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If there's one sleeper hit of 2016, it's The CW's teen mystery drama Riverdale. Based off of the beloved characters and settings of Archie Comics, the series flips normal conceptions of the characters on its head for this dark and ultra stylized telling of murder and mystery. While the first season revolved around the interpersonal dynamics of the town in the wake of Jason Blossom's murder, Season 2 went in a different direction. A mysterious hooded killer was in town, and the show became focused on solving who it could be. And with the killer seemingly revealed, it looks like the back half of the season will go back to the show's roots. Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa teased this recently, saying:
This seems like a great change to make, allowing Riverdale to not end up becoming some stale murder mystery show. Because while those aspects of the series are exciting and make it binge-able, the characters' interpersonal relationship are what Riverdale was founded on, and what originally got fans involved during Season 1.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's comments to EW seem to indicate that the folks behind Riverdale are being cautious not to jump the shark early in the show's run. Because if mysterious murders just kept popping up every few episodes, one would have to wonder why anyone stayed in the town with pep. And with two murder mysteries solved in the show's first season and a half, Riverdale needs to decide what type of series it's really going to be. Is it just about solving crimes, or does the show also focus on the kids and parents who make up the titular town?
While Jason Blossom's disappearance and subsequent was certainly a major plot point in Riverdale's early episodes, the series also put a ton of stock in the interpersonal issues of its starring cast. The parents of the town had a long history together, and seem to always be hiding information from their teenage children. Then there's the drama with the kids themselves, who are all attempting to act more adult than they truly are. Their high school issues are usually punctuated with moments of kindness, with the kids mostly choosing to look out for each other-- even the unlikeable characters like Cheryl Blossom.
Shifting the focus back on interpersonal issues when Season 2 of Riverdale returns will allow the characters to continue to grow and develop. Then, when another inevitable murder mystery pops up, the way they handle themselves should be different than their first two goes at vigilante detective work.