Reasons You Should (And Shouldn’t) Watch Riverdale
It has taken no time at all for Riverdale to become television’s biggest teen series. Since its debut in early 2017 it has been one of the most buzzed about shows on TV and has already spawned two spinoffs with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Katy Keene. While there is no doubt about the show’s popularity and success, some have questioned the actual quality of the show while others have had a hard time continuing to watch for all of the seasons. Whether you are a Riverdale fan or simply wondering if the show is for you, here are 10 reasons why you should (and five reasons why you shouldn’t) watch the teen series:
15. Should: It’s Based on Archie Comics
One of the biggest draws of the series leading up to its premiere was the fact that it is based off the iconic Archie comics series. While there have been many iterations of the Archie Comics, Riverdale turned things a lot darker than fans were used to with the teens embroiled in a town of murder, drugs and darkness. Regardless for fans who grew up reading Archie, Riverdale is a way to see the iconic characters on screen for one of the first times — and in a very original way.
14. Should: Jughead Jones
Although all of the Archie Comics characters are great, one of the biggest surprises when Riverdale came to the small-screen was how quickly Jughead Jones outshone the biggest character, Archie Andrews. In the first season it was clear that Cole Sprouse was the most seasoned actor out of the teen characters and because of that he quickly became the most popular. In Riverdale, Jughead is so much more than the hamburger-eating, beanie-wearing best friend of Archie. Instead he is an intellectual writer with shocking maturity and sleuth skills for a teenager, not to mention incredibly charming which makes Jughead Jones one of the very best and biggest reason to watch Riverdale.
13. Shouldn’t: Not Enough High School
For those who enjoyed other The CW teen dramas like One Tree Hill, they might not enjoy Riverdale‘s complete detachment from the main stars actually being teens. They rarely attend high school and at the same time they definitely do not act their age. While every teen show has a considerable amount of romance and relationships, Riverdale seems to take it a little too far. The sexualization of the teen characters can get almost uncomfortable and if Veronica and Archie getting intimate literally at any given moment was bad enough than look no further than Betty’s striptease/song in season two episode eight that was performed in a biker bar for F.P.’s retirement party in front of her boyfriend, friends, parents and many middle-aged men. There are a lot of the aspects of the show that get ridiculous and it all starts with how easy it is to forget that these are supposed to be fifteen and sixteen-year-old high school students.
12. Should: It’s Inclusive
One of the best things about Riverdale is that it is inclusive without making a big deal about it. There are characters of all different races and sexualities and they are all so much more than their color or who they love. Kevin Keller was the show’s first outwardly gay character and hands down one of the best characters in general. Through Kevin the show tackled Moose’s struggle with his sexuality and Kevin’s own personal struggle as well, but there is never a shortage of romantic interests for Kevin because he isn’t the only gay character which is actually unusual. Then of course, one of the most beloved couples in the series are Cheryl Blossom and her girlfriend Toni, and the best part of Riverdale is it makes sure these relationships are just as important and on-screen as much as the heterosexual relationships.
11. Should: It’s Intriguing
There are a lot of varied opinions about the Riverdale storylines themselves but one undeniable reason in favor of tuning into the series is that they are intriguing. Every season has had a different mystery to solve but the twists and turns along the way are what keeps the fans tuning in week after week. The shocking secrets that come out in the midst of the bigger mystery constantly has audiences picking their jaws up off the floor and whether they are loving the storyline or not, fans have to know what is next and that keeps them watching.
10. Shouldn’t: Archie
It is difficult to say but one of the biggest downfalls of Riverdale is the main character himself, Archie Andrews. While KJ Apa is a great actor, Archie as a character has some serious limitations that has disappointed many who tuned in to see the redheaded hero. The first season of Riverdale really did a disservice to Archie Andrews because while his friends were dealing with some traumatizing and very shocking things in their lives, Archie was simply a guy who couldn’t figure out if he liked music or football better. While Archie has progressed over the seasons, he still makes the weirdest decisions and doesn’t seem to be on the same level as his peers and sometimes it is really hard to watch Riverdale with Archie as the alleged leader of the group and yet the guy that probably no one should follow.
9. Should: The Music
Archie’s music career storyline might have thrown a lot of people off, but the good news is it opened up for some fantastic music scenes in the show which have now progressed into entire musical episodes. The first season especially saw some great performances from Archie, Veronica and most importantly Josie and the Pussycats. Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy, Hayley Law as Valerie Brown, and Asha Bromfield rocked the first season with several performances and while the original Josie and the Pussycats transformed over time, Murray’s Ashleigh McCoy continued to deliver stellar performances at Veronica’s La Bonne Nuit and at major events in Riverdale. In addition, Veronica, Cheryl and more have all had some very impressive musical numbers that most definitely add another layer of entertainment to the series.
8. Should: The Cast
Although Cole Sprouse was definitely the shining light of the first season, there is no doubt that Riverdale has an outstanding cast that makes the series difficult not to watch. Lili Reinhart has taken the role of “girl-next-door” Betty Cooper and turned it into a character all of her own with a surprising dark side, a lot of strength and one of the characters who is most likely to get things done and not back down even in the weirdest or scariest of situations. Camila Mendes makes an amazing Veronica Lodge by adding empathy and kindness to the usually one-dimensional rich mean-girl that she comes across as in the comics. While Archie Andrews left a lot to be desired in the first season, it is impossible not to love Archie thanks to KJ Apa. One of Riverdale‘s greatest strengths is not only its core cast but its secondary characters who have carried storylines and helped even the strangest of events watchable.
7. Shouldn’t: Not Enough Secondary Characters
On the note of secondary characters, another downfall of the series is that the amazing recurring and guest stars do not get the screen time they deserve. With so many separate as well as intertwining storylines from various characters, Riverdale has still not mastered the best way to focus on its core characters while progressing the stories of many of the other characters which means fans don’t get nearly enough of Kevin Keller, Reggie Mantle, Fangs, Sweetpea and now the female gang the Pretty Poisons. There are many secondary characters that fans have become attached only to have them pushed aside which is frustrating in terms of character development, especially when it comes to Kevin.
6. Should: The Fashion
Like many other teen series it can be questioned if high school students actually dress the way that the ones in Riverdale do, but regardless they look really good. Apart from some killer dresses, heels, tops, letterman jackets and more, the level of thought that goes into each character’s wardrobe on the series is incredibly impressive. From Cheryl always donning her signature red color to Betty’s good-girl on the edge looks and of course Veronica’s high-class pearls, there is never a scene where the characters aren’t wearing outfits that not only look good, but have a lot to say about the individual — even Betty’s hairstyle can signal to fans if she is unleashing her Dark Betty side and it is all in the slightest of details in their styles and looks.
5. Should: The Parents
While the teenagers bring in a lot of drama, their parents aren’t much help. The parents are a great addition to the show and a big reason to watch especially because many of them are already beloved icons. Skeet Ulrich plays F.P. Jones the bad boy turned Riverdale town Sheriff and father of Jughead Jones. Meanwhile the late, great Luke Perry was the gracious and wisdom-filled Fred Andrews until his untimely death in 2019. In addition, Molly Ringwald has guest starred as Mary Andrews, Archie’s mother, Madchen Amick stars as Betty’s mother Alice, and most recently One Tree Hill alum Chad Michael Murray joined as Evelyn Evernever’s ‘”father” Edgar Evernever, the leader of The Farm. When the teenagers get a little too difficult to watch, the incredibly cast of parents picks things up for viewers.
4. Shouldn’t: The Parents Are Awful
While it is incredible to see so many beloved ’80s and ’90s stars taking on the role of the parents in Riverdale, there is also a major downside to them. Aside from the ever wonderful Fred Andrews, few of the parents have yet to actually act like functioning parents who truly care about their offspring. From Hal Cooper being the Black Hood and literally trying to kill his daughter and her friends, to Alice Cooper essentially abandoning Betty to join The Farm, and of course Penelope Blossom effectively unleashing Gryphons and Gargoyles on her own daughter and the other teens of Riverdale that led to several deaths, the whole show becomes a little too hard to watch. The ridiculousness of the teenage storylines can be forgiven but when the adults are attempting to harm or kill, or actually kill their own children in the case of Clifford Blossom, viewers’ frustration over Riverdale’s characters and their decision can certainly boil over and make the show extremely difficult to watch.
3. Should: Cheryl Blossom
Along with being inclusive, one of the best aspects of Riverdale is its strong female characters and while Betty and Veronica take center stage, special tribute has to be paid for Cheryl Blossom. Although her superior attitude would normally make her a character to dislike, there is no way to watch Riverdale and not admire Cheryl Blossom. Madelaine Petsch’s performance as the confident, smart, and fearless Cheryl Blossom has viewers cheering her on and her one-liners and responses are truly works of art. There is a surprise around every corner when it comes to Cheryl Blossom and she is a true bright spot when the ridiculous storylines or sometimes other annoying characters
2. Should: The “Ships”
Bughead, Varchie, and Choni have become commonplace terms among a certain demographic thanks to the popularity of the romances on Riverdale. Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones have stolen the show from the other romances thanks to Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse’s real-life relationship, but there are a lot of other romances to keep up with that keep audiences coming back despite incredibly awkward and sometimes downright ridiculous storylines.
1. Shouldn’t: The Storylines and Plot Holes
The writers of Riverdale have taken a lot of criticism over the first three seasons thanks to excruciatingly awkward lines and huge plot holes right in the middle of some already very confusing storylines. A lot that happens in Riverdale makes zero sense, and a lot is left without explanation as the storylines often take drastic twists and turns and seemingly disregard anything that has happened before. There are a lot of examples of where storylines went completely off the rails or just stopped making sense entirely and more than once Riverdale fans have had the urge to turn off the show and never pick it up. If outlandish and ridiculous storylines accompanied by an often lackluster script isn’t your thing than Riverdale most likely is not for you.