Riverdale: Is it worth the hype?


Havana Garrett, Reporter

The screen fades from black and the scene is set, a diner in a small town followed by a voiceover describing how our characters have spent their summer working or going swimming. The camera flickers and we are soon watching as the boy next door takes the stand. This isn’t a show about a love triangle and a small town mystery anymore. This is something much darker.

Riverdale’s storyline is exponentially decreasing in flavor and creativity. Season 1 was beautifully crafted, from the camera-work that focused on details and painted a gorgeous picture, to the outfits and makeup that clearly articulated every characters personality without being oversteryotyped. Season 2 was a little less cinematic, a captivating storyline ensued, but there were a few episodes where the storyline went stale and was instead filled with conversations about mobs and gangs, as well as the financial aspects of this leading to some very boring stories. Season 3 is the least cinematic at all, and overall the most disappointing thus far. It’s almost as if the writers drew three words from a hat and tried to make a story out of it. “Ah let’s see! Dungeons and dragons, seizures, and cults!” Throw in some floating babies, an adderall addiction, and bam you’ve got season 3 episode 1.

Not only has the story gone from a small town mystery surrounding one murder, but it has increased to a small town dealing with the issues of gangs in the suburbs, teenagers owning a gambling ring, drugs modeled after candy, and the triumphs of almost every girl having to deal with the knowledge that her father and mother have killed at least one person each. The show is trying to fit seven storylines into a forty minute episode and using too much time to show off KJ Apa (Archie) and his boxing skills, and not any time to explore this seasons mystery. Also incest. This show has so much incest, not portrayed in a sexual way, but more of a “everyone’s related” kind of way, as every teen drama ever at some point pulls, very original.

The absolute garbage storylines and putrid writing leads me to wonder what goes on in the writers room and whether they know that  nobody thinks the storyline is good. The entire early storyline of season three involves drinking cyanide tainted Kool-Aid, which is an obvious homage to the Jonestown Massacre, and centers around a cult called ‘the farm.’

Long gone is the campy mystery of Jason Blossom’s death. Now the only thing remotely close to campy is when a gang of teenagers went camping. One of Riverdale’s most beloved characters, Jughead, has been completely ruined by hasty writing that sounds as if it came out of an angry teenagers diary in the late 1990’s, from “i’m the damaged loner outsider from the wrong side of the tracks” to “With every kiss and embrace they seemed to say, you have no power over me, death.”

Another terrific example of the horrendous writing is when an inmate announces that he dropped out of school in the fourth grade due to having to sell drugs and Archie responds with

“Then you haven’t known the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high school football.”

While Riverdale is overall a sad excuse for a mystery, it’s unintentional comedy can make it almost bearable. While the past season has been an absolute disaster there’s still time for this show to live up to the potential we saw in season one. And despite my previous comments, I have been watching since the beginning, and I still tune in every Wednesday to see what’s going on in this small town with big secrets.