The recent TV show, Riverdale, on the CW is a supposed interpretation of the classic Archie comic book series. But if you’ve ever watched the show, you may be wondering how on earth it can even claim roots in one of the most classic and family-friendly comic books of all time. Here are some of the things that Riverdale got right (and wrong) about the Archie comics.

The characterizations

The four core characters in the Archie comics: Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead – are all represented in the video series. Archie is the protagonist, although a much buffer, popularized version than the comic books (and his red hair is much more muted). Betty lives up to her blonde, “good-girl” status from the comics. And Veronica definitely maintains more of a sultry, brunette allure, although her rich status is definitely played up in the TV series. Although it’s worth noting that the TV series portrays Veronica and Betty as friends, as opposed to enemies and rivals as they are throughout the comic book series.

Jughead becomes much more of a main character in the TV series, and (like many TV characters) is made to be more attractive, and sexy, which is not the case at all in the comic books. In fact, Jughead becomes a narrator of sorts in the TV series, and becomes a brooding loner, as opposed to a source of comic relief as he is in the original comic books? But what good would a teen TV drama be without heightened levels of brooding and sexiness?

One thing that’s missing, or at least significantly downplayed in the CW series is the characterization of “Reggie,” who is much more in the foreground of the comic books. Josie and the Pussycats also make an appearance in the CW show, and it’s probably only a matter of time before we see a Sabrina crossover as well.

One character, Cheryl Blossom, who’s the resident head cheerleader and Queen Bee at Riverdale High, is very prominent in the TV series, but she’s definitely not as well known in the comics, has been a more recently introduced character. The same can be said for the character of Kevin, who plays the openly gay best friend character in both the comics and the TV show, but is a more recent introduction.

The love relationships

The CW series, “Riverdale,” does a great job of nailing the Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle. Despite the ups and downs of the storyline, there is a constant back and forth between these three characters. First, Betty likes Archie, but he sees her as just a friend. Then Veronica comes to town and things heat up between Veronica and Archie, and on and on it goes. The dating rollercoaster continues, and we never know which way it will turn next.

One thing that’s definitely different about the CW series is the relationship between Betty and Jughead. The CW takes advantage of the classic good girl meets bad boy trope and pairs the two together. In general, Jughead takes on a much more mysterious allure, heading up the town of Riverdale’s local motorcycle gang, The Serpents (which is nowhere to be found in the comic book series). He’s usually found wearing a leather jacket (and a unique beanie-interpretation of his telltale crown in the comic books) and drinking black coffee while working on his book.

The setting

In general, the setting of “Riverdale” is a much darker, more dramatic setting than the happy-go-lucky backdrop of the Archie comics. But this is to be expected, and was, in fact, how the show was originally advertised. Much different from the comic series, Riverdale features a number of dark and brooding plot lines, including murder, gang violence, and more.

A true translation of the Archie Comics to a TV medium would likely not be as successful as “Riverdale” is proving to be: it’s a matter of knowing which characterizations, plot lines, tropes, and creative interpretations work well within each medium, and playing them up. If you can appreciate the TV show for what it is, a creative departure from the original comic books, with few true similarities other than borrowing character aspects, you may find it enjoyable in its own unique way.

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The recent TV show, Riverdale, on the CW is a supposed interpretation of the classic Archie comic book series. But if you’ve ever watched the show, you may be wondering how on earth it can even claim roots in one of the most classic and family-friendly comic books of...