Not all of the TV critics at TCA are happy that CW’s upcoming Riverdale has been added to the in-vogue Small Town Gone Weird sub-genre. Set in the present day and billed as a modern, subversive take on the iconic Archie Comics franchise, Riverdale, from Warner Bros TV, follows Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends, as they explore the surrealism of small-town life, aka the darkness and oddities bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.
The critic warned of “backlash.”
“The backlash was all good,” beamed EP Jon Goldwater, who also is CEO and publisher at Archie Comics.
EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also is chief creative officer at Archie Comics. Long running comics franchises can only go down the same road for so long and “then you need to change the dynamic.”
The critic warned it will be “sort of like if you did Happy Days and Fonz was a real gang member.” Then, as if suddenly understanding, added, “I know, that’s a great idea.”
All of the walls at Archie are coming down, Goldwater said.
EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also is chief creative officer at Archie Comics, noted there already has been an Archie-in-the-zombie-apocalypse franchise storyline. “Even though Archie is now in zombie apocalypse he’s still the same kid, trying to do the right thing and making things worse before they get better,” the exec assured the critic.
Riverdale originally was pitched as a movie, he said, and they thought they had a deal, until one exec, who he declined to name, called a meeting and strongly urged them to add time travel, or portals because “portals are huge,” or cast Louis CK as Archie – which even Aguirre-Sacasa said left him “gobsmacked.”
Eventually teaming with Greg Berlanti to develop as a TV series, he was told, “you’re going to need a dead body.”
“I think I was the one they were talking about,” cast member Luke Perry joked.