I watched the premier of Riverdale last night. I wasn’t going to because I’ve only read about twelve Archie comics in my life despite having some CD-ROMs with the entirety of the Bronze Age on them that promise to be a rabbit hole that won’t be easy to pull myself away from. Then I started thinking about all I’ve read about Riverdale and decided that it was probably going to be a train-wreck so why not? I put up with five seasons of Smallville, I could handle one episode of an Archie show.

Here’s the basics: this episode is just laying down groundwork for everything else that will happen in the series and this will probably work best if we lay all this down by major character.

First of all, there’s Archie. He spent the summer doing the sex with Mrs. Grundy and now there’s some unresolved stuff between them. He’s torn between working with his father, playing football, and his music career. Archie is nothing more than an angsty cipher and is, thus far, largely uninteresting on his own. As time goes on, he’ll probably make a lot of horrible choices so we have all that awkwardness to look forward to.

This is Betty Cooper. She’s on Adderall, her mother is very overbearing, and she wants Archie in the worse way. Also, her sister got screwed up by Jason Blossom and we’ll get to him later. She’s just very put-upon and I feel some sympathy for her. By the end of the episode, she’s become a cheerleader and is sad that Archie can’t get his act together. She and Veronica also kiss which is a thing that happens on this show.

Betty’s best friend is Kevin Keller. In the comics, he’s gay but I gather it’s not really a thing. He’s just a gay man who hangs out with Archie sometimes and he’s just accepted as a normal person within the universe. On this show, he’s pretty much just a huge gay stereotype. That is not his room. He’s hanging out with Betty. By the end of the episode, he’s convinced Moose to go skinny dipping and is pretty sure Moose is closeted. I hope they turn him into an actual character and not just “the gay guy”. He finds a body.

Veronica Lodge is also here. She’s back in Riverdale with her mom (who wants to get with Archie’s divorced dad) and is trying to be nice after everything that’s happened to her. Veronica’s dad is in jail for financial crimes. She’s actually trying to be a good friend to Betty and feels bad when she screws it up so that’s at least an illusion of depth. She’s the one who initiated the kiss with Betty in an attempt to join the cheerleading squad (it doesn’t make a lot more sense in context) and also kisses Archie. In this way, Archie has kissed Betty through the transitive property. Betty and Veronica are the two best characters so far.

Cheryl Blossom is also here. She’s just terrible the entire time and was probably doing nasty incest with her brother, who is dead. She’s mad at Betty over the Justin/Betty’s sister relationship and generally stirs the pot. She is also responsible for both of Veronica’s kisses. Also, the worst moments of the episode. She introduces Josie and the Pussycats by mentioning that the song they’re about to play is the one she and her brother were conceived to and it’s just the most awkward and cringey thing.

Jughead is also here. He’s a writer who hangs out at Pop’s and he’s largely removed from everything that’s going on. He and Archie used to be friends. He’s also the narrator and we’ll see what happens with him. I don’t want him dating anyone. That’s not how Jughead works.

Here’s Josie and the Pussycats. Josie is really mean and I don’t like it. I pretty much only bring them up because of that. Moose is also here but he’s only there for Kevin to hit on, and Reggie is here and he’s just an ass-hat. Also, Dilton is in attendance.

In summary, Betty and Veronica are decent characters already, and everyone else is painted with a very wide brush and hopefully they’ll get more detail later. The season’s plot is “who killed Jason Blossom” and I’m sure Archie is going to get fingered for it and will have to reveal his dalliance with Mrs. Grundy which will cause rifts between him and everyone else. Betty’s sister will probably be seen and will be a suspect. Cheryl, too, since she was the last one to see Jason alive and then she lied about it. So the show isn’t good yet but it has potential that it may squander over the next few episodes. I mean, look at that V remake from a few years ago. The first episode was great and then nothing happened forever.  I don’t know if I’m doing these every week. I probably won’t but it’s easy content.