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?