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Riverdale Show Review

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

By Sunny Gray

Riverdale is a popular T.V. show that streams from the station CW, famous for its other shows such as The Flash and Supergirl. Riverdale started gaining popularity for its origin in Archie’s Comics, founded in 1939. Another reason the show gets so much attention is because of how much it strays from the original plotlines of the first season.

In Season 1, Betty and Jughead are trying to solve the murder mystery of Jason Blossom, the son of one of the most influential families in Riverdale. In season 6, they are trying to stop a comet by having their ancestors possess them and having a bomb explode under a bed. Honestly, the show gets so bad, but in a way, it's so bad, it's good. Riverdale just released the season finale of season 7, which is the very last episode that will be made. This article will rank the seasons and provide a recap of each one, and demonstrate why each one gets progressively worse.

Season 1 is arguably the best. It's a typical teen murder mystery, with the occasional sprinkle of romance and love triangles. Cheryl Blossom, the captain of the cheerleaders at Riverdale High, goes missing on July 4th, and she is supposedly the last person to see Jason alive. Around the same time, a dazzling diva from New York City, Veronica Lodge, comes to town. She is immediately interested in Archie Andrew, the perfect All-American Boy. Jughead Jones, the town weirdo (He’s weird, he’s a weirdo. He doesn't fit in, and he doesn't want to fit in), is convinced by Betty Cooper, your typical girl next door, to investigate the missing star quarterback’s disappearance. The end of the series is a shocking twist where you find out who and why the kidnapper took Jason. It is the start of what seems like a very good series, with mysteries and silly high school adventures, but it gets so much worse.

Season 2 is relatively normal as well. It is about a rivalry between the two sides of Riverdale - Northside, which is the well-off side of Riverdale, and the Southside, which is the side with a bad reputation and less nice living situations, with trailer parks and motel rooms. Jughead goes to Southside High after his dad goes to jail for the murder of Jason Blossom, but it was just a ruse by Jason's father to put F.P. Jones, Jughead's dad, away for life. Betty keeps receiving calls from an unknown number, telling her that he is the Black Hood and that they are much more alike than she would like to admit. Archie's father gets shot in the local diner, Pop’s, by the same Black Hood. He starts an organization called the “Red Circle” to get hold of the man who shot his father. In this season, we meet Veronica's dad, Hiram Lodge. Her entire storyline this season was her trying to get rid of her dad and her trying to keep Archie from going too far off the deep end, but still helping him out and supporting him. It’s a pretty good season all-in-all, but the further in you get, the more unhinged it gets and the more foreshadowing for season 3 happens, with the entrance of Toni Topaz (Jughead’s companion in Southside High), jingle jangle, and other drugs that later come up in the series.

Season 3 is where it all goes wrong while still being watchable without cringing any time one of the main characters opens their mouth. It starts with a cult and an insane asylum, “The Farm,” which is an organ-harvesting cult that takes control of Riverdale High, and The Sisters of Quiet Mercy, the asylum that “troubled children go to get better” (spoiler alert: it makes them worse). We spend a lot of time this season just trying to fill gaps and time with pointless plotlines and games (G&G) with the Gargoyle King and things like that. Also, in this season, we find Doyle’s Bunker, a bunker that becomes very important in literally every single season that the show runs. It's just a cube six feet under the ground with a bed, a table, some chairs, and all of the candles you can imagine. Jughead gets weirdly into Griffins and Gargoyles, the game that is slowly killing off the outcasts of Riverdale, and Archie goes to jail for murdering someone (he didn’t murder him) and gets involved in a boxing ring within the detention center. The girls try hard to save their boyfriends and figure out what Veronica's dad is doing behind the scenes. It's honestly one of the more well-produced seasons. The characters are getting some development, and a lot of relationships are starting to even out. I don’t have a poor opinion of this season, but they tried hard to stretch it out to 22 episodes when it could have easily been 15 and twice as good as before, because there wouldn't have been so many pointless conversations.

Season 4 is the last season that is somehow grappling with reality the least bit. Jughead goes to a prep school where his favorite teacher is murdered, so naturally he has to figure out why he died. Then he fakes his death. We got foreshadowing of this in season 3, but literally no fans had any idea what was going on. The entire season is based around Jughead. Archie is still well within the bounds of his insane savior complex, and everyone is basically just trying to not let the two boys kill themselves before something or someone else does because almost every side character in this season hates at least Archie or Jughead. This season is actually pretty alright. It's the season where Toni Topaz and Cheryl Blossom start to develop their relationship, but Cheryl is also thinking her triplet brother that she consumed in the womb is possessing a doll named Julien, which comes back later in the series. Also, Betty and Archie are circling each other like sharks the entire series, and it's really aggravating to watch them do this while they both have partners and are in relatively serious relationships. The humor also starts to get better as well, like it was written by people who actually know what high schoolers are rather than someone who has never been a teenager in their life or has never been within 10 feet of one. So including everything and how the show starts going off the rails after this, it is pretty good. The gang graduates and the next season is set 3 years in the future.

Okay. Season 5 is actually the worst season of the entire show, and I feel very strongly about this. It’s pretty much every single episode that Betty, who is now an FBI agent, tells Archie she wants to break up, and in every single episode he says,

“No! I love you! I want to be with you forever!”

Then everything is okay in their (completely healthy and definitely not toxic) relationship. Jughead is a professional writer who had his 15 minutes of fame until he fell off the deep end and is completely in debt and broke. Veronica is working for a really sketchy jewelry company and is married to a guy named Chad whom she hates. The group came back to Riverdale for Pops' retirement from the Chocolate Shoppe, and his granddaughter, Tabitha Tate, takes over, and is the character whom Jughead became particularly interested in. Also, Betty starts to get really bi-curious, which is somewhat irrelevant this season but it was another topic of conversation for Betty and Archie. The season is bad because everybody in the show keeps making really bad decisions and it is SO frustrating to watch it.

Season 6 is a trainwreck, not in a sense of bad writing, but in the sense that it completely goes OFF the rails of reality and a fun little murder mystery show. Everyone is in another universe and they all have powers. They have to stop Bailey's Comet from hitting Riverdale, and Tabitha Tate is apparently Riverdale's guardian angel. The entire season makes no sense, and it takes everything you have to not turn off the show and walk away because of how ridiculous the last few episodes are. Cheryl and Toni have to be possessed by their ancestors after breaking up because “their ancestors are soulmates in every universe.” Betty can see people's auras, which is honestly pretty cool but she deserved a better part in the season. Veronica’s power is insane, she has a venomous kiss that kills people while Jughead can read minds, which honestly makes a lot of sense for his character. Archie's power just adds to his unlikeableness, he has super strength, of course he does. I don’t really know what the premise of the season was, because it was so confusing and really hard to follow.

Season 7, the final season of the wild ride of Riverdale, is honestly good. The group is back in high school as juniors, except it's 1955. The season touches on some pretty touchy subjects, like racism, sexism, homophobia, and misogyny. The only insane thing about this season, other than the fact that they traveled to yet another universe 70 years back in time, is the fact that Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Archie are all in a relationship. All together. What a shock that was! The season ends pretty well. It gives closure and finds a way to tell the story of what happens in their lives after the show for every character. It was sad and happy, it was a really good ending but it was also a really disappointing resolution. But I genuinely enjoyed this season, the humor, and the way the characters are working together to change the world and era they’re in. It was a good final season.

So. Final ranking is:

  • Season 1

  • Season 2

  • Season 4

  • Season 3

  • Season 7

  • Season 6

  • Season 5

I feel as if some people will think differently because a lot of people have their own opinions on the relationships between the characters, but the show is not that bad, other than the writers being utterly insane sometimes. Riverdale ran for 7 years, and 7 seasons, and so much happened in those seven years. I was watching this show when it first came out and watching it evolve over the years was definitely interesting.


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