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When it comes to the wholesome gee-golly-ness of the good old days, few fictional characters are more representative than Archie Andrews, the redheaded womanizer first introduced to comic book readers in the 1940s. Over the years, the character and his Riverdale crew have seen some changes and innovations to the storylines, but Arrow producer Greg Berlanti is bringing what could be the strangest iteration of the material to a new TV drama series.
Called Riverdale, the project has landed at Fox (of all places), which granted the Warner Bros./Berlanti Prods. project a script commitment plus penalty. So it’s not like we can expect to watch Jughead pounding down malts soon, but Berlanti has a pretty solid track record as of late. I think it’s safe to get your letterman jackets ready.
According to Variety, the show will be set in the present and will add a subversive twist to the comic universe’s characters and settings. It will delve into the surreal undercurrent of Riverdale living, with “a requisite twist of ‘darkness and weirdness’ lurking beneath the town’s wholesome façade.” While it may very well look and feel nothing like a David Lynch film or series, I can’t help but get excited by the possibility.
We can expect to find Archie and his on-again, off-again romances with good girl Betty and socialite Veronica, along with rival and sometimes-friend Reggie Mantle. The crown-wearing Jughead Jones will be there – if they take his crown away, I’m causing a ruckus – and gay character Kevin Keller will make his live-action debut. Fans of the rock group Josie and the Pussycats will be pleased to know that they’ll also be making an appearance in the story.
The script will be written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a playwright whose TV work includes episodes of Glee and Big Love. As the chief creative officer of Archie Comics, he should be familiar to modern day fans for creating the zombie spinoff Afterlife with Archie, which adds a delightfully spooky twist, as well as the miniseries Archie Meets Glee.
For those who don’t know Berlanti by name, you’ll know his other comic adaptations. After creating shows like Everwood and directing 2010’s feature Life as We Know It, Berlanti created and wrote for The CW’s Arrow, which was recently spun off into The Flash, which the producer also had a hand in creating. Next up on his list is a small screen adaptation of Supergirl.
Archie is destined to take on Predator in the near future, and there’s been talk about bringing Afterlife with Archie to the big screen. But I’m all about getting this oddball take on Riverdale and its inhabitants in the meantime. Can we get Zach Galifianakis to play Mr. Weatherbee?