Comic adaptations have been taking television by storm in recent years. The CW has created an empire of DC properties by this point. Still, the latest CW comic venture won’t be set in the same world as Oliver Queen and Barry Allen. The Archie-inspired show Riverdale will draw characters from the classically lighthearted comic series for a darker story. Not too much has been known about the specifics of the Riverdale plot, and we’ve mostly been going off of casting announcements. Now, The CW has released the plot synopsis for the series, and it’s absolutely bonkers:
As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom – and nothing feels the same. Archie (KJ Apa) is still the All-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize he wants to pursue a career in music – not follow in his dad’s footsteps – despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy.
As of now, Riverdale looks more like an intriguingly unholy union between Dawson’s Creek and Twin Peaks than an adaptation of an idyllic small town in which the problems of the local teens are mostly funny romps into high school life. Archie Andrews sounds distinctly broodier than his on-page predecessor, and the forbidden affair with a teacher is definitely something that never happened in comic Riverdale.
Some things will be remaining somewhat the same. Just as comic Archie seemed perpetually stuck between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge as love interests, TV Archie will have the two girls hanging around. In this adaptation, Betty will be a girl next door who has gone a whole summer without seeing her crush Archie, who is unaware of her feelings for him. Veronica shows up from New York to catch Archie’s eye, which threatens to get in the way of her developing friendship with Betty. The CW will clearly be adding another love triangle to its roster if Riverdale proves to be a fit for the network.
The plot gets twisted even further when it turns out that the death of Jason Blossom wasn’t all that it seemed. His twin sister Cheryl is keeping a big secret that could have dangerous implications for the citizens of Riverdale. Of course, no matter how many things change and get way darker, no Archie-based series would work without Jughead Jones. In this adaptation, Jughead is an aspiring writer whose friendship with Archie has fractured. The drama between friends evidently isn’t going to be limited to the ladies.
The serious Dawson’s Creek vibe underlying what seems to be a murder plot shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Greg Berlanti is on board Riverdale as an executive producer. He’s been a part of hit comic shows ranging from Arrow in 2012 to Legends of Tomorrow in 2016, but he got his big start as a writer and producer on Dawson’s Creek. Pacey may not have been murdered – after all, he needed to live long enough to have an affair with his teacher – but Betty/Archie/Veronica in Riverdale sounds an awful lot like Joey/Dawson/Jen from Dawson’s Creek.
Only time will tell if Riverdale turns out to be a show worth watching on The CW. To see what series you can watch while Riverdale is still in development, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.