Confession—I started watching Riverdale solely out of spite. I read the comics as a kid and Archie was the least interesting thing about that world. Young Katee couldn’t figure out why Veronica and Betty bothered to fight over him instead of running off into the sunset together. To make matters more complicated for me, before the first episode aired, I had read an article that said the whole show was about Archie’s sexual awakening, and listed his relationship with his adult lady teacher as part of that and… Pass.
I hate-watched the first couple episodes of season one. Archie is, quite frankly, the absolute worst. But my loathing for him is the only thing that’s stayed consistent when it comes to that show. I am, quite frankly, obsessed.
I’ll be the first to point out that Riverdale is hardly perfect, but it’s one of the best shows out there and I have a list of reason why you should binge the first two seasons before season three gets started this month.
What? Did you think I’d list Betty, Veronica, Jughead or Archie as my main reason? HA! Nope. Cheryl Blossom is my favorite thing about Riverdale. She’s mean, she’s gorgeous, she’s got a goddamn hunting cape and will totally take the time to don it before shooting a goddamn arrow into a man trying to kill her.
Beneath all that badassness, she’s also got a core of vulnerability that makes me want to hug her and buy her a milkshake. I had initially shipped her SO HARD with Betty, but Riverdale showed me the error of my ways by pairing her up with Toni, and that budding relationship is a thousand times better than the one I dreamed up. Cheryl steals every single scene she’s in, and I really need her to get even more screen time going into season 3. All the screen time? In fact, can we just have a spin-off with Cheryl and Toni kicking ass and taking names while being super in love with each other?
Betty and Jughead
This relationship and the push and pull between Betty and Jughead has been so enjoyable to watch. Betty might initially appear as the pretty perfect blonde from the pretty perfect blond family, but she’s got this whole Dark Betty thing going that pairs up really well with Jughead’s angsty embrace of his own darkness.
For all that, their relationship is one of the sweetest on the show, and I’m really excited to see how it plays out going forward as they face new challenges.
Betty and Veronica
My biggest fear going into season one would be that it would pit Veronica against Betty and lady against lady, all for stupid Archie’s attention (okay, look, I know there are people who like him and I support your life choices, but he is not my favorite). We got a hint of that in the first couple episodes and then the show took a hard right and they’ve become really good friends
Yes, it’s a friendship that has its ups and downs and it’s just as drama-filled as every other relationship in Riverdale, but Betty and Veronica are there for each other, even when they’re fighting about something or on the outs. There’s a genuine caring and respect between them and they complement each other so well instead of competing, which is only good news from where I’m sitting. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans they get up to in the next season, especially since Veronica’s dad is only mostly evil and they’ve definitely got to work together to bring him down.
Josie (and the Pussycats)
My main complaint with Riverdale (aside from Archie… Okay, okay, I’ll stop now) is that there’s not enough Josie. We keep getting these tantalizing hints of her, the complicated relationship she has with both her parents, the ambition that drives her to chase her music and develop her talent, the girl who stands on her own but has a river of loneliness inside her. Up to this point in the show, she’s mostly popped in and out of the show depending on what else is going on with the four main leads.
I’m hoping season three will bring her more to the forefront, where she belongs. More Josie, please!
All Our Favorite 90s stars – seriously, like all of them
The thing that makes Riverdale really special, in addition to everything I’ve already listed here, is that the parents are all faces you’ll recognize from your youth if you’re over like 27. We’ve got Skeet Ulrich, Luke Perry, Molly Ringwald, Mark Consuelos (what? You didn’t watch All My Children as a kid?), and Locklyn Munro.
They all have their own motivations and stuff going on that is often separate from their kids’ shenanigans and I’m pretty sure both Luke Perry and Skeet Ulrich got like 1000x hotter between 1997 and now. Who knew I had a thing for hot dads trying to be good parents and mucking it up half the time?
Oh, right. Everyone.
Luke is Archie’s dad, and Skeet is Jughead’s dad, and the show is worth watching for that alone. Molly Ringwald plays Archie’s mom and she pops in and out as the show progresses, but she’s this badass lady who’s maybe not the greatest mom but she’s pursuing her own happiness and I can’t fault her for that. Plus, sad Luke Perry is even more attractive than happy Luky Perry and… Shh, don’t judge me.
Anyway, more Molly, please and thank you!
For real, though, this show is straight up bananas. We go from the normal soapy high school dramatics to some pretty heavy stuff almost immediately, and each season centers around some kind of mystery. The first is Jason Blossom’s murder, and the second is the Black Hood (a vigilante dude who’s maybe more murderer than vigilante). It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it really works. If you like strong lady characters, high drama, and lots of delicious angst, Riverdale is the show for you!