28 December 2017

Riverdale season 2A - Review


The first season of CW's Riverdale stole many hearts (yes, mine included) with it's lovable characters who go beyond their designated stereotypes, and aesthetically pleasing visuals which illuminate a dark, gloomy day. The beautiful dramatic look that Riverdale emits is only surpassed by it's mysterious, well structured story-line, that of Jason Blossom's death in Sweet Water River. Don't get me wrong, it's cheesy and quite over dramatic. But it makes for fantastic escapism.

*this review contains minor spoilers!*


Season 2 was announced soon after the finale, with a staggering 22 episodes as opposed to S1's original 13, and unfortunately, I suspected at that point that we were going to see some changes which aren't always welcome as a show progresses.
A show can have many writers, and make it work in the overall structure: think of Supernatural, or The Flash. If you can fit multiple story-lines within a larger plot, you'll have enough to keep viewers occupied for a 20+ episode run. & it can work to your advantage!

But when you cram too much in one episode, and you don't include moments from previous episodes (often the result of different writers), you'll find that the over-all arc of the season is a patchwork of different moments, rather than a well structured stream of episodes which tie up into a wonderful mid-season finale. I do feel like this is what happened with 2A: there were too many moments which built up within a 1 or 2 episode arc, only to be done and dusted and soon forgotten, not influencing the overall story-line whatsoever.

My mind goes straight to the red circle, Bughead's beak-up or Kevin's night time strolls. These story-lines were interesting and somewhat related to the Black Hood plot, but why rush through them? It is a shame as they weren't as developed as they could have been, which led to it all feeling a bit too dramatic. Of course these story-lines are appreciated when it comes to character development. The issue is not giving them a structured arc in which these stories would flow much better and in return, have more impact on the viewers. 

On top of the too-much-happening-in-one-episode feels, we also have continuation issues in this season. Are we not going to discuss Jughead's move back to Riverdale high? At all? Because going to another school was a big deal in S1. That sub-plot has little value now. Did Betty not say anything about Jughead's tattoo? Did Mama Coop not have a discussion with Betty after that unsettling pole dance? No? 

Overall, season 2 seems to disregard the small character moments (which should have more impact on the characters), leaving the episodes feeling a little disjointed - enough to pull the audience out of their escapism to ask themselves those annoying lingering questions: "I thought he went to South Side high now?"

One thing hasn't changed from season 1: 20-something young actors who play 16-17 years old will continue to be over-sexualised. Whether it's Archie simply standing in his bedroom shirtless or Betty having to do a pole-dance in front of a lot of middle aged men, it does beg the question: is this okay? I personally don't think so. The show would do well without all that, and it wouldn't hurt the actors either. Can we at least cut that down a little? Or at least discuss it within the episode. I mean really, is no-one going to talk about Betty's dance?!

With all that being said, season 2 is still enjoyable escapism. We had a wonderful Betty centric episode in which she had to do the Black Hood's bidding: not only did this episode allow Lili Reinhart to showcase her talent as an actor, it also proved that character-based episodes are a favourite. 

To conclude this review, I will say that the visuals are still utterly beautiful, the acting is still brilliant, and the overall feel of the show is very much the same as season 1: we do still have the mystery aspect of the show surrounding the Black Hood. Reading this review does shed a lot of negative light on a well-loved show, I know, but I do feel like these issues need to be addressed.
I still love Riverdale. I always support tv shows which mean different things to different people. It's perfect for binge-watching and again, it's escapism, pure and simple. It's okay to enjoy it, drama and all. 
I was still smiling at the end of every episode, and many of the story-lines still impacted me. I just hope the production listens to the viewers opinions on 2A. The problem is that we know just what Riverdale is capable of delivering, and we know it hasn't yet reached it's potential. There are so many positive elements the writers can use, I just hope they make the most of what they already have in 2B, and craft it in a more cohesive, well-structured manner.

Holly x

*we do not own any of these images*

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