There are more good shows on TV than ever, but the traditional fall season has become the dumping ground for the least exciting new series – perhaps because they need the extra buzz of Fall TV Previews more than something with the cachet of an “Atlanta” or a “Fargo.” Still, some quality series rise to the surface: Recent years have given us “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “This Is Us,” along with glitzy franchise entries like “The Gifted” and assorted MCU efforts (“Iron Fist” and “Daredevil” boast new seasons this fall).
Since I have for some bizarre reason watched every episode of “Supergirl” (now in Season 3) and “Riverdale” (now in Season 2), I might as well get a blog post out of it by asking: “Which is the dumber show?” It’s kind of like deciding whether the Patriots or Eagles are the team worth rooting for in the Super Bowl: It’s a brain-spinner.
The Archie Comics gang debuted in 1941 and still hold their place as American high school archetypes. They made the leap to cartoons in the ’60s, to a TV movie in 1990 (“To Riverdale and Back Again”) and to a live-action series in the mid-’90s (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”). Those adaptations were tame and straightforward. But recently, creative types have found that the Archie material and characters can provide a solid foundation for modern social commentary, with a more serious comic line launching in 2015 and the murder mystery TV serial “Riverdale” debuting last month on The CW.
“Riverdale’s” (9 p.m. Eastern, Thursdays, The CW) broad strokes will be familiar to anyone who’s seen a high school drama TV series or movie before, but it has a few elements that might make it worth keeping it on your DVR schedule awhile. It’s loosely based on the current, mature run of the “Archie” comic book (and indeed, the show is helmed by the comic’s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), it looks visually different from any other current show, and it features a murder mystery.