I didn’t mean to watch Riverdale, really. But I was having a boring day at work and my boss had offered me her Netflix password so I could check things out, and just like that, Riverdale was waiting for me.
At first, I just could not believe my eyes. I was witnessing a weird Dawson’s Creek remake with a crime drama twist, and Lord knows how I love Dawson’s Creek. You might not know it, but Dawson’s Creek was THE teenage television series in the 90s, way before One Tree Hill, Teen Wolf and company.
Honestly, I could probably write a whole essay on the similarities between Dawson’s Creek and Riverdale. Everything’s there: the sexy newcomer girl moving from New York to a small town (Jen Lindley/Veronica Lodge), the cute girl-next-door hopelessly in love with her best friend (Joey Potter/Betty Cooper), the outcast having a difficult relationship with his dad (Pacey Witter/Jughead Jones), the gay friend (Jack/Kevin), the rich and powerful family and more! If we compare scenes and situations, there’s another long list to add: a beloved cinema closing its doors (the Rialto/the drive-in), the teenage boy/teacher forbidden relationship, the ladder leading to one character’s bedroom,…
Dawson’s Creek was a precursor in its time (the show was the first prime time tv series to broadcast a full homosexual kiss between two men!), and while I don’t think we can say the same for Riverdale, it does tackle some modern and relevant issues: slut shaming, mental health, racism (although very little), etc.
Talking about people of color, can we mention Josie and the Pussycats? The girls’ band famous in Riverdale took its name from a popular comic book series, but also from the classic 2001 movie of the same name, starring Rachael Leigh Cook – an icon in the 90s! Add to that Luke Perry, previously starring in 90210 (the original, not the remake!) and you clearly see in Riverdale an ode to 90s pop culture. The special guest appearance of 80s teenage movie queen Molly Ringwald might have made me scream a little!
Enough with the comparisons though. Despite all this, Riverdale can stand alone proudly. Sure, the actors seem a bit amateur, but hey, we all start somewhere. Some will argue that the show is simply too full of clichés and stereotypes, and it is indeed, so much it burned my retinas… But it’s also what makes it so great at the same time. I truly couldn’t get enough, and 13 episodes isn’t too much to binge on, right? Beware though: the season ends with the most hectic and scream-inducing cliffhanger.
And since I crush on a character in literally every show I watch, I’ll leave you with Jughead – although his dad isn’t bad either!