Riverdale: A Critical Review of the Teen Mystery Drama

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Riverdale is an American teen drama TV show that first premiered on The CW in January 2017. The show follows Archie Andrews and his friends as they navigate life in their small town of Riverdale, which is constantly under threat from the mysterious and sinister forces lurking beneath its upbeat surface. Adapted from the iconic Archie Comics, Riverdale is quickly gaining in popularity among teenage viewers and has been praised for its dark and complex storyline, and its blend of romance, mystery, and suspense.

Overview of the Characterization in Riverdale   

The characters of Riverdale, both leads and supporting players, are crucial to the story and the show’s success. Each character is distinct and memorable, and each brings something unique to the show. From the naive schoolboy Archie to the manipulative Sheriff Keller, viewers connect to each character on an emotional level, making the show all the more gripping.

Archie Andrews 

The main protagonist of the show, Archie (KJ Apa) is the all-American boy that everyone can relate to. Archie is down-to-earth and lovable and although he seems naive at times, his heart is usually in the right place. He is often at the centre of the town’s mysteries, but he’s determined to do the right thing and get to the bottom of it all.

Jughead Jones 

Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is the eccentric and sarcastic best friend of Archie, who loves mysteries and is also very protective of his friends. Despite his laid-back attitude, Jughead is the first one to suspect that something is amiss in town and is the group’s trusty detective.

Betty Cooper 

Betty (Lili Reinhart) is the sweet and reliable girl-next-door who can often be found organizing her friends’ social lives. Yet, beneath her sweetness lies a fierce determination to protect her friends and get to the bottom of the town’s mysteries.

Veronica Lodge 

Also standing side-by-side with Archie and his friends is Veronica (Camila Mendes). Veronica is the wealthy daughter of a notorious criminal, yet she is determined to prove her innocence and make a name for herself in Riverdale. She is strong-willed, determined, and fiercely loyal to her friends.

Cheryl Blossom 

The popular girl of Riverdale High, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is a femme fatale with a dark family back-story. She is almost always seen with her twin brother Jason Blossom as they have a close bond. Despite her flirtatious and often manipulative behavior, her vulnerable side often shines through, revealing her human side.

Themes in Riverdale   

Riverdale is a show about more than just mystery and romance. The show also comments on a range of themes such as family, coming of age, identity, and relationships.


Family is a major theme in Riverdale, as the characters navigate their own familial relationships and how they affect them. The families in Riverdale are important because they provide a mirror for viewers to reflect on their own families and relationships.

Coming of Age 

The coming of age story is strongly present in Riverdale, as the characters mature and learn about themselves over the course of the show. As the show progresses, Archie and the gang overcome personal demons, endure romantic drama, and learn about the town’s secrets as they step into adulthood. It mirrors the struggles that teens and young adults go through in their own lives as they transition from school to college, or from youth to adulthood.


The theme of identity is explored in Riverdale, as the characters learn to define themselves and discover more about their families and hometown. Identity is a major part of growing up and finding yourself, and Riverdale works to show the journey of the characters as they form their identities and change their outlook on their lives and relationships.


Relationships are also a major theme in Riverdale, particularly between Archie and his friends. The characters all experience different kinds of relationships over the course of the show, such as romantic relationships, friendships, and even violence. Relationships are an important part of growing up as well, and the show seeks to show how the characters in Riverdale handle different types of relationships and the consequences of their choices.

The Storytelling of Riverdale   

The storytelling in Riverdale is unique and engaging, combining the elements of a murder-mystery, a love triangle, and a coming-of-age drama. The stories in the show are complex and constantly unfolding, with hidden secrets revealed and red herrings thrown in to keep viewers guessing. The show’s use of flashback episodes and dark undertones lend to the suspense and keep the audience hooked and wanting more.

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