SDCC: ‘Riverdale’ Pilot Review

Now all of you know that I live for a messy teen drama, counting Gossip Girl among my fave shows and making it through seasons of Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, 90210, and countless others. I should be above all else a member of the target audience for the new CW show Riverdale. Which it’s why it pains me to say that I thought that this pilot wasn’t very good and if it’s truly indicative of the series over all, we might be in for much disappointment.

We got to screen the full 47 minute pilot and though I could review it traditionally, I won’t. In part because I am still mulling over, I am going to just give some quick impressions.

The Good
1. Well, it was fun to see updated versions of the classic characters. The actors seem like they are having a good time with their characters and I was particularly taken with Lili Reinhart‘s take on Betty.

2. One thing I will give this pilot credit for is that by the end of it you fully understand all of the key relationships and the stakes and that’s so crucial for a pilot to have. Since I wasn’t a fan of the pilot, I can at least see the show has a foundation for potential improvement.

3.They are going for a Twin Peaks type aesthetic and I will say that they have nailed it in a way that doesn’t feel like they ripped off the show completely (unlike some other things).

4. Riverdale proves my theory about how you can’t found a good relationship when one partner enters into it with more feelings than the other. Too bad I’m not around to tell Betty that pursuing Archie, even in her timid and awkward way, is a no go. I hope and pray they use the final moment with Archie and Betty to kick her character in gear to be more concerned about herself and her wants.

The Bad
1. Despite the fact that I laughed at a few (the teen Outlander joke made me cackle), there are just way too many pop culture jokes and references. Listening to these kids talk often felt so suffocating cause every other word was a reference to something. I wish they trusted the actors to deliver better lines. I want the writers to go watch this past season of American Crime to see how you can have heightened tension and realistic dialogue.

The Ugly
1. The pacing of this show could use some tightening. The pilot doesn’t feel shapeless but there are certain scenes and moments that bump against each other.

2. Sexuality. This is probably because the pilot is forced to paint people in broad strokes but Kevin, Betty’s gay best friend, doesn’t get much to do other than be the GBF. Nothing wrong with a flamboyant and out character, but is that all there is to him? Also another annoying thing was SPOILER ALERT having Veronica kiss Betty during cheerleading tryouts in an attempt to show “fire” to the school’s queen B. Like what? lol this was so dumb. I much preferred the Veronica take down that occurred after this moment.

3. Character Motivations/Backstory. I want to know why on God’s green earth the show decided to give everybody such a packed life in the pilot Like Archie wants to play music, doesn’t want to work for his father, wants to play football, is now balancing two girls, and is struggling with the fact he slept with a teacher over the summer and they probably have a clue to the central murder…all of that in the pilot! My god. The teacher thing in particular casts a weird pall over the show, although there’s potential if they want to get into the messiness of female teachers sleeping with boys. I also think the pilot failed to walk the line between giving characters realistic weaknesses and DRAMATIC ones.

Favorite Lines
Kevin: “Is being a cheerleader still a thing?”
SOMEONE: “Is being the gay best friend still a thing?”

Veronica: “My specialty is ice”

Archie: “I’ve never been good enough for you” fuck you archie! lol

Select References to Archie
“Justin gingerlake”
“Red headed hansel elgort”
Veronica: “Hey Teen Outlander…”
Kevin: “Omg Archie got hot!”

One thought on “SDCC: ‘Riverdale’ Pilot Review

  1. Thank you for being one of the few to point out how much work this show is gonna need to make it. The Kevin characterization is one of the things almost everyone is complaining about, and I liked him so much in the comics. Ugh.

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