Wednesday, June 6, 2018

YouTube Theatre: Archie: To Riverdale & Back Again (1990)

Until Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa hit on the idea of turning Riverdale upside down with a dark soap opera on the order of Twin Peaks, the last time Archie Andrews & friends hit primetime was a 1990 NBC TV-movie that was never meant, I think, to be more than a 1-shot.

Archie: To Riverdale & Back Again aired on a Sunday night, and I remember watching it in the kitchen on a portable TV I kept there for such occasions. Christopher Rich (Another World) landed the title role as Archie. Lauren Holly, who co-starred with Andrew "Dice" Clay in "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" that same year, but is better known for Picket Fences, played Betty, with Gary Kroeger (ex-Saturday Night Live) as Reggie, and James Noble (ex-Benson) as Hiram Lodge, Veronica's dad, who was just as crooked as he is now on Riverdale. I guess this is where Aguirre-Sacasa came up with the idea of making Lodge Riverdale's answer to Lex Luthor, if you will, subbing mob connections for an obsession with superheroes.

The plot: The gang gets back together for their 15th anniversary class reunion, and Lodge is planning on building something on the property belonging to Pop Tate's Choc'lit Shoppe, with Reggie throwing in with Lodge. Archie's engaged, but not to Betty or Veronica..........

This was a trip, I'll admit. I even bought the adaptation that Archie Comics released, with a cover by the inestimable John Byrne, and interiors by Gene Colan and, in flashbacks, classic Archie artist Stan Goldberg.

All Aguirre-Sacasa & Berlanti have done is push the envelope completely off the table, if you catch my drift.

Rating: B+.

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