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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

Is Riverdale Downstream?

Words: Julia Stitely

The world of TV is expanding with more television shows, piquing people’s interest. 2017 brought us shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, GLOW, Legion and the new, popular CW show Riverdale. Riverdale, which caused massive buzz when it was first released, is entering into its second season. Many people and their grandmas have watched the show religiously, solving the mystery of Jason Blossom’s murder. Like every popular show, not everyone likes it. As more people watch it, more people find problems with the popular show.

One of the noticeable hatreds of the show are the differences from the original comics. The show is based on the 1939 Archie Comics. Many fans of the classic comics note that the show is “loosely” based on the comic, only having similarities with the names of characters and the town. Archie fans are angry with the lack of loyal source material. The contrast of the usual lightness of Archie comics and the darkness of the show is very noticeable. Other changes have included characters, one being Chuck Clayton. In the comics, he is a loveable cartoonist whose television counterpart is the total opposite, an athletic playboy.

Another famous change is to fan-favorite Jughead Jones. The controversy surrounding this character is not only because of his changed personality, but the change of his sexuality. Originally, in the comics, the hamburger lover identified as asexual. The creators and writers of Riverdale promised the fans that he was still asexual, but this became a lie in the finale of the first season. There is barely any representation in entertainment for people of his sexuality, and to have that gone from the show is awful.

With more and more shows being produced, more archetypes and plots are being overused. Riverdale is no exception to this. Viewers have seen the repeated cliches throughout the show, making it not stand out from other competing teen shows and movies. The love triangle has been tackled in things like Vampire Diaries and Hunger Games, and a murder mystery was taken from Pretty Little Liars. People have even noticed that there is a similar development of mean girl Cheryl Blossom to another redhead, Lydia Martin, from MTV’s Teen Wolf. The forbidden romance of Jughead and Betty was copied and pasted from Romeo and Juliet, which has been repeated multiple times in movies and television.

Even while taking cliches from other shows, Riverdale falls flat with its own plots. Many viewers, including fans of the show, disliked the ending of the first season, with the reveal of the murderer of Jason Blossom. They thought that it was anti-climatic and didn’t think the writers did well. Another part the show lacks is romance. There may be many hardcore fans that adore Bughead (Betty and Jughead) but they lacked development, suddenly getting together. The writing itself can be cheesy and lack a certain charisma at some points.

Now, am I saying that if you like this show you’re wrong? Of course not. We all have different opinions. You can love Riverdale, you can hate it, or you can be on the fence about it. People can separate the original source material from its adaptation while others can’t. Some can find annoyance with certain cliches and want something new, but others may like seeing the repetition of these plots and seeing what new things the writers can do with it. Viewers can ignore the cheesy dialogue and just enjoy it.

Do I think the show needs improvements? Of course. Nothing is perfect. Having a second season can allow Riverdale to improve some of its criticisms. They can develop the relationships more and the writing can improve. They can start new plots that will stray from classic tropes. We will see as the CW airs Riverdale episodes on Wednesdays.

The opinions stated in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the Wingspan staff as a whole.

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