Two revamped comic book series from the same universe, two totally different Netflix shows.
When Riverdale first aired, it had me tuning in out of pure curiosity. I had stacks of Archie comics when I was a kid and I wanted to see how they were going to make the cheesy, G-rated skits into a show that would captivate the jaded teens and young adults of today. Well, I guess the producers realized they needed to up the sex, scandal and simple storylines to get the attention of viewers. And they succeeded, I guess.
However, for me, I found my eyes rolling many times throughout season one, especially the first episode. The behaviors of the characters were unnatural and over-the-top. Plus, I despise shows that have teenagers acting like 25-year-olds. It’s painfully unrealistic and so cringy.
Season one was by far the best out of the three, but that’s not saying much because I think it’s a bad show with bad characters and a bad script.
It’s tedious to go through the reasons why Riverfail is awful. Besides, this YouTube channel does a great job of highlighting the cringe:
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a far superior show when it comes down to the flesh and bone. The characters are genuine (and so is the acting), the script has the right amount of cheese without the cringe, and the show’s premise is unique (even though the comic was already turned into a show back in the day with Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina). Above all, (and likely the biggest difference to Riverdale) it lacks superficiality.
I wasn’t expecting the show to be as creepy as it was, but despite a dark vibe resonating throughout season one, it’s evident that there are many shades in between good and evil. I don’t think it’s glamorizing anything “bad”—if anything, it’s highlighting the blurred line of what we automatically believe is good and bad.
Sabrina straight up says that she’s not an evil person, and she struggles with the concept of trading freewill for power, which is an issue that we deal with in our everyday lives. The jobs we do, the choices we make, the relationships we cultivate all have shades of good and bad, light and dark, hurting and helping, and the show does a great job of exploring these topics in an entertaining (and spine-chilling) way. I get a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe from the show in many ways (which suits me fine since I’m a huge fan of Buffy) because it’s dealing with a lot of themes that are subjective and complex, and not just black and white.
At the end of the day, it’s a show—it’s fiction—and it’s a good one.
(A much better show than Riverdale.)
Thanks for reading!