Riverdale takes a modern twist on classic Archie comics, provides diversity while tackling tough topics

Sam Casey, sports co-editor

Remember the Archie Comics? The franchise got a new reboot with the Riverdale series. The comic books, falling out of popularity, attempted to modernize their brand with more diverse characters and a new television series, named after the town the comics are set in. Riverdale is the CW network’s new hit series that you’ve been looking for since the end of “Gossip Girl.”

This series follows a lot of the same characters from the Archie Comics and is centered around, you guessed it, high school sophomore Archie Andrews. Andrews is a varsity football player and aspiring musician played by K.J. Apa, and his character is edgy and brooding, just like the whole series.

The show starts off with the mysterious disappearance and death of the Riverdale Captain of water polo, Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) when he was out in the woods with his twin sister, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). Archie’s striking red hair bears a resemblance to the late Jason Blossom, which seems to affect people’s perception of Archie.

Archie’s best friend, the goody-goody Betty Cooper, played by Lili Reinhart, is struggling with her extremely overbearing mother. Betty befriends the new girl, Manhattan socialite Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) who moves to Riverdale with her socialite mother after her father was jailed for fraud. Cole Sprouse also makes a return to TV with his role of Jughead, the quiet writer who documents all that happens in the town of Riverdale.

What is so refreshing about Riverdale is it’s diversity and its inclusion of difficult topics. There are many African-American characters and Josie, the lead of the town’s popular band “Josie and the Pussycats” even scolds Archie for his white privilege after he asks them to help him write songs. Archie even concedes to her point. There is also an openly gay character, Kevin Keller, played by Casey Cott. Furthermore, the series discusses mourning, mental illness, sexual harassment, bullying and overbearing mothers that induce stress and force adderall prescriptions on their children. Interracial couples are also portrayed in the show.

It is so crucial that these topics are covered and interracial couples are shown on television because it helps to break down the stigmas that surround them.

Riverdale is a more authentic version of Pretty Little Liars because it gives the audience more information and the ability to solve the mystery. Unlike Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale is more open to male viewers because it does not have that stereotypical “girly” feel to it. While Pretty Little Liars focuses more on the girls’ relationships and less on mystery, Riverdale has more of a variety of storylines. It provides more context regarding the mystery and less emphasis on the drama and relationships.

The CW has been recently opting out of airing high school based TV shows and has instead moved towards more mature shows such as Jane the Virgin, Arrow and Supernatural. Riverdale seems to be the CW’s last ditch effort to bring a coming of age show to the network. Despite the high school setting, the maturity of the actors and topics covered in addition to the 1950’s aesthetic of the Riverdale town makes this show appealing to people out of high school as well.

Some things that happen in the Riverdale school and social setting seem a bit unrealistic and unrelatable to most high school students; however, this is true for the majority of shows that depict high school. This season of Riverdale wrapped up on March 9, proving to be an enticing and enigmatic show.