THE FLASH / RIVERDALE [Season & Series Premiere Reviews]: The Scarlet Speedster, and the Scarlet Hair!
Happy weekend, fellow geeks. Here we are again, getting ready to look at some of the newest geektastic shows to premiere this week. We’ve got a returning Man-in-Red come racing back, and a new look at one of America’s favorite redheads as well!
“Borrowing Problems from the Future” is the starting line for the race to the end of the season. We open with Iris and a nightmare-plagued Barry in bed, with Flash having to decide whether or not to tell his beautiful journalist about her possible future; Wally is becoming more and more his own hero (KID FLASH!); and borrowing slighty from the DC Comics weekly 52, Barry and Cisco vibe to the future to see what they can do to prevent the future leading up to Iris’ death.
Yes, you read that right. After complaints about Barry fixing the past and changing the future in “Flashpoint”, Cisco is now all aboard the let’s-mess-with-the-future train. We also got a new member to the Flash team in Julian Albert (Tom Felton a.k.a. Doctor Alchemy), who is recovering from his time as Savitar’s minion. The after credit bumper also shows a mysterious female coming out of (what looks like) the speed force with a hologram of the Alternate Harrison Wells.
Thus, we’ll be getting Gorilla Grodd attacking the city, the Music Meister was revealed (although he was revealed the other week as the villain for the Flash/Supergirl musical crossover), and Caitlin Snow seems to possibly go full-on Killer Frost, name and all, and is on the run. The only misstep for me was both not paying attention to the affects of Flashpoint, not listening to Jay Garrick, and Team Flash deciding to keep Joe out of the loop, which is just a bad, bad idea. Overall, this midseason premiere of The Flash is a fun and light episode with a hint of danger. 4.25/5 Lightening Bolt Bibles.
Chapter One: The River’s Edge
Whether it’s been with groans of disapproval or squeals of giddiness, one of the more anticipated mid-season replacements for 2017 has been the CW’s Riverdale. Set in a newly rebooted style from the pop culture landmark Archie Comics this version is not all bright colors and wide-eyed smiles like the comics from the 1940’s. Instead there’s a lot of emo-teenage angst and dreary dark lighting.
From actual Archie Comics’ chief creative officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and the CW’s staple producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Flash and all the CW superhero brethren) comes a new modern take on a show that still has many of the familiar characters like Betty, Veronica, and Jughead from the comics — now with a little more edge, set against a backdrop of uncertainty and mystery.
The story opens up in a proper grab-your-attention fashion with the unveiling of the summer before the present school year begins brother and sister Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) and Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) go out on a boat on the river and Jason somehow “falls overboard” and is lost to never be heard of again. Though dismissed as an accident, we all know if there’s no body.. there’s a chance for foul play.
Fast forward to a town in mourning and we pick up with best friends Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) catching up the night before the new school year at Pop’s, and in the local hamburger joint — comes the soon to be infamous Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes). Newly arrived from New York with her father thrown in jail for fraud, Veronica’s mother decided to move them for a fresh start. And with Betty the girl to show Veronica around campus on her first day, the rest is history…
Confession time: While the Divine One has read Archie comics I’m far from an expert. And all the thousands of comparisons to this show being Archie meets Twin Peaks? Haven’t seen that either. (I was probably too busy watching Family Matters or 90210.) But what I do like about Riverdale, is that it isn’t a fluffy teenage dream suck-fest. While usual high school tropes are factored in (school dances, football teams), these kids aren’t speaking like a thesaurus or at 100 mph like Gilmore Girls.
There’s also some great character work going on, such as the instant friendship that develops between Betty and Veronica; and Archie wanting to pursue music while not yet disappointing his dad, Fred (Luke Perry), by not wanting the family business. Another note, while Betty and Archie are supposed to have this big, deep friendship, he seems to have much better chemistry with Veronica. Betty just seems to have not much past her good-girl-wanting-to-go-to-college self. Although the complicated relationship with her mother Alice (Madchen Amick) is something that could help define her character more.
On the other end, Veronica has a nice relationship with her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols) that probably came out of them unifying when her dad went to jail. While Betty is easily the “good one” they’ve steered away from making Veronica a bad girl to hate, since that’s left more for token school bitch Cheryl Blossom. But with the backstory of her brother’s death, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more layers from her as well. For now she is simply an annoyance that feeds the full picture of high school.
Veronica urges Betty to confess her feelings to Archie and tries to help her overcome her insecurities of social awkwardness. I don’t know where they found this actress, but Mendes has one of those qualities that when she’s speaking in a scene she pulls all the focus on her. Maybe it’s cause she’s hawtttt, but she does a great job nonetheless. And, lastly, there’s Archie. We already know he’s a pimp, but a summer fling with one of his teachers, Mrs. Grundy (Sarah Habel), takes the cake.
So where is his trusty best friend Jughead (Cole Sprouse) in all of this? As laptop-typing narrator, apparently he and Archie had a falling out–but we’re not given the reason. Another mystery to be uncovered. With The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars ending, CW realized that this was the time for the next tween TV drama for the new InstaTweet generation, one that leaves you hanging in the end (with at least a good chance for CW’s next TV obsession heir). Welcome to Riverdale. 4/5 Hamburgers n’ Onion Rings.