What?! New ARCHIE TV series has a "pumped" Archie, pill-popping Betty and more!

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If you’ve been reading comics for the last few years, you would know that one of the most progressive titles on the stands today is Archie Comics. Yes, the classic comic/cartoon about a loveable ginger kid, his two rival lady friends and his goofball best pal has been pushing the envelope when it comes to social issues, and even featured a huge story last year where Archie himself dies after saving the life of Kevin, the first openly gay character to appear in the comic book line. On top of that, the comic has shown a willingness to take the story into the most unexpected directions (ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Archie vs Predator”!).

So it really should come as no surprise that Riverdale, the CW’s planned live-action teen drama TV series adaptation of Archie Comics is going dark. Real dark. TVLine has the scoop on the character casting calls for the show’s four leads, and this is definitely not the Archie, Bettie, Veronica and Jughead that you grew up reading about.

ARCHIE ANDREWS: A high school sophomore, the redhead is still boyishly handsome but “pumped and looking good after working construction for his dad during the summer.” Archie is grappling with heavy issues and juggling the interest of several girls while discovering his passion for writing and performing music against his father and his football coach’s better wishes. Oh, and he’s harboring more than one dark, terrible secret.

BETTY COOPER: The blonde and pretty sophomore is described as having “some self-esteem issues and affinity for Adderall.” Eager-to-please, wholesome and studious, Betty has a super-crush on her longtime best bud, Archie. But tired of being the “perfect” everything, she turns to her new friend, Veronica, for life advice. Betty has an emotionally brittle mom, a goth-like sister and a coveted spot on the cheerleading squad — though with certain conditions….

VERONICA LODGE: Producers are aiming to ideally cast a Latina as this “silver-tongued” stunner, who has just returned to Riverdale from New York following a scandal which resulted in her father going to prison. Extremely intelligent, self-confident and immediately popular, Veronica is eager to reinvent herself — from Mean Girl to caring friend.

JUGHEAD JONES: A hearing-impaired actor is being sought to play Jughead as an “emo-heartthrob.” The lanky lad is Archie’s former best friend, seeing as the two still are smarting from a rift that took place between them. Angry, but with a philosophical bent, Jughead “refuses to take the olive branch being proffered by Archie, the hurt goes that deep.”

Archie has a “dark, terrible secret”, Jughead is an “emo-hearthrob” who hates him, Veronica got all scandalous in New York, and Betty pops pills and is only on the cheerleading squad “with certain conditions….” *shudder* Whatever happened to just sharing a milkshake at the malt shop and stuffing your face with hamburgers? Sheesh.

This could either be a really great deconstruction of an American cultural icon, or one of the most woefully misguided reboots of a classic property that we’ve ever seen. Riverdale is being produced by The Flash and Arrow producer Greg Berlanti’s production company, and the pilot episode is being written by acclaimed writer and Archie Comics’ chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who described this as a “bold, subversive take”. Damn, right it is!

Last Updated: November 10, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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