Riverdale’s been shitty ever since they to turned it into teenage Law & Order: SVU
I miss the boy drama and the cheerleading
by Una Dabiero
Let me start this by saying I am a massive Riverdale fan. I stalk the stars on Instagram, I own a River Vixens shirt, and I've read, like, every interview with KJ Apa ever written. But it's been hard for me to get into the show recently and I think I've figured out why: They've made the show a lot less Gossip Girl and a lot more Law & Order: SVU. Let's talk about it.
I agree with arguments that the darkness of Riverdale is one of the qualities that makes it addicting. The mystery of Jason's death made the first season suspenseful and kept me coming back. The exploration of Betty's dark side throughout the series is compelling character building and taps into every viewer's fear of their "other self." The Lodge's secret agenda builds a strong story arc that will allow the show to continue for several seasons.
But the difference between the first and second season is their balance of darkness and real-life drama. So far, the second season feels heavy-handed with crime. There's a serial killer, casual murder, drug trafficking, and some serious sex work on top of the normal Lodge industries white-collar crime and regular ol' gang violence.
The focus on so many underdeveloped crime arcs makes the show hard to follow and hard to care about. They've cut into characters and the development that made Riverdale so interesting. Think about it: The development of romantic relationships, friendships, and high school power dynamics, along with commentary on teen culture, gave Riverdale depth. But more importantly, it made it fun.
But in Season 2, we hardly see Queen Bee Cheryl — arguably the most interesting character in the show. Jughead's character has been reduced to Mad Gang Guy. There's little development between any of the girls. There's barely even development between iconic couple Veronica and Archie, beyond the fact that they have sex, like, 24/7.
Instead, we got an watered-down and seemingly unimportant serial killer plot that served only to push Betty over the edge. And even now, her and Chic's story is not given enough air time. And now, we're being given another Archie The Protector story. But the person he is protecting is Hiram Lodge, an evil genius who really doesn't need protection, and maybe Veronica, who I still don't really know tons about.
Riverdale could spend much more time exploring its characters in normal situations while tying the everyday drama together with less-overwhelming story arcs. It would make the show more believable, more relatable, more enjoyable, and honestly, a lot less campy. The stars deserve more time serving up some good acting and viewers deserve a break.
Trust me, if I have to watch one more not believable cover-up, I'll be running for the hills. I didn't sign up to watch an underdeveloped crime serial. I'm in this franchise for the long haul, and I want to get something out of it.