Can’t stay out of Riverdale

Fine. I lied. I watched Riverdale… and I kept watching. As of this writing, seven episodes have aired on The CW. Normally this would be enough to exclude my viewership, as I am not even sure such a channel exists on my cable package.

However, Netflix was kind enough to stream the episodes the day after they air. It’s a smart tactic for a new show on a small network. Get people hooked on the streaming and then cut them off for the second season, meaning they will have to watch on regular TV like all the weirdos who still watch cable.

When The CW announced the show, I told you fine folks I would not be tuning in and I meant what I wrote. I had no intention of watching what was likely a low-budget show on a low-budget network. (Sorry, CW, but you know what you are and it is not fancy.) Also, the idea of combining a wholesome, awe-shucks comic from a bygone era and a gritty teen drama/murder series did not appeal to me at all.

With that said, I watched the first episode. Sure, I did so more out of morbid fascination more but I still watched and it was as bad as I thought. The most obvious drawback is the cliché-addled writing that’s trying too hard to be hip and culturally aware. For example, at one point during the de rigueur student-teacher affair, the teacher wears heat shaped glasses reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita. (Yes, I know the glasses only appear on the poster but it is still an iconic image.)

It could be a callback to something in the comic but I’m pretty sure it is a nod to the both the May-December romance and the predatory nature of the older participant. How is connecting a famous movie based on a piece of classic literature a bad thing? For me, it seems a bit desperate. “Hey, look at us. We’re not drivel. We know about old books and such.”

Then there is the acting. I don’t want to take a shot at the skills of the young people involved but let’s just say Luke Perry is one of the parents. Sure Perry does a fine enough job as the patriarch of the Andrews clan but if you are hoping the 90210 alum will provide emotional gravity, look elsewhere.

Anyway, with all of that said, I kept watching. I’m up to date on all six episodes so far and will continue for the rest of the season. There are plenty of more interesting shows on Netflix and the other streaming services to which I subscribe but I still tune into this every Friday. I’m also not alone. Two of my fellow gaming nerds regularly watch, one of whom does so alongside his wife.

You could call my enjoyment ironic but it’s the same thing as just enjoying the show so who really cares? It’s trash but it is interesting trash.

There is probably a well-worn lesson to be learned here, like “don’t be afraid to try new things” or even an oldie-but-goodie like “don’t judge a book by its cover” but it’s likely more of a “don’t ever take anything Matt writes seriously” situation than a morality tale.

With that said, not listening to me is as good a life hack as any so… yeah. Never mind what I say. I’m just here for the jokes… such as they are.

I’m done now.

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Antigonish native Matt Draper has been a photographer, reporter and columnist for The Reporter since 2003.