Showtime’s Twin Peaks won’t debut until May 21, but if you are looking for a taste of the soapy, small-town weird and delightful while waiting for David Lynch and the gang, a stop in Riverdale will be pretty yummy. Premiering on January 26 on the CW, Riverdale is a contemporized, sexier, smelling-like-teen-spirit darker, murderous and all-around surprisingly awesome take on the iconic Archie Comics characters.
Developed and written by Archie Comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguire-Sacasa, who has been expanding the decades-old franchise to all sorts of new places for the past few years, Riverdale wears its influences openly, almost proudly. Led by K.J. Apa as the conflicted and often wide-eyed redhead, this version of the Archie universe being executive produced by Greg Berlanti offers a big homage to Twin Peaks on many levels as well the teen-angst shows of the CW’s early years, plus a mix of Glee, Beverly Hills, 90210, and dollops of Barry Levinson’s Diner and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders.
Still, with all that, and great performances by Camila Mendes as the new and former rich girl in town Veronica and Cole Sprouse as a moody and mysterious Jughead, Riverdale — as I say in my video review above — is as taut as the high school football team’s abs. Because for all the influences, when you are drawing on more than 75 years of source material and trying to reinvent the Archie wheel at the same time, it has to be all about the writing — and it really is in Riverdale.
You can see more of my take on Riverdale — and the turns of past and future Twin Peaks star Mädchen Amick and original 90210 alum Luke Perry — by clicking on the video above. But let me make it clear: Riverdale is a very nice place to visit, and you should be there next Thursday.
This review originally ran on January 17, 2016