April 6-7, 2024
When Riverdale first hit our screens in 2017, the series promoted itself as a fresh take on the classic Archie comics, with a dark murder mystery twist. The series still includes many of the vital elements that make Archie, Archie – the protagonist’s flaming red hair, Jughead’s love for burgers, and, of course, an oddly timed musical number or two.
As the show has gone on, however, it has taken more and more dark turns. With each episode, Riverdale is setting itself further and further apart from the much-loved comics on which it is based. Here are some things on Riverdale that never would have happened in the Archie comics.
WARNING: Will contain spoilers up to Riverdale season three, episode nine.
As fans of the series will be well aware, the event that sets off Riverdale’s plot is the mysterious death of popular teenager, Jason Blossom. When Jason’s body is found in the closing moments of the first episode, it becomes clear that he was murdered. The ongoing mystery kept viewers hooked through the first season. While Archie and friends occasionally put on their mystery solving hats in the comics, it is never for anything so grizzly as a murder.
Quite a few of the kids on Riverdale face struggles with their parents. Initially, Jughead refuses to live with his Dad. Veronica’s (played by Supa-Star Camila Mendes) Dad is in the mafia. Betty’s dad is a serial killer, and her mother just gave her college money to a cult. In the comics, however, the parents rarely appear. When they do, they seem like normal people. No stolen college funds, and definitely no serial killers.
The kids on this show sure have a habit of getting themselves into trouble. In season one, they are caught up in the investigation of Jason’s murder. Archie sneaks out regularly, and at one point forms a vigilante group. Season three has the Riverdale teens plan a jail break. Classic Archie plays a prank or two, but is more mischievous than rebellious. Occasionally sneaking out is the worst that ever happens.
Throughout season two of Riverdale, the town is terrorised by the Black Hood. This cold-blooded killer aims to purge Riverdale of those he deems sinful. His reign of terror includes shooting Fred Andrews, and murdering Miss Grundy. As mentioned earlier, the Archie comics did not commonly feature murder, so a serial killer? Definitely not.
When Riverdale began, the Southside Serpents were little more than your typical town troublemakers. Once Jughead Jones joins the gang, the Serpents are shown in a much more sympathetic light. Now, characters such as Sweet Pea (played by Supa-Star Jordan Connor), Fangs, and Toni have become firm fan-favourites. In the comics, the Serpents are anything but a dangerous gang – they appear only as the rivals of our heroes in the Little Archie series.
The dark deeds of Veronica Lodge’s father, Hiram, are vaguely hinted at throughout Riverdale’s first season. When he returns from a prison stint in season two, it is immediately clear that Hiram is hiding things from his daughter. It soon comes out that Hiram is a member of the mafia. For a large chunk of the season, both Veronica and Archie are tied up in his dodgy dealings. In the comics, Hiram is the richest man in town; however, his wealth comes from legitimate business. Any dislike of Archie stems mostly from the fact that Archie tends to break things whenever he visits the Lodge House.
The Sisters of Quiet Mercy, a group of nuns running a home for ‘troubled’ children, have been recurring villains throughout the series. Betty’s sister Polly, Cheryl Blossom, and most recently Betty herself, have needed to escape the Sisters at one point or another. Fortunately, their reign of terror is finally ended in season three. Again, the Riverdale of the comics is a nice town. That means no evil nuns.
Betty Cooper is one of the nicest characters in Riverdale. However, she occasionally shows a much darker side. This is most prominently seen when the girls take revenge on Chuck Clayton, and throughout the Black Hood investigation. Betty is probably the best known ‘Girl Next Door’ in fictional history. ‘Bad’ Betty would have never appear in the classic comics.
Season three has had our Riverdale heroes caught up in a mysterious role-playing game, Griffins & Gargoyles. Unfortunately, the consequences of failing to please the supposedly mythical Gargoyle King become all too real. Numerous characters have already been killed playing the game. As the death toll continues to rise, the reign of the Gargoyle King is becoming the darkest story the show has ever tackled. Nothing like this game would ever have appeared in the original Archie comics. We’ll all have to keep watching to see how far Riverdale travels down this dark path.
Riverdale stars Camila Mendes and Jordan Connor will appear at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Melbourne (6-7 April) and Gold Coast (13-14 April).