The characters from Archie Comics have been around for the longest time. Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and all of their friends have become iconic, recognized the world over by fans of the comic books and non-fans alike. The light approach and good-natured fun of the source material is what has made all of these characters timeless and beloved by almost everyone. But the truth of the matter is, one doesn’t need to be reading Archie Digest to know about these characters. They are, at this point, an integral part of pop-culture Americana.
On The CW’s Riverdale, viewers would get the chance to see their favorite characters come to life on the small screen. Considering that these characters, from the main cast to recurring roles, have been around for decades, they have a strong following, and devoted fans that have a strong idea about what each individual character should and shouldn’t be like. But Riverdale played fast and loose with the property. In this darker world, some things are the same, while others are very, very different. Today, CBR visits the town of Riverdale and lists seven characters who are much better on the show, and eight who ended up worse.
15. WORSE: ARCHIE
In the comic books, Archie Andrews is the eternal cool kid, the confident jock with a heart of gold who knows how to love. But on Riverdale, Archie was turned into a pale reflection of that. Sure, he plays football and has the popularity to go along with it, but he is also an angst-filled musician full of self-doubt. As Veronica states, he is impressionable to a fault.
Archie might mean well, but he has recently shown that he can be quite unreliable and dangerous. His current vendetta with the Black Hood Killer is sending him in a downward spiral, and he is lucky to have someone as strong as Veronica to back him up. Archie is a far cry from the character he is in the comics, and confidence isn’t his strong suit. He’s more eager to prove himself than anything.
14. BETTER: VERONICA
Veronica Lodge arrived in Riverdale exactly like she was supposed to: as a rich girl from the big city, who had expensive taste and a bit of a high horse to sit on. But instead of becoming the stereotypical rich girl that is hard to get, Riverdale instead gave us a Veronica who was eager to make friends, and not one above the “lower class” she was befriending.
Not only did Ronnie become even more of a three dimensional character on the the television series, she also proved to be the sole recipient of Archie’s affections, something that she is more than glad to reciprocate. Time and time again, she has proven to be a strong character, and an even better girlfriend than Archie could have hoped for; one who is both supportive and confrontational when the need arises.
13. WORSE: MISS GRUNDY
Miss Grundy is a character that truly got the short end of the stick. It started with her being changed from a mean and old teacher to a young and attractive music tutor who turned out to not only have eyes for Archie but younger men in general. She proved to be quite good at being manipulative, faking weakness and uncertainty to get what she wanted.
Instead of being a fixture in Archie’s world, Grundy was turned into a villain that had no choice but to leave town when the pressure became too much. Things were only made worse when it was revealed that an older, more comic-accurate but deceased Miss Grundy did exist at some point in the show’s universe, and that her identity had been stolen by this young, dangerous woman who was actually named Jennifer.
12. BETTER: BETTY
Betty Cooper may have been the blonde-haired girl next door, and this might be exactly how she started out on Riverdale, but it wasn’t long before she was given a lot more depth and maturity. While she had eyes for Archie at first, she proved smart enough to not be reduced to nothing more than someone who was enamored with what she couldn’t have. Instead, she carved out a personality for herself.
With a fire inside, Betty took to the school paper to show that she wasn’t just a pretty face. Not only that, she proved that she had quite the dark side when she almost drowned a fellow student who had done she and her sister wrong. As the series progresses, Betty is becoming more and more assertive, defiant and ready to stand and fight for what — and who — she believes in.
11. WORSE: THE LODGES
Outside of the main cast of teenagers, Hiram Lodge might be one of the most important adult characters in the world of Archie Comics. Mostly seen at his home, he isn’t fond of Archie in the least, but cares for his daughter a great deal. Similarly, his wife Hermione is also a loving mother, and all three form a strong family unit in their life of luxury.
However, on Riverdale, Veronica’s parents were turned into criminals and would-be crime lords. Hiram wasn’t seen for the entirety of the first season, but his machinations were felt throughout. Veronica’s mother scrambled to deal with what Hiram had left behind but, once he returned, the two formed a devious unit that preys on everyone they can get their hands on. They might say they love their daughter, but it isn’t entirely convincing.
10. BETTER: CHERYL
Cheryl Blossom may just be the greatest character on Riverdale, the most popular as well as the most meme-worthy. She may have arrived on the scene as nothing more than the mean girl cheerleader, and in a lot of ways, that is exactly what she is, but she was made even stronger and impassioned than ever. Cheryl is a fighter, through and through.
However, she is also fragile and emotional, which gives her a whole lot of depth — only she doesn’t let those out very often. Instead, she barks, and she has the bite to match. She is as much a character who can be your friend or your enemy, and one that any character would be more than glad to have in their corner. She might like a bit of chaos, but she can also be a good friend when she wishes to be… at least in her own Cheryl way.
9. WORSE: SMITHERS
Smithers is the Lodges’ butler, a never-ending presence at their luxurious home in the comics. He takes his job of protecting Veronica very seriously, and he has been shown to be a foil to Archie when the young man tries to seduce the woman under his care. In fact, Smithers is not one shy from throwing Archie out with a full swing. However, Riverdale‘s Smithers was not that hands-on.
The character might have appeared as the doorman to the Lodges’ penthouse, but he never really mixed in with the story, or any other character, really. He did seem to care for Veronica in some way, but he was a frail man who had no sort of strength about him. In fact, when he tried to speak his mind, it didn’t take long for Hiram Lodge to make sure that Smithers wouldn’t be present anymore. And we haven’t seen him since.
8. BETTER: KEVIN
In the comics, Kevin was the first openly gay character in the town of Riverdale, and that part is also very true in the series. He quickly became best friends with Betty, and that is exactly what happened on the television show as well. It might have taken a while for his character to get a bit more of a starring role, but when he did, it was clear that Kevin was becoming much more of a three dimensional character.
On the series, Kevin was given a darker edge, just like all of the other characters. But it was a depth that was much needed for the character, and it also doesn’t take away from his earnestness and his position as a brighter, more supportive character to his friends. He’s multi-faceted, and his relationship with his father Sheriff Keller is also a nice addition to the show.
7. WORSE: WEATHERBEE AND MIDGE
Principal Weatherbee is a longtime fixture in the Archie comic books, a never-ending foil to the playful gang of students. But, for Riverdale, he was simply turned into your basic principal, one who is demanding and strict. He doesn’t have much in the way of depth, and we have rarely seen him interact with his staff or students save when something goes terribly wrong.
The same could also be said for Midge Klump, who has always been a friend of Betty and Veronica in the comics, as well as Moose’s girlfriend. She might not be as important as these main fixtures, but she always had some sort of presence. However, in the television series, we are barely made aware that she is around, save for few mentions of her name here and there, and a tragic attack by the Black Hood.
6. BETTER: FRED ANDREWS
In the first season of Riverdale, in a season filled with mean, controlling or all-around strange parents, Fred Andrews was a bright spot. He’s raising his son alone, and he’s doing his best to give him a good life. He’s a hard-working man who has his own construction business, and he is a father who not only wants what is best for his boy, but who is also compassionate and supportive.
He might prefer for his son to play football and work for him in construction, but he also won’t smother his dreams of being a musician. He puts his foot down when he hast to, and he will ground Archie when he steps out of line. He has a strong and loving relationship with his son, and he is a source of comfort, inspiration and wisdom when Archie and his friends need one.
5. WORSE: BLACK HOOD
The Black Hood may not have appeared alongside Archie, Betty and Jughead in the town of Riverdale proper, but his comic books were published by MLJ Comics, who would eventually become Archie Comics, meaning that he is a property that belongs to them. The Black Hood was a costumed superhero, a crime-fighter who concealed his identity under, you guessed it, a black hood. He had villains of his own, and a tragic backstory.
On Riverdale, the Black Hood was turned into a serial killer – and not a very good one at that. So far, he has only managed to kill one person, and wound two others. However, he still represents a threat to Riverdale, a dark presence looming around every corner, one who is looking to hurt and punish people instead of saving them, as he should.
4. BETTER: THE PUSSYCATS
The Pussycats may not have a starring role in the series, and they might not even appear every single episode, but they are more than just comic and musical relief. Being a high school teen band dreaming of fame in a very small town is not easy, and it can take its toll. That is exactly what we have seen befall the Pussycats, especially with Josie and her difficult relationship with her father.
Valerie was also given her own story as Archie’s girlfriend for a time, a story that allowed the character to grow outside of her comfort zone. The Pussycats are fierce, and they are dedicated. They are dreamers, and they are masters of their craft. The town of Riverdale can always depend on them to be a bright spot in the darkest of times, a source of hope when there is little to be found.
3. WORSE: REGGIE
In the pages of Archie Comics, Reggie is Archie’s adversary, a frenemy who is always out for a bit of trouble. He likes to prank others and is quite fond of his looks. On Riverdale, the character was in fact introduced as a high school foil to Archie, but he was also turned into more of a stereotypical jock. More recently however, Reggie was driven even further than the comics.
As part of the second season, Reggie was given more to do, but he was still a far cry from his comic book counterpart. He did manage to play a prank on Archie, but it was one that was more shocking to Archie than funny. Reggie turned into someone who can get drugs and isn’t shy from taking the fight to the streets.
2. BETTER: FORSYTHE JONES
In the Archie comic books, Forsythe Jones is maybe not the most dependable father figure, but he also doesn’t have that big of a presence. On the other hand, in Riverdale, Jughead’s father was given a crucial role, and it was one that was wholly new to the universe. As a member of the South Side Serpents gang, Forsythe was shown to be battle-hardened, a man filled with anger.
But he was still trying to be a good father, in his own particular way, even if that meant staying away for a while, or taking the fall for a murder he didn’t commit. Forsythe might not be the most stable or dependable presence, but he is dedicated and loyal. He is a man broken, but one who knows that he could be better, if only he tried. And he’s slowly starting to get there.
1. WORSE: JUGHEAD
In the comic books, Jughead is the aloof cool head who would rather wear a crown and eat a ton of hamburgers in one sitting than go to school. He doesn’t care much about any sort of drama, choosing instead to satisfy his hunger. He can’t be bothered by love triangles, but he is a good friend to Archie and the gang. For the television series, however, a lot of changes were made.
Jughead does wear his crown-like beanie, and we have seen him eat the occasional burger, but he was made a lot more angsty, angry and emotional. Instead of being above it all, he’s a writer who narrates life in Riverdale and is actually interested by all its dark developments. Instead of having no girlfriends, he is now in a relationship with Betty… and a love triangle might be on the way.
Which character is done justice on Riverdale? Let us know in the comments!
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