Riverdale Is Terrible Yet Mesmerising

Riverdale Is Terrible Yet Mesmerising

CW’s Riverdale: Gossip Girl by way of Twin Peaks. Half as good as you think it might be and twice as watchable.

What it is: A sexed-up reimagining of Archie. Yeah, that Archie.

What I’ve watched: The first five episodes. I’m doing my best to take my time.

Is it good? I would never do you the disservice of calling this show “good”.

Quick thoughts: I don’t know how to explain why I can’t stop watching Riverdale. Every line of dialogue is awful. The plot careens wildly, escalating from zero to death threats and biker gangs at a moment’s notice. The acting is barely passable, especially Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, who seems to have just barely mastered the technique of saying something catty while scowling.

Have I mentioned that this is an adaptation of Archie? You know, the wholesome redhead caught in a love triangle between rich girl Veronica and his neighbour Betty? Well, in Riverdale, Veronica’s dad has been arrested for embezzlement, Betty is moments away from a psychotic break, and Archie is screwing his teacher. Edgy!

And yet, I can’t wait to watch more. It’s dumb, mindless entertainment, and the stakes keep rising — and the series started out with a murder. If this show was any better, I wouldn’t watch it. Riverdale is perfect because, like the teens it’s aimed towards, it just doesn’t know when to stop, and it isn’t afraid of screwing up along the way. It even has its moments of brilliance. As Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse of The Suite Life Of Zack and Cody fame, complains to his friends that the local drive-in is being closed down, he starts saying, “In the words of Quentin Tarantino, the godfather of American indie cinema…” At that moment, I knew that someone in the writer’s room had a deep understanding of what it’s like to be a teenager, and I wanted to buy that writer a beer.


  • why must we always have such click bait titles these days? Using words like terrible is hyperbolic. There a LOT of terrible shows out there that dont have have such brilliant casts, lighting, directing and X factor this show has. Sure some dialogue is bad but thats the point. Its supposed to be all those things you say. Its not talking itself as serious as some people watching it are, its supposed to be harping back to the 50’s morals and styles. Its hardly perfect and its not trying to be high art, its a silly romp, so using ‘terrible’ in this fashion seems a little overkill, like one step away from “omg its like the worst show ever but mesmerising”

    • After trying out a few episodes myself, I’d wholeheartedly agree with the adjective ‘terrible’; I don’t consider that click-bait, just accurate.
      Its high production values does not nearly make up for terrible scripting and performances. I think you give far too much credit by claiming ‘that’s the point’ – I get the sense the show runners are desperately trying to manufacture ‘cool’.

  • Totally agree; and am also totally hooked. I’ve found myself recommending this show to friends by saying “it’s the best worst show on Netflix”.

  • Finished watching all 13 ep, I really enjoyed it. I will be reckonmending it to all my peps. Riverdale the town with pep.

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