The first trailer for the upcoming CW series “Riverdale” was released this week — and you might be hard-pressed to know the show is based on the innocent “Archie” comics.
“Archie” is the decades-old comic that has often adorned the checkout aisles of grocery stores. Created in 1941 by Bob Montana, the teenager Archie Andrews became a wildly popular character, known for his innocent and relatable stories about boyhood crushes, bullies, and simply growing up.
The character has long been a sharp contrast to what normally passes through the splashy pages of comics — the crime-fighting Batman, the world-saving Superman, etc. In the ’70s and ’80s, the Archie character was even licensed to Spire Christian Comics to tell stories promoting faith and Christian morals. Now, Archie and his pals have gotten a 21st-century reboot with “Riverdale,” which has evolved the once-awkward Archie and his innocent world into one of murder, shirtless teens, and weird incidents.
“It’s definitely ‘Archie,’ but a little darker, a little more complex, and a little weirder than you might remember from the digest you bought at the supermarket,” creator and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly about the reboot at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con.
The new evolution of “Archie,” which casts K.J. Apa as a very different and far less awkward Archie, has many people turning their heads and talking. Even The Huffington Post called the new show a “dark makeover” — while GQ called the new trailer “uncomfortably sexy” for the “Archie” world.
The characters in today’s “Archie” comics are almost unrecognizable.
And in a “positive” review of the pilot episode, which was screened ahead of time at July’s San Diego Comic Con, Wired said, “The show’s biggest success might be the way it takes the familiar-seeming, deceptively cozy titular town and debauches it ever so slightly.”
The new “Archie” iteration should come as little surprise in 2016. The innocence of the original comics is something long gone in media — especially on television, where shows now rely on increasing sex and violence to fight for remaining viewers.
Even the “Archie” comic has been rebooting itself over the last few years as it does anything it can to try to keep up with the fast-moving culture and cutthroat comic-selling world. Writers have done everything from having Archie fight zombies — 2013’s “Afterlife with Archie” — to giving a recent slick, modern-day reboot where the characters are almost as unrecognizable to the original incarnation as that of the upcoming TV series.
“Riverdale” premieres in January, and with its new “Twin Peaks”-like vibe and modern updates, the “Archie” the world knew and loved for decades is likely long gone. However — there are always back issues.