The problem with “Riverdale” in particular

By Robert Johnson Jr.

Archie Comics and The CW had a winner on their hands with “Riverdale,” the TV drama that takes its inspiration from the famed comic book township of the same name, adapting it for modern audiences in 2017 with a diverse cast of up-and-coming actors at the forefront.

With the writing talents of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – a man whose name is no stranger to this column – it became a bonafide smash hit, proving to audiences that a whodunnit story can still be fun and exciting for teenagers and college students looking for something to binge-watch on a weekend.

However, “Riverdale” has run into the same problem that many CW shows, like “Supernatural,” have stumbled  into in recent years: oversaturation.

If you read that last paragraph and thought, “Oversaturation? What is this Robbie guy talking about?!” 

I understand. Let me explain.

Season one of “Riverdale” runs on a simple premise: rising American football star Jason Blossom is killed on the Fourth of July, and his sister Cheryl is looking for answers to avenge her brother’s death and restore his honor.

That premise leads Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones, and Betty Cooper to find clues and interrogate anyone who could be directly responsible for Blossom’s murder – even if it means turning against each other in the long run.

At the end of that season, a major twist happens that directly leads into the events of season two – a twist that, if I were to write it here, would ruin one’s viewing experience greatly.

Now, this is a smart move on Aguirre-Sacasa’s part to get the viewers wrapped around the writing room’s finger – keep them hanging on for the five months between May 11 to Oct. 11, 2017 to find out the chilling conclusion of season one’s twist.

Season two is where viewers are introduced to another Archie Comics character, this time from their Dark Circle Comics imprint – the Black Hood, in the season’s third episode. From there, “Riverdale” went from a thrilling mystery about high-schoolers trying to find the murderer of their fellow student, to a story where assassinations and gang wars are the order of the day.

It doesn’t help that on Jan. 31, “Riverdale” got renewed for a fourth season.

Despite this announcement, “Riverdale,” to me, was perfect, up to season two. Anything after that is just Aguirre-Sacasa throwing things at a dartboard and hoping something sticks in the end.

Is it meaningful? Yes – he and his writing team are constantly doing what they can to expand the universe of the titular town, fleshing out the South Side Serpents as an organization and providing the familial avatars some backstory through flashback episodes, but when “Riverdale” is not doing precisely that, it’s not interesting.

The reason why I haven’t put in the work to catch up since the second episode of season two, is that I’m just not interested anymore.

I feel like the writers are dragging the series on too long, but that’s the curse of having a show on The CW in the era of “Supernatural,” which, might I add, has been going on since September 2005 – the curse of exorbitant demand.

Now, I don’t hate “Riverdale.” In fact, I don’t even dislike it. I just feel as if there’s no more that can be done for the series that makes sense. It has lost that initial edge – the stories are just not that gripping anymore. As of now, it is just a whole lot of gang nonsense.

Of course, that’s not going to stop me from watching the upcoming episode in which the students of Riverdale High tackle my favorite musical, “Heathers,” but that’s a column for another day.

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