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The CW’s dark horse hit, Riverdale, which clawed its way back to TV for a second season after a mere five month hiatus, is a cluster**** of drama, romance, and murder garnished with sarcastically relevant dialogue and backlit by a smattering of vintage-y muted neon. In other words, Riverdale is everything that shouldn’t work together…working together in a way that is so wrong, yet oh so right. In a world where cable TV often seems like a wasteland littered with reboots and spin offs (and on occasion a totally original show), Riverdale is a uniquely original and totally welcome addition.

Through a lens darkly

The characters may be familiar, most likely because you’ve caught a passing glimpse of an issue of Archie out of the corner of your eye at the grocery store checkout, but every other element found within the series is its own brand of satisfyingly strange. The concept itself, a dark interpretation of a beloved and squeaky-clean American comic book series, is really quite odd. Or at least it seems pretty weird until you see the show doing its thing and suddenly you can’t look away…even if you tried.

I can’t conjure up instances where comic book Archie and his friends dabble in situations that involve biker gangs, cougar teachers, or dead bodies.

Riverdale features the wholesome foursome (Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Archie himself) and a handful of other personalities (Cheryl Blossom is the only other person who matters), but it’s not (most) grandmother’s kind of production in regards to subject matter. In other words – I can’t conjure up instances where comic book Archie and his friends dabble in situations that involve biker gangs, cougar teachers, or dead bodies.

Socially aware and stylistically bold

The ambiguous nature of place and time in Riverdale places the show in an entirely different dimension where classic collides with pop culture on an episode to episode basis.

The costuming is a constant mishmash of #ThrowbackThursday: 50’s Edition and Forever 21,  and at times it’s disorienting. Mostly, it’s just weirdly awesome. Each installment is hair scarf, pearls, booty shorts, and beanies galore, but the cast is so attractive that there’s no room to complain. Riverdale isn’t a period piece by any means, but it does a fantastic job of both melding and muddling the line that separates the past and the present. The ambiguous nature of place and time in Riverdale places the show in an entirely different dimension where classic collides with pop culture on an episode to episode basis.

As younger generations yearn for the simplicity and aesthetic of days gone by and at the same time are always racing to catch up with fleeting trends, the only way to satisfy the masses is to marry the two. It’s a marriage that surely seems headed for a messy divorce at first, but everyone involved in the world of The CW’s Riverdale proves time and time again that the marriage is a happy one to say the least.

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