Riverdale, The CW
The premise: Riverdale is modern take on the midcentury comic Archie. It features the whole gang, Archie (KJ Apa), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Betty (Lili Reinhardt) and Veronica (Camila Mendez). However, this version of the well-known character is far from the squeaky clean paradigm we’re used to. Because it’s The CW, there are a lot of very good looking young folks giving each other a lot of sex eyes, but there’s a lot more than the smoldering sexual tension that wafts off the screen. This version of Archie is dark and gritty, and feels more Twin Peaks than Leave it to Beaver. Its neo-noir vibes make it feel far older and wiser than its years, and the “whodunnit” aspect is a nice touch to keep you invested in the weird town.
Much to my delight, the show doesn’t just focus solely on the kiddos. Luke Perry, the one and only, plays Archie’s dad, Fred. Fred’s bald and paunchy no more, and Perry brings all of his face acting to the part. Also, Molly Ringwald (yup, Molly herself), makes an appearance as Archie’s mom. Even better, Skeet Ulrich plays the brooding, rugged FP Jones, Jughead’s tortured outlaw dad.
Why you’ll love it: On its surface, it’s got a lot of convenient eye candy. Apa as Archie provides the square jaw and broad shoulders we need from a teen melodrama, but it’s got more teeth than that. Once you get beyond all the beautiful folks, you’ll realize the show is smartly written and beautifully shot and it will keep you completely enthralled from start to finish.
How to watch: You can watch all thirteen episodes on The CW’s website or app, and on Netflix.