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    Riverdale / 24 Legacy

    riverdale header3I wonder at times if I would enjoy being a TV or movie critic.  I do like finding gems and telling my friends and students about them.  Shows that inspire me to be a better writer are always a treat.  But then there's the other end of the spectrum so that would all be a wash I guess. 

    In the middle somewhere is most of what I end up watching.  Not groundbreaking material, like "Archer" or "Game of Thrones" but well-conceived and well-written like the two shows in this article.  Both "Riverdale" and "24 Legacy" are well-above middle ground though.

    I didn't think I was going to like "Riverdale" - it's not exactly geared to my demographic.  But I did.  A lot. 

    Re-envisioning the "Archie" comics (or maybe the comics are now like this - I don't know) has the characters of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Reggie and others living large in Riverdale: a small town with dirty undercurrent, including big time murders and hot affairs between teachers and students.

    Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1 17 712fThe "origin" issue (pilot ep) has Archie (K.J. Apa) involved with a teacher (Sarah Habel) over the summer break, and also working at his dad's (Luke Perry!) construction company.  Archie got gorgeous over that period of time apparently because Betty's gay friend (Casey Cott) drools over his abs.  He's a hot ginger now and everyone is just mad about him.

    BTW, Miss Grundy, the teacher who beds young master Archie, is not the spinster from the comic books but, as you can already imagine, a very attractive young woman.

    Arriving in Riverdale after her father was indicted in a Bernie Madoff-like scheme is Veronica (Camila Mendez) and her mother (Marisol Nichols.)  While it might be that Veronica could turn out to be a b*tch-on-wheels, at least so far she confesses that that behavior is behind her and she is eager to help Betty (Lily Reinhart) land Archie.  Betty is sweet and unassuming (although there's some dark history there) and can't bring herself to ask him the big question - do you want to kiss?  Actually, it's much more than that but they're not blatant about it.

    But...the plot thickens, Archie and Veronica do a turn in the closet during a Seven Minutes in Heaven game and yep - things get hot.  Oops., sorry, Betty.

    And oh yeah, someone gets murdered in the opening scene.

    The dead boy in question is a twin of the current Wicked Witch of Riverdale, Cherry Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), and (1) she hates Betty, (2) she recognizes Veronica as a sister-in-hate-and-fear and (3) may have actually killed her beloved brother.  Not to mention the implication of twincest.

    Okay, so this really isn't the Archie comics I remember.

    Jughead (Cole Sprouse) makes an appearance late in the show - he's not explored much yet but because he's a loner and budding novelist but we can expect much deeper thoughts from him.

    And Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and the Pussycats is now a trio of sistas who do up their fros into cat ears.  Fun!

    "Riverdale" is fun albeit a somewhat mindless.  I enjoyed the pilot and will visit the world when I'm looking for something to just let wash over me.  It's a bit weird to hear these characters talk to each other calling each other Betty, Veronica, Archie, etc. and juxtapose my (meager) comic book remembrances but after a while you stop doing that and just enjoy the mostly sparkling writing.

    And did I mention I don't think there's a fat or unattractive person in the entire cast?

    "Riverdale" is on the CW.

    Corey Hawkins 24 Legacy 645x370I did a "24" binge-watching marathon recently trying to get to the events of the reboot with the original Keifer Sutherland.  I'm still hovering around season seven (of eight - WOW) but I got a little worn out by the constant threat, resolution, threat, escalation, resolution and got the needle stuck.  I'm gonna kick that loose soon but in the meantime I thought I'd try this true reboot. with a completely different cast.

    Not bad.

    Well written with the kind of action that "24" has always featured.  In other words, unbelievable.  I mean there's a full on gunfight at a place in L.A. and no one seems to be losing their shit over it.  Really?

    But that's the way "24" always has been.  In for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes.

    The new kickass leader of the series is Eric Carter (actor Corey Hawkins) who is a former Army Ranger now in some sort of witness protection because he was leader of a squad who took out a terrorist leader.  Here's the issue with that - he's still in the same city where he ran the streets as a kid.  Uh, okay.  I guess if he runs into that old girlfriend in Vons he just pretends he isn't that person.

    All right, all right.  I know it's full blown fantasy.  I'm really not expecting anything less.  So let's push on.

    My main issue with the pilot is something I see with a lot of new movies and TV series.  Everything feels accelerated to a maddening point.  It isn't thrity minutes into this 1st ep when someone at CTU get tased.  Someone who cannot be tased with impunity - in fact, he's the current head of CTU and he's being tased by the outgoing head of CTU.  Yikes!

    The trailers for the next ep imply that he's then zip-tied and put into a room, unconscious.  In the old "24" they would have waited until at least episode 6 to do something like this.  I'm sure they'll resolve the situation correctly but I kinda want to wait a while until the pressure reaches this point.

    All in all, "24 Legacy" is a lot of (mindless) fun.  There's a subplot involving Carter's brother that I love.  I cannot wait to see what they do with it. It has huge potential.

    I will watch this, like "Riverdale" when I'm in the mood for something  mindless but engaging.

    This show is definitely worth a look as is "Riverdale."  It's on Fox.

    Turn off your brain, pull up a bowl of popcorn and enjoy!



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