It took two years and two networks, but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s weird take on the Archie comics characters is finally getting a TV pilot. The CW has officially given the greenlight for the Riverdale pilot to begin production later this year.
Aguirre-Sacasa originally created Riverdale at Fox, where it languished in development until the project jumped to The CW. Officially, Riverdale is described as “a subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the best-selling Afterlife with Archie comic book series, which placed the Archie characters in a zombie apocalypse. While Riverdale sounds like it has possible genre “weirdness,” Aguirre-Sacasa has cited The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Virgin Suicides as two of his influences for the project.
Back in November, the casting breakdowns for Riverdale gave a few hints at what the series has in store, including an Adderall loving Betty Cooper, a Latina Veronica Lodge, an “emo heartthrob” Jughead, and a more jock-like Archie Andrews. Those are pretty stark departures from their traditional depictions. Last year, Archie released a rebooted Archie universe that updated all of their characters into a contemporary setting, without losing the essence of the Archies. By comparison, the people in Riverdale barely sound like the characters they’re meant to represent.
This isn’t the first time that the Archie characters have been radically reinvented for TV. In 1990, NBC released a TV movie called Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, which caught up with the characters as adults and essentially used The Big Chill as its primary influence. NBC’s hopes of an Archie TV series based on the movie never materialized. Perhaps fans just weren’t ready to embrace those kinds of changes.
Do you think that Riverdale will be more successful than Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again? Grab a milkshake and share your opinions below!
Image Credits: Archie Comics