Riverdale: The Complete First Season DVD Review!

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

 

When it comes to toying with classics, there are two rule of thumb, either stick with the tried and true or throw caution to the wind and allow a unique and different approach to characters people know and love. Either way, some people are bound to get upset, “They stuck too closely to the comic book!” I hear people say or “they killed my childhood and ruined my favorites I’m boycotting.” Personally, I think both approaches are okay, as long as the new iteration sticks with the heart of the core characters. A different take can be interesting and breath new life into something that might not work for 2017 audiences.

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There’s no other show that this applies to more than The CW’s Riverdale. The series, is a subversive take on Archie comics and the above arguments I heard from more than one person on different sides. Now, I grew up with Archie Comics, I had cases of the different titles from PEP, Archie and Me, to Betty and Me to even Pureheart the Powerful (Archie’s superhero alter-ego), yep, I know the brand well. The thing that was so great about Archie is that it was a town that was simple, with problems dealing with love, hate, missing school, a girl not liking you, etc.. A different way of life to be sure.

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However, underneath the Archie Comics exterior they were always willing to mess with their IP a little. See Pureheart the Powerful, or in later years Archie vs. Zombies, etc… The comics were always willing to explore a different side of their characters, so why not allow a television show to do the same thing? In Riverdale, Archie (K.J. Apa) is a ripped sensitive jock who is best friends with Better Cooper (Lili Reinhart) who has a secret crush on Arch. Archie and his sort of best friend Jughead (Cole Sprouse) had a falling out after Archie started having a love affair with their teacher Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel).

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The town is also reeling from the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). The Blossom family basically runs Riverdale and Jason was the heir to the maple syrup fortune (can’t make this stuff up can ya?). His sister Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) was the queen bee of Riverdale high, new student Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) has moved in and taken the title. Veronica is a reformed bad girl and while she relapses some, her heart is in the right place. She quickly befriends Betty and Archie and together they all work to find out who killed Jason.

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Riverdale is a unique show. The tone is like Twin Peaks, mixed with Scream Queens camp and Dawson’s Creek drama. The actors are all good in their roles with stand outs being Camila Mendes as Veronica and Lili Reinhart as Betty. They really nail their roles and rock each scene they are in. Luke Perry as Archie’s dad Fred Andrews does a great job now playing the father in a teen hit series. His weathered exterior really helps ground the show and his relationship with Archie is a nice touch in the series.

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I had my doubts going into Riverdale but I was excited all the same. I’m really glad that the series took its time in developing the characters relationships and especially glad that they didn’t pit the two female leads at each other’s throats. The friendships are the key to the series and you can tell a lot of time was spent in fleshing them out by the writers and the actors as well.

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Riverdale: The Complete First Season arrives on home video thanks to Warner Bros. I reviewed the DVD set and not the Blu-ray, so the picture quality clearly will not be as good as it would have in high definition. It hewed closely to the broadcast version in terms of picture but it’s perfectly fine. The details are clear and the colors look good. I couldn’t help but wonder what the ominous world of Riverdale would look like in high definition, however.

Special features on this release include:

A gag reel with bloopers and outtakes.

Unaired scenes and outtakes.

There are five featurettes:

The New Normal, I got You, Riverdale: 2016 Comic Con Panel, Riverdale: The Complete Sin and These are Moments I Remember.

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Was season one of Riverdale perfect? No, there were a few episodes that dragged on too much and had some loose plot points that didn’t go places. However as first season shows go, the series did a damn good job of sucking me in and wanting to see what happens next. It’s an interesting twist on old familiar characters that works, only because the comic creators allowed the series to be its own thing and not be slavish and stick to the source material. I really respect that and I’m glad to see that other people felt the same way. If you haven’t seen the series, I highly suggest you start by grabbing the season one set. It’s well worth the trip.

Riverdale: The Complete First Season is out August 15 on DVD!

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