By Mariah Doss, E23 Reporter

This past Thursday, the CW Network’s highly anticipated new show “Riverdale” premiered. The CW is known best for it’s teen dramas. Releasing pop culture TV hits like “One Tree Hill”, “Gossip Girl”, and “The Vampire Diaries” all in the mid 2000’s. No doubt the success of these shows had millennials of all ages excited for the release of its newest teen drama.

Riverdale is a twisted take on the classic teen drama filled with brooding teens, untrustworthy adults, and an eerie atmosphere throughout the whole town. The show is set in the small town of Riverdale and follows the lives of high school sophomores Archie Anderson, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones.

The show kicks off with a recap of the past summer, where on the 4th of July “Mr. Popular”, Jason Blossom, goes missing after a boat trip with his sister. Once Jason is declared missing, and presumably dead, the town is flipped upside down and secrets begin to tear its people apart.

We are first introduced to Veronica Lodge, a high-class, rich girl who just moved to Riverdale from New York to start a new life with her mother and without her money embezzling father. Veronica immediately catches the new of Riverdale’s new “it” boy, Archie Anderson, in the town diner when he is out with his best friend Betty Cooper.

Betty quickly takes a disliking toward Veronica due to her huge crush on Archie. Right as Betty begins to tell Archie how she really feels, Veronica swoops in and steals him away from her. This leaves us to sympathize with Betty. Ironically, Betty is chosen to show Veronica around on her first day of school and despite the shared interest in Archie, the two become friends.

We are soon after given into a closer look into Archie’s life. Due to his new look, Archie is expected by the school to be the star of the football team. His father expects him to work at the family company full time and take over one day. In reality Archie wants none of these things. He would like to pursue a music career, but he is afraid of letting everyone down.

In order to make his dreams of being a musician come true Archie must reunite with his music teacher, Ms. Grundy. The two shared an inappropriate relationship over the past summer and have not been on speaking terms ever since. In a desperate attempt to make his dreams come true, Archie blackmails Ms. Grundy with a secret about what really happened to Jason over the summer and she agrees to help him.

As Archie is working on finding someone to help him with his musical dream, Veronica and Betty become closer than ever. Betty is an uptight perfectionist, and Veronica tells her she needs to do something fun, convincing Betty to tryout for the cheerleading team with her. The team is run by resident queen bee, Cheryl Blossom. Cheryl’s brother Jason and Betty’s sister Polly shared a rocky past. We only got a small glimpse at this, but whatever went on between them is the reason for the bad blood between Cheryl and Betty.

After a fantastic performance Cheryl grills Betty about her sister and refuses to let her on the cheer team. Veronica comes to Betty’s defense by threatening Cheryl and eventually convinces her to let Betty on the team. After both making the cheer team, Veronica talks Betty into asking Archie into the back to school dance and he reluctantly agrees.

Once at the dance, Veronica tags along with Archie and Betty, but soon disappears so Betty can finally tell Archie how she feels about him. The two share a dance and Betty proposes the idea of being more than friends. Archie responds by telling her he has only ever seen her as a friend and nothing more could happen between the two, causing us to once again sympathize with Betty’s heartbreak.

In an awkward aftermath, the trio attends a party at Cheryl’s house. Cheryl forces Archie to play Seven Minutes in Heaven and picks Veronica to join him in the closet knowing this will break Betty’s heart.

Once inside Archie and Veronica mutually agree nothing can happen between the two of them in order to spare their friend’s feelings. Despite caring for Betty, the two share a kiss. Once they exit the closet Betty is nowhere to be found, Veronica tells Archie everything that happened between them was a mistake and they both start a frantic search for Betty.

On his search for Betty, Archie returns back to the diner to see if she is there. Instead he finds ominous hipster and his ex-best friend Jughead Jones. Archie seeks Jughead’s advice on what to do with Betty. Jughead responds with “Just talk to her. That could save your friendship…it could’ve saved ours.” Leaving us to ask what the heck happened between Archie and Jughead?

The show comes to a dramatic close when late that same night two minor characters, Moose and Kevin head down to the river to have some late night fun. This happens to be the same river where Jason Blossom drowned months earlier.

Kevin begins to take off his clothes to run into the lake when he trips over something, Jason’s dead body. The body shows us that there is a gun wound in Jason’s head indicating he was shot and did not drown. Leaving us to ask, who killed Jason?

Overall I thought the show was pretty good. Obviously, it was bound to have some teen drama cliches, but I think it had an all encompassing, interesting plot line. My favorite part of the show was the scene after Betty asked Archie to the dance and he agreed.

Betty is in her room singing and dancing in her mirrors. It reminded me of Taylor Swift’s music video for “You Belong with Me”.The classic scene where she’s singing about liking the boy next door right before the big dance. I really enjoyed this scene because it brought me back to my middle school days when this song first came out and at time when every girl could relate to singing about the boy she’s been pining after in her room.

However, I did have a few issues with the shows premiere. I was disappointed with how the minor characters were presented. The show introduced minor characters like Archie’s dad, Veronica’s mom, Moose. It was like they were trying force every character have a deep secret, it caused everything to feel rushed and because of that I did not really develop an interest into what the characters may be hiding.

The stand out minor characters came in the form of energized gay best friend Kevin and snarky lead singer Josie. I’d really like to see more of them as the season goes on. I thought they brought a fun light to the otherwise melodramatic show.

Lastly, for my final issue with show I ask, WHERE IS COLE SPROUSE?! Cole Sprouse is the one familiar face shown in the shows preview and his return to acting had “Suite Life of Zack & Cody” fans, like me, over the moon. The entire show is being narrated by this omnipotent voice that we later learn belongs to Sprouse’s character. For someone who knows so much, he was barely shown in the episode.

We sometimes catch glimpses of Sprouse’s character Jughead Jones brooding in the cafeteria, eating alone or at the school assembly isolated in the corner, but we are never introduced to his character. We actually don’t even hear Jughead speak until the last four minutes of the show. Throughout the episode we received a backstory of all of the main cast, but Jughead remains a mystery.

All we got out of the two minutes of Sprouse’s screen time was that he’s a writer and he used to be best friends with Archie, who he still resents. I was not the only one upset with the lack of screen time for the teen heartthrob. Sprouse’s twin brother Dylan took to Twitter to voice his opinion, saying “@colesprouse #riverdale #goodshow #but #notenoughCole #bringbackCole #nextweekmoreCole”, and I have to say I couldn’t agree more!

Overall, I think “Riverdale” has the characters and plot to be a teen phenomenon much like ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars”. I am not sure it will measure up to the success of the CW’s other shows like “Gossip Girl” or “The Vampire Diaries”, but then again I guess we’ll have to wait in see. I’d recommend everyone at least give “Riverdale” a chance. It might surprise you.

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