The CW’s Riverdale not only does a fun number on Archie Comics lore, it also updates — and in doing so upends —TV’s high-school drama genre, cast member and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Luke Perry tells TVLine.
Premiering Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9/8c and executive-produced by Greg Berlanti (who long before acquiring his superhero cred once wrote for Dawson’s Creek and created Everwood), Riverdale delivers an edgy take on Archie Andrews and friends as their titular down is rocked by a murder mystery (among many other illicit secrets).
Perry told TVLine he was “skeptical” when he was invited to play Archie’s father, Fred. “I wasn’t really into it, but my agent was like, ‘No, no, you’ve got to read it!’ And when I did, it was, ‘Wow,‘” he recalls.
“It’s very 21st-century, they really updated it,” he continues. “Not just with the iPhones and stuff, but with who kids are in their heart and in their head now. It’s very different.”
For example, Veronica (played by Camila Mendes) is struggling to go from Mean Girl to BFF after a stint in NYC, Betty (Lili Reinhart) has an Adderall prescrip, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is an emo blogger and Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) has caught the eye of a most unlikely fella. Even wholesome Archie (KJ Apa) would very much rather you not know what (or, whom) he did last summer.
Invited to compare Riverdale to the 1990s’ 90210, Perry can only laugh at the delicious disparity. “That was what freaked me out! Coming from that point of reference. On 90210, we would do certain [storylines] and people would just freak, but that would all go by without even blinking on this show. The things these guys do, you would never have been able to get it on the air when 90210 was on.”
But for the time being (or at least through the first few episodes screened by TVLine), Fred Andrews himself is staying above the fray. “He’s easy-going,” Perry described. “We’re the blue-collar family in town. It’s just me and Archie; his mom (to be played by Molly Ringwald) took off. I just provide a bit of ballast on the show, while these younger guys to do their stuff.”
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