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VANITY FAIR — Of all the new shows coming to the CW, the one stoking the most anticipation seems to be Riverdale, a dark TV adaptation of the long-running Archie comics. In a 2014 interview, back before the show moved from Fox to the CW, pilot writer and Archie Comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa even compared the show to Twin Peaks.

Given the details we’ve been able to tease out without having seen a trailer (which, feel free to deliver that anytime, CW), it’s easy to see why: like Twin Peaks, this show sounds absolutely bonkers. Here are a few things you can expect.

A MURDER MYSTERY

Like David Lynch’s masterpiece, it looks like at least the first season of Riverdale will focus on a murder. According to the show’s official synopsis, Riverdale begins with the titular town and high school “reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom.”

Jason was the twin brother of Cheryl Blossom, the town’s resident queen bee. (In the mode of all great TV queen bees before her, Cheryl is also hiding something—and it has to do with her brother’s death.) The trailer shown at the network’s upfront event (which has not yet been released to the public) reportedly featured the murder front and center: one couple apparently reacted to the news by saying, “I hope in his last moments he suffered.” Yeesh.

Laura Palmer, the murder victim in Twin Peaks, was also a complicated character. And as we found out throughout her murder investigation, basically no one in her seemingly quaint hometown was totally innocent. That seems to be the gist in Riverdale, too.

ARCHIE AND MS. GRUNDY

The synopsis also alludes to the “sudden end” of Archie’s “forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy.” Traditionally, Ms. Grundy has been presented in the comics as an elderly mathematics or English teacher; the actress playing her now is Sarah Habel, who is 33.

Needless to say, depending on how this relationship is handled, things could get dicey. Plenty of teen soaps, including Pretty Little Liars and Dawson’s Creek, have already depicted teacher-student relationships as glamorous and sexy—rather than predatory and wrong. We don’t need another one to join that club.

While the synopsis alludes to the couple’s “forbidden relationship,” it also notes that Archie will now be at a loss for a mentor. Turning one of the character’s classic mentors into an abuser is certainly one way to make Archie darker—but that’s a very precarious high-wire to tread. Executive producer Greg Berlanti tackled his share of thorny topics as the E.P. onEverwood, so let’s hope this show also manages to strike the right tone.

BETTY ON ADDERALL

It sounds like Archie’s sometime-girlfriend Betty is having a rough go in Riverdale, too. A description of the upfront trailer from ComicBook.com says her mother is “very controlling, and keeping her drugged to be ‘focused.’” Betty actress Lili Reinhart told Vulture that the drug in question is Adderall.

Interestingly, in the comics, Jason Blossom has traditionally had a crush on Betty, who remains—both in the comics and the new series—forever entangled in her Archie-centric love triangle with Veronica. And at one point, Veronica had feelings for Jason. Clearly this universe was meant to become a teen soap opera.

. . . ZOMBIES?

O.K., maybe not at first—or at all. But never say never! If we’re making a darker, grittierArchie show, we might consider basing it on Afterlife with Archie—a zombie-fied Archie tale that takes place in an alternate-universe version of Riverdale. (Basically, the apocalypse starts when Sabrina the Teenage Witch resurrects Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, who becomes a zombie and bites Jughead, starting the zombie apocalypse.)

Afterlife was penned by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also wrote Riverdale’s pilot. Coincidence?! I mean, maybe. But maybe not!


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Archie Andrews On The CW in 2017
A subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life - the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale's wholesome facade.
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