May 13, 2016

Teen Hunks and Teen Angst in the New Riverdale TV Series

Archie Andrews and his pals and gals at Riverdale High have been entertaining kids since 1942, mostly in comics, but there have been scattered tv series, movies, books, and songs ("Sugar, Sugar," by the Archies, hit the top of the pop charts in 1969).

There have even been some serious versions.

The Afterlife with Archie series (2013) brings a zombie apocalypse to Riverdale.

In a 2014 comic, an adult Archie is killed while heroically trying to save his buddy from an assassin's bullet.

The latest angst offering is Riverdale, an upcoming teen drama on the CW Network.

New Zealand actor K. J. Apa has signed on to play Archie Andrews, "an intense, conflicted teen" who is torn between romantic involvements, worried over his career goals, and head-butting with his father (former teen angst star Luke Perry) and football coach.

Former Disney Channel teen Cole Sprouse (left) plays Jughead, a "philosophically bent hearthrob" who has ended a long-term friendship with Archie.  A heartthrob?  Jughead?

At least they're upping the beefcake opportunities.

Lili Reinhart plays Betty, a wholesome girl-next-door who clashes with her mother (former teen angst start Madchen Amick) and is seduced by the glamour of her new best friend Veronica.

Corey Cott, star of Newsies on Broadway, plays "Openly Gay" Kevin Keller.

I don't know which one he is.  I hope they all show up in guest roles.

Camila Mendes plays Veronica, a sophisticated fashion plate recovering from a scandal involving her father.

Ashleigh Murray, Irie Hayleau, and Ashanti Bromfield play Josie and the Pussycats, a pop group that never interacted with Archie in the comics.

Madelaine Petsch plays Cheryl Blossom, a poor little rich girl who recently lost her twin brother in a mysterious accident.  The angst thickens.

Former Disney Channel teen Ross Butler (left) plays Reggie, Archie's long-time nemesis.

Daniel Yang plays class brain Dilton Doiley.

Looks like they're adding Asian representation.  But they've omitted the only black guy in the comics, aspiring cartoonist Chuck Clayton.

Cody Kearsley plays jock Moose Mason.

Most of the characters are in place, if tweaked a bit to add more drama.   But I'm wondering, would anyone notice the difference if we changed their names to Dawson, Joey, Jen, and Pacey, or Dylan, Brandon, Donna, and Kelly?

What makes this series about our Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, and Dilton, the amiable, fun-loving teens that we all grew up with?

See also: Dylan and Cole Sprouse; Luke Perry; Veronica and Betty are Going Steady