Is It Time To Say Goodbye To Riverdale For Good?
With the end of Riverdale season five, is anyone really surprised that the mystery-thriller-teen-drama will eventually be back for a sixth season? No? You and me both.
Running since 2017, this epic teenage drama franchise has been going for a while – and is now back for its very own sixth instalment. Now we have had the beginning of season 6 – can we just, for once, say goodbye to The CW’s show, Riverdale for good?
Riverdale’s Convoluted Storylines Are Just Beyond Any Reasonable Grounds
Any drama of any decent background invites us to suspend our beliefs for just a moment; they challenge, they throw up ‘red herrings’, before resolving the plotline within the air time. Just look at Line Of Duty – now that BBC drama kept us guessing for almost a decade, even if the ending of the last series was somewhat of an upset for diehard viewers. (It was the bumbling Buckles – because of course it was! Twitter was not happy with that particular revelation.)
Riverdale started out with a simple storyline involving a murder and a family feud, with the occasional ‘red herring’ such as the arrival of the Lodge family later on. All storylines have become incredibly convoluted since – such as with the teenage Nancy Drew detective duo who just happen to uncover crimes and put away ‘bad guys’ every so often.
We had a cult, drugs being distributed, gang warfare with the relevant ritualistic routines, prison sentences, a war… It is all just a bit too convoluted as if those responsible for the writing of Riverdale have lost all hope of any kind of sensible plot. Arguably the character development is hardly able to take shape either – instead, we get the repetitive couple shuffling among the friends, and look back at prior relationships, whereas they are now supposed to be adults.
Why Does Every Little Moment Have To Be Turned Into Something Vaguely Inspirational In Riverdale?
Why is it that every little moment has to be turned into something that is even just vaguely inspirational? The cast is somewhat ‘perfect’ from a diversity standpoint – granted, there is a mix of ethnicities, as well as storylines that focus on being LGBTQIA+ – but all are virtually able-bodied. Every single moment in Riverdale has to become something inspirational for some reason; who can forget the serenade of Jailhouse Rock, complete with the cheerleading routine, outside the local prison?
For a show that has covered most topics under the sun, there has been nothing about the world of disability – and that is matched with a glossy finish to every single episode, enough so that on occasion some episodes have ended with just a good old fashioned sing-song of some sort. If the show is striving to be representative of all – which it seems to want to try – why can we not have a less glossy and less polished finish? The inspirational moments can become tedious and grating at times.
Anti Violence While Promoting Vigilantes. Seriously?
Can we please just talk about the vigilantes in this franchise? The premise of Riverdale is to essentially stamp out whatever conflict there is that arises – be it a cult that is infiltrating the town, a mysterious benefactor of some sort who wants to mine in the town for resources by using unscrupulous business practices, gang warfare, whatever.
Of course, it has to be a group of teenage friends as the adults just stand by, doing nothing – because of course! – however they have very little power by themselves, they just have a tone of sanctimonious morality to their aims while they go about trying to solve the town’s issues. More often than not this means that violence is the one thing they return to again and again and again. It is incongruous to do that when the essential premise has a message of being all but anti-violence – when there are teenage vigilantes.
Fake Names Suggest A Lack Of Originality
It may be deemed an affectionate homage at times, but one too many throwaway throwbacks suggest a lack of originality at the best of times. There are continual references to the ‘Glamourge’ eggs – when, in reality, the Imperial Eggs created by Carl Faberge are known as Faberge eggs. We have an occasional reference to Charles Chickens – come on, do we really need that one to be spelt out? – more than once.
Some episodes have also been a probably affectionate nod to older and more retro films and other kinds of media; The Breakfast Club was referenced in one such episode, although that particular episode was somewhat confusing at times. This has been used throughout the franchise – but the more time goes by, the more it suggests a lack of originality within the series itself.
Want To Care About Diversity? Maybe The Time Is Now To Make Way For Other Netflix Originals
We are all aware of the various and ongoing discussions around the concept of diversity and how to do and be better; after all, the concept of being an ‘ally’ – in various forms – is arguably an ongoing process that means we are all always continually learning.
That being said, conversations within the arts industry around diversity are not going far enough just yet – because we are having the same old conversation, with very minimal progress by now. Diversity and better representation on screen is getting better, but only gradually. That being said, Riverdale is taking up a lot of space – and there are always other ideas that will be pitched every year, and will probably be turned down as that space will have already have been filled.
The concept of diversity, and therefore better representation, means that space needs to be made when appropriate for others – i.e, in other words, knowing your place. Riverdale has gone so far outside of the original remit of season one – maybe now is the time to make way for other Netflix specials.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!