TV Review: “Riverdale” – High Quality Trash

Written by Danielle Sing June 15, 2017

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What is Riverdale? Where did it come from? And who thought it was a good idea? And did that person know their idea was brilliant? I got forced into watching Riverdale by friends, and I did not sleep that night, too caught up between binge-watching and wondering why I was even watching this series. I could not better summarize Riverdale than my friend did: “It’s high quality, addicting and extra, but it’s trash.”

Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) moves to Riverdale after an eventful summer in the small town, including the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). After Jason’s body is found and suspicions of murder arise, everyone in town becomes a suspect and their secrets are exposed. Not even close friends Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) seem to survive the secrets that haunt this town.

“But did you love him maybe in ways a sister shouldn’t love a brother?”

Riverdale is on complete opposites of the same spectrum. It’s somehow great and terrible at the same time. But I prefer to give good news first. For The CW Network, the production quality for Riverdale is amazing. Now, quality across all CW shows has been increasing in the past years, but Riverdale seems to have some serious weight (and money) behind it. They got Molly Ringwald to guest star on the series and gave some actors their first big roles – notably Mendes. Also, I applaud them for being original with the source material. No one would expect Riverdale would be the show we got based on the Archie comics, but what an excellent twist it is.

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No one wanted an exact retelling of the Archie comics. Do we really want this?

 

There is one thing that is so bad it’s good, and that’s the drama. It feels so MTV that I’m surprised it’s not an episode of The Real World. The drama is so predictable, stereotypical and utter trash, but that’s what hooks people onto the series. The audience knows what’s going to happen before it happens, but we have to watch the next episode to confirm we’re right. My friend even correctly guessed the opening line to the season finale. Riverdale is that predictable but it is so addicting that I’m not even ashamed to admit it.

“I’m the damaged, loner outsider from the wrong side of the tracks. Betty, come on, who are we kidding?! We’re on borrowed time.”

Above is a perfect example of the worst thing about Riverdale, the dialogue. The dialogue is so unrealistic for teenagers, it sounds like a midday soap opera mixed with Downton Abbey. I cannot believe that even the rich characters in the series, namely Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), would speak that way. The most believable dialogue from any of them is from minor character Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) but he’s also the stereotypical ‘gay-best-friend’ character and the dialogue is not original. Not only is the dialogue unbelievable, it’s just terrible. Jughead’s quote from above is one of the cringiest lines of dialogue I’ve ever seen on television. It’s an attempt to emulate Romeo & Juliet with a splash of everyone’s emo phase in high school. The dialogue is unbelievable, inorganic and awful.

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As much as I want to slap the writer across the face for their awful dialogue, Riverdale’s overall quality is quite good, if you can get past the ridiculously predictable but addicting drama. It’s best to think of Riverdale as a guilty pleasure. You want no one to know you watch it, yet will talk about it with anyone. Riverdale is on the same level as Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf for me. It’s trash but in the best way possible.

My Rating: 7/10

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