During one’s Spring Break, there’s only so much you can do. Going on a holiday, having a major Spring cleaning session, retreating to the peace and quiet of your parents’ house, arranging stuff for life-changing events (such as graduating university and moving to a big city where they have building with more than 8 floors) and binge-watching Netflix. My Spring Break has so far been a combination of all of the activities aforementioned, but has mostly consisted out of cleaning, arranging and binge-watching. After I watched the complete “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life“, I was in dire need of a new binge-worthy series.
Let me introduce you to my current obsession: “Riverdale”.
The show revolves around the small town of Riverdale, whose inhabitants are shaken up by the mysterious death of high school student Jason Blossom. Something happened between the red-haired Blossom twins on the 4th of July and everyone in the town, from the parents and teens to the boy scouts and the sheriff, has their suspicions – but no one knows the whole truth. The seemingly ordinary high school life of best friends Betty and Archie gets an extra shake-up with the arrival of the rich and spunky Veronica. Narrated by aspirant writer Jughead and watched closely by head mean girl Cheryl, “Riverdale” follows the mysteries of high school life, death in a small town and skeletons in the closets.
What I love most about this Netflix original series, is that it’s the perfect combination between a teen drama show, think “Gossip Girl” or “Pretty Little Liars”, and David Lynch’s legendary series “Twin Peaks”. I’m personally an avid watcher of all these shows and when they’re thrown all together, and mixed with neon lights, great characters and “Gilmore Girls”-style pop-culture references, I have no other choice than to absolutely love it. “Riverdale” has all the elements of an excellent teen drama, such as mean girls ruling the school halls, unanswered crushes, discovering one’s true identity and sister-like friendships, but with a dark twist. The town of Riverdale is under the spell of a mysterious death, which causes the idiosyncratic and often crazy characters to go just a little bit crazier – reminiscent of Lynch’s “Twin Peaks”. That being said, can we appreciate “Twin Peaks”-alumna Mädchen Amick as Betty’s crazily obsessive and creepy mother?
So, we have teen drama and a gripping murder mystery, but it’s the characters that make “Riverdale” come to life. There’s boy-next-door Archie, playing football and writing Ed Sheeran-style music, who is engaged in a hot and heavy affair with his music teacher, and there’s perfect student Betty, with a sleek blond ponytail and a dark family secret. Then we have the fallen-from-grace socialite Veronica, with envious “Breakfast in Tiffany’s”-inspired one-liners, and the queen B of high school Cheryl, the twin sister of the dead Jason. Their stories are narrated by Jughead, Riverdale High’s very own Holden Caulfield, effortlessly navigating the murder mystery and Wes Anderson references. The show’s characters are all a little mysterious, very diverse, and incredibly lovable. They all have their own really well-written backstory and thus their own motivation for solving the mystery of Jason’s death.
As mentioned before, “Riverdale” is very on-point with its pop-culture references. My personal favorite is the heavy nod towards the hit series “Stranger Things” and the long-awaited justice for Barb. Actress Shannon Purser, who plays the arguably wronged character Barb on “Stranger Things”, now stars as Ethel, a girl who has been slut-shamed by jocks from the football team. Together with Betty and Veronica, Ethel gets her revenge on her wrong-doers and Cheryl comically comments: “Justice for Ethel”. Which brings me to my next point, about the show seamlessly tying into current social topics, such as slut-shaming and social media influencing young people’s lives. Although it’s not the main focus on “Riverdale”, the topics are subtlety weaves it into it’s plot line and bringing them to the attention of the audiences.
“Riverdale” is currently streaming on Netflix, with a brand-new episode added every Thursday. You can watch the first 7 episodes right now.
Featured image: IGN.com