for it by rebooting and, sometimes, spoiling old classics.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You’ve confirmed my suspicion that I wouldn’t want to watch this show. Not that I’m a devoted Archie fan, but I could tell from the promos that it wouldn’t be to my taste.

    I’ve enjoyed the first few seasons of Flash and Supergirl, but those comics have always had the continuing storylines and romantic entanglements. I see Archie as much more episodic and not suited to CW’s treatment.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I hear you. We seem to be in the middle of a horrific ‘retellathon’. Basically, the way I see it, you either tell the story, as it’s written, or you tell something else. I haven’t seen this show so I can’t comment on whether it’s good or bad, but if the original set up is too dated or not diverse enough for a modern audience, surely it’s easy enough to change the ethnicity or orientation of a couple of characters without totally obliterating the personalities they have in the originals. It seems to me that making it into a completely different story piggybacking on a known name is shameless profiteering, lazy writing and a sure fire way to piss off all the original fans.

    It’s like all the remakes we’ve had over the last few years. We don’t want to see old stuff rehashed. We want new ideas and new characters to love. All stuff like this does is take screen space and opportunities away from original writing and ideas.



    Liked by 1 person

  21. I totally agree with you. It seems that’s the in thing these days. While in real life high school boys might have dated their teachers in those days it wasn’t spread around for a reason. It would have shocked and parents would .have been angry. That was a good thing. I don’t want to know about it now either. What parent wants their younger kid to read comics like that. They’re certainly not humorous. Some comics are like that from the beginning and it’s expected. The others don’t have to copy them. Archie was not that kind of comic and if no longer popular should be retired. Those Archie comics are popular here. If young people here watch the TV show that’s another instance where they’ll think a lot of kids in the U.S. do those things. They already think a lot of U.S. women bed hop thanks to TV. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve seen several previews to the show but had no idea that it was based on Archie comics. Wow! I don’t have a problem with retelling a story. After all, you have to make it relevant to the new generations. As long as it’s done right I’m fine with it, but don’t change too many things about it, because then it’s what you said, they’re just riding on someone else’s characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have to say that I really enjoy the show Riverdale. There comes a point where characters are so iconic that you could turn them into vampires, cast them as all kinds of ethnicities, change their gender, whatever and they still persist. Because legends persist. Batman, Archie, Spider-Man. They are all strong enough (with years of history that will always remain unsoiled) to be interpreted in many different ways.

    If the show is not for you, just wait for the next iteration.

    Legends persist.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: Writing Links 2/13/17 – Where Genres Collide

  25. Couldn’t agree more! I gave the show a few weeks to be sure of what it was all about, then I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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