Belle: Betty and Veronica
The smartest thing this show could’ve done was put the focus less on Archie and more on one of the core friendships in all of comics: Betty and Veronica. Lili Reinhart and Camilla Mendes are Betty and Veronica. They give these characters life, heart and humor while also showing there is more to them than we ever thought. Whether it’s Betty’s ongoing (unspoken) mental issues and all the, very real, pressure put on her to be perfect in every way or Veronica’s world weariness as she attempts to be better in the face of the consequences of her father’s business dealings, Betty and Veronica feel like actual teenagers, not just cultural icons. They are the heart of the show and the reason so many of us tune in week after week.
Doug: Fred Andrews
Despite his stresses and his occasional foibles in dealing with Hermione (don’t get involved with a criminal’s wife, dude), Fred seems like the only parent in the entire town of Riverdale who’s trying to hold on to some sense of decency. He’s always looking out for Archie, and he’s even done things to help his son’s friends. It takes a certain kind of person to have that much integrity when everything around you seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket.
Adam: The Pussycats.
Seriously, those girls seem like the least complicated people on the show. Sure, Josie is under her own pressures, and has a lot to live up to her mom as the mayor and her father as a famous musician, but overall they’re just good kids. They’ve put on some great performances so far and, while every other kid on this show is a hot mess, the Pussycats are exceedingly normal, and that’s refreshing.
Belle: Too Many Characters/Storylines
As much as I enjoy a good side plot/mystery there were too many random characters/storylines shoved into the series for the limited 12 episodes we received. It felt like characters such as Moose, Reggie, Josie and many, many others were introduced so that all the boxes of Archie Comics characters could be ticked off. Josie literally disappeared for almost five episodes for no apparent reason while Reggie hasn’t been seen since Veronica used him to make a point with her mother.
Of the excess storylines the only two that have real meat are the Ethel storyline, which expanded on the fallout of Hiram Lodge’s financial shenanigans and the on the ground impact they have; and the Chuck one, which touched on the real world issues of bullying and slut shaming and truly began to show just how deep Betty’s issues went. Both of these worked together well and brought the entire cast into play in a smart way. Hopefully going forward the show will tighten up the other threads similarly.
From the moment the whole “Who killed Jason Blossom” arc started, I could immediately tell that one of the Blossoms had pulled the trigger. The story arc also seemed to just go nowhere sometimes, and it was almost as if the writers were scrambling to tie things up at points. The problem with this scrambling is that a lot of other things started to feel ancillary (the Archie/Grundy thing, for instance).
Adam: Everyone’s a suspect!
The show had a repetitive pattern early on where each week, we had a new suspect for Jason’s killer. It was Cheryl. Then it was Jughead. Then it was FP. And Fred Andrews. I’m all for process of elimination, but the constant teasing-and-pulling-back got very frustrating. It’s OK to let a mystery linger while still coming up with some new plots.
Belle: The Parents of Riverdale
I don’t know what’s in the water of Riverdale but the parents of this town are varying shades of insane. Seriously, when only the separated Fred and Mary Andrews and the career criminal F.P. Jones put their children’s welfare and mental health above their own, you are absolutely a terrible parent. Even Hermione, who I adore and who is one of the most down to earth heiresses I’ve ever seen, is made of fail as the season goes into its finale. Between lying to herself, her child, attempting to manipulate Fred in some vain attempt to appease the absent Hiram, and other awful behavior she undoes all the goodwill she’s gained throughout the season in just a few scenes.
Doug: The Blossoms.
Seriously…what the HELL is wrong with that family?? Maybe so much incest has scrambled their brains to the point that they all envision themselves as members of some twisted aristocracy. Frankly, they all have some serious, incestuous mental illness. I mean, seriously… Cheryl’s attempted suicide felt like she just wanted to bump uglies with her brother Jason in the afterlife. *shudder*
Adam: Hiram Lodge
Hiram is the ugly…but in a good way. He’s the unseen terror. He’s like Voldemort–often absent, but everyone is piss scared of him.
Also: incest. Incest everywhere. Even when there wasn’t explicit incest (Polly and Jason being distant cousins–so what?), there was implied incest all over the place, and the show should have either just come out and admitted to it or just not gone there at all.
These are our thoughts on Riverdale Season One, what are yours? Did you enjoy it? Or are you going to binge this weekend and see what all the fuss is about? Let us know in the comments and join us on Twitter with the hashtags #InDaDale and #Riverdale!