Archie Comics’ Subversive ‘Riverdale’ TV Series Debuts in 2017

"Riverdale" artwork by Veronica Fish

The CW has announced that Riverdale, a new series adapted from Archie Comics, will debut midseason. The live-action teen drama is being described as “Archie meets Twin Peaks,” and if the synopsis is any indication, it’s a pretty accurate description:

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 Andrews is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that 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. Which means Archie doesn’t have anyone who will mentor him—certainly not singer Josie McCoy, who is only focused on her band, the soon-to-be-world-famous Pussycats. It’s all weighing heavily on Archie’s mind—as is his fractured friendship with budding writer and fellow classmate Jughead Jones. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves—which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice—aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge, arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione, there’s an undeniable spark between her and Archie, even though Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty by making a play for Archie. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom. Riverdale’s Queen Bee is happy to stir up trouble amongst Archie, Betty, and Veronica, but Cheryl is keeping secrets of her own. What, exactly, is she hiding about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there are dangers in the shadows…

They had us at the forbidden affair with Ms. Grundy, but this is a surprising departure for the formerly squeaky-clean Archie, which has always been an idealistic take on small town teens. Archie Comics, led by co-CEOs John Goldwater and East Hampton’s Nancy Silberkleit, recently relaunched most of their comics with a more modern art style and sensibility. The late Stan Goldberg, a longtime East Ender, did art for the historic Archie Marries miniseries, which showed what would happen if the title character married either Betty or Veronica.

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