Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Riverdale Mid-Season Report

Riverdale returns from its month-long hiatus tonight with ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ and ahead of its return, CONTROLRadioUK is taking a look at the season so far.
Specifically, what has worked, what hasn’t and what Riverdale REALLY needs to improve on as it heads into the next part of the season.

What has worked?

So far, not much in all honesty. The premiere picked up on the cliff-hanger of Fred being shot, and the show attempted to keep us guessing over his fate all summer long. Whilst there may have been some speculation at first that soon died down, and by the time Riverdale came back? Fred being alive though somewhat injured didn’t even raise a brow.

His storyline tied into the mystery of the black hood, which sucked Riverdale up for the first part of the season. Sure, wondering which character could possibly be our masked villain was fun at first, and ‘Tales From The Darkside’ was a thoroughly enjoyable episode. But the black hood being revealed as the apparent janitor who was always lurking in the background, never paid attention to? A massive let down. Then there was his tragic back story which didn’t really make much sense, and one can only hope that there are still some twists to be revealed.

The introduction of Hiram Lodge has been interesting though & a bright spark, when he’s given the screen time. Lili Reinhart has done extremely well with the material handed down to her, as has KJ Apa who has much improved on his acting capabilities.

Increasing the serpents screen time has been a stroke of genius. Granted where Jughead is at the forefront it gets tiring quickly, but the characters surrounding him are interesting and forcing the serpents to attend the same school as the other students paves the way for dynamics.
It was claimed though that with the increased episode order, it would give the show a chance to really delve into the characters that were somewhat on the side-lines last year. That hasn’t really worked which brings us to;

What hasn’t worked?

Pretty much everything else. Last season Riverdale was a fun mess. The writers knew what they wanted to get out of the season and completely delivered. The storylines were cohesive. Each of the characters got a time to shine in one way or another. This year though, the show is just a mess. With an increase in episode order comes an increase in plots, and Riverdale doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing with itself. Not helped by the fact the show is now taking itself far too seriously. Where last year we could laugh at how extra some characters were, this year we’re supposed to take it all very seriously.

There’s death, there’s the black hood, there’s blackmail, there’s chaos, there’s mystery. Everyone is mucking in, everything is extremely dramatic, and it just does not work. The writers can’t seem to work out whether Riverdale is a teen murder mystery thriller, or just your typical teen drama filled with lots of, well drama. And if the writers can’t work this out, how exactly are we the audience supposed to get invested?

What does Riverdale need to improve on?

Again, everything. There have been times this season where episodes are captivating, but they’re more often than not outnumbered by episodes that aren’t. The show is packed to the brim with interesting characters. Instead of relegating the likes of Kevin, Cheryl & Josie to background noise appearing once every 4 episodes, give them a plot.

Casey Cott did tremendously well earlier this season when the show turned the spotlight onto Kevin for an episode. As did Madelaine Petsch when Nick St Clair attempted to sexually assault Cheryl, who I might add is one of the most under-rated characters on the show. With her family history and personality, there is so much that could be done with her and at times the show looks like it wants to explore that but then backs down. During ‘Tales from the Darkside’ Josie got the most amount of screen time she’s probably ever had on the show, and wowed. One could also question the point in recasting Charles Melton as Reggie when he’s just background noise.

The show also needs to get a lot more out of its adult cast, which is honestly the best thing about it. There’s so many stories the show could explore, with each member of the adult cast more than capable of digging their teeth into juicy storylines.

This article may seem overly critical which I assure isn’t the point, because Riverdale is one of my few guilty pleasures. Even with how much my enthusiasm this season has dwindled, I’m still battling through, desperate for the show to return to the trashy fun of its debut season.