16 years before ‘Riverdale,’ there was ‘Josie and the Pussycats’

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.

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First episode impressions: ‘Riverdale’

“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.

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