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Viewers may recognize the names Archie, Betty and Veronica, but The CW’s forthcoming Archie comics adaptation Riverdale promises to be a whole new take on the famed series.
It’s “a little more bit more like a teenage Twin Peaks,” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee) told the crowd Saturday at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel. “That’s one of our favorite shows and that was a touchstone.”
Riverdale is set in the present day and offers a “subversive” take, as Aguirre-Sacasa called it, on Archie (K.J. Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and their friends. The midseason drama takes a closer look at the surrealism of small-town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.
In addition to Twin Peaks, Aguirre-Sacasa said he also was influenced by the aesthetic of The Virgin Suicides and Heavenly Creatures. The result is a “timeless, dream-like look,” as he described it.
While many of the actors studied up on the comics to get into character, Sprouse said he drew inspiration elsewhere for his role, in which he serves as the show’s primary narrator. “I ended up reading and watching a lot of film noir because Jughead’s narration is really old school and noir,” he said. “I tried to mimic Morgan Freeman’s narration as best I could.”
Like Twin Peaks, the pilot episode of Riverdale opens with a mysterious murder. “We’re going to follow all the twists and turns of that,” said Aguirre-Sacasa.
Added executive producer Sarah Schrecter: “And we will solve the mystery this season to make sure that loyal viewers get rewarded.”
Seeing as the series is set in high school and airs on The CW, Aguirre-Sacasa promised the murder mystery wouldn’t be the only narrative running through the first season. “There’s going to be a lot of romances,” he said.
Riverdale is set to premiere midseason on The CW.
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