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The Archie reboot is on its way, and so must come the inevitable “this is what it should do” rant. Now, it’s a cliche to say that teen should be teens, but that’s what it all boils down to really. Archie gets some, not a lot, of flack for being something from another time – something which has been taken down a couple of times. So, what would a real reboot do?
First and foremost, everything else aside, the heart needs to remain intact. Even when the characters were at their worst, or most hostile, it’s about a group of friends. Sure, Regge and Jughead got into legendary prank-wars, and Moose gave people a good thumping – but no one was ever cast aside nor was there ever a blow out. Archie eschewed typical teen tropes.
You can have drama, and you can have misunderstandings, but let’s not delve into the areas of exaggeration here, that’s should be on the top of the list. Second on that list should be selling the love triangle a bit more. Everyone and their mothers have been asking for ages why two girls like Betty and Veronica would even be interested in someone like Archie Andrews. A reboot gives the opportunity to see them both bud in their affections.
Jughead? He should still be chill, friendly, and yet aloof in all matters of drama. Jughead’s appeal is not his plots, but rather in how he handles his plots. He’s a cool customer whose only vice in life is an unquenchable thirst for hamburgers. An attempt to give him more tension or “depth” than what is necessary is just courting trouble. And the only trouble that should be courting Jughead is Ethel, who is also a must-have.
Reggie rounds out the foundation of what many consider the “core” gang, and while he can be an abrasive jerk – just keep him far away from how Afterlife With Archie has been depicting him. It should never get to the point where it becomes unbelievable that the rest of the gang would hang out with him. Keep the small moments where he’s just a normal guy interspersed with whatever plan to annoy Jughead/Archie and it’s easy street.
Bringing in more timely plots is something that is very much welcome. Everyone fondly, or at least somewhat nicely, remembers the heydays of the 80’s or 90’s teen-movie. Movies with a lot of style and some nice, or not so sturdy, aesops at the end of it. It’s a lost art nowadays with teen movies now all being party movies. Archie, being Archie, there will probably be more of a balance and a mixture closer to something traditional.
This is also a stickler for some, but personally I see no problems with an updated wardrobe. For years, even, the wardrobe has shifted time and again and infuse more current youth into it is just what the doctor ordered. There’s a “new” wholesome and the teens of Riverdale should reflect that – and the variant covers show that it can work as a very handy aesthetic. All that really needed to be kept was the letterman jackets and Jughead’s crown.
At the end, while a bit trite, don’t do what every other teen-related series in any medium would do. Do what Archie would do. Keep it humorous, keep it a bit scathing, and keep us from hating anyone. It might sound easy, but it’s actually a lot harder than it looks if multiple movies and books are anything to go by. I have faith in Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, but if this will survive in the long run, it needs to stay focused.