Riverdale Season 3: It’s All Or Nothing

Riverdale Season 2 was a lot of things. “Hilarious,” is definitely one. I don’t know that “good,” is a word I’d use though.

I was confident going into season 3 though that the show could turn it around, and if it can’t, I’ll keep watching because it’s kind of the only teen drama game in town…(and as you all know, it’s my favorite genre.)

But the season 3 premier gave me some serious hope, as the show seems to just be going with the whole, “this show is so dumb…I love this show,” thing, and in the meantime, was able to hit some classic Archie comics beats, while still being it’s own weird wonderful dumb thing.

Archie Iconic Thing #1: Archie’s Bowtie

Before Greg Berlanti decided to make him sexy this is what Archie Andrews looked like:


The bowtie was kind of a thing. Anyway, as Archie sat trial for murder in last night’s premier, (Sure, whatever…this show is so dumb, I love this show so much) he looked like this:

Chapter Thirty-Six: Labor Day

BOWTIE! Look at his dumb face!

Archie Iconic Thing #2: Everything About Archie’s Car

Archie’s Old Gillopie (am I spelling that right?) is also a think in the comics. And boy oh boy, was I psyched at the end of season 2 when Riverdale introduced it! So we see Bughead and Varchie driving around in it, and even more importantly Archie and Betty working on it in his garage! Riverdale has jettisoned so much of Betty and Archie’s dynamic in favor of Bughead (worth it) and Archie trying to be a gangster or a vigilante or whatever. (Less worth it) so seeing them work on his car, and Betty in her overalls warmed my heart.

Betty Cooper.png

She is precious and perfect and must be protected

Archie Iconic Thing #3: Cheryl’s Pool Party

So, like I get that they’ve set Riverdale somewhere in the midwest, (Archie’s mom, Molly Ringwald, is in Chicago after all) so they couldn’t have it be a beach party, but the pool party get the gist across. The Archie gang is at the beach, like, kind of a lot. But the Beach Boys playing as everyone danced and tossed footballs (Is Reggie not a raging douche anymore?) did it.

Archie Iconic Thing #4: Hiram trying to break Veronica and Archie up

Look, no matter the version, Hiram Lodge does not like that Andrews boy around his daughter. So he tries to break them up. Usually he like, cuts off Veronica’s allowance, or enrolls her in private school, but in Riverdale it involves framing Archie for murder.

Tomato, Tomahto, really.

Not Archie, but Still Iconic:

Fred punching Hiram in the face at the courthouse, as cameras roll. Straight up Dylan McKay move.

Cheryl shooting at Ghoulies with her bow like she’s on Arrow or something.


“You have failed this city”

Also Cheryl walking into Pop’s reminding everyone who the real star of this show is.



Lucky 13

Doctor Who_S11_Costume Reveal

I haven’t watched Doctor Who in almost two years. It’s been more out of attrition than anything else. I fell behind and never got caught up.

I also was happy with leaving the show behind with the delightful “The Husband’s Of River Song,” which gives me a warm feeling even when I think about it.

But, we were given a perfect on boarding point this week with the new season, with a new Doctor and a new show runner, oh yeah, and The Doctor is now a she.

I liked a lot of things about “The Woman Who Fell To Earth,” (but then again, I also like “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship,” so what the hell do I know?) but I mostly loved it as a showcase to get to know Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor. Thirteen feels really fun, she’s compassionate, we know that much (isn’t the Doctor always so?) and she’s handy. (She built her new screw driver! It’s very cool and alien looking.)

I’m looking forward to getting to know Thirteen, and our new companions, Ryan, Yaz and Graham. I’m also going to (slowly, most likely…) watch the two years I missed. Though the Doctor explaining that five minutes ago she was a white haired Scotsman was kind of completely wonderful.

I hope we get the TARDIS back soon.

Bad Things Happen Because Bad People Know They’re Safe

I have a tendency to fall down rabbit holes. Something sparks my interest and holds it for weeks, months, sometimes even years. I start reading, watching, googling everything adjacent to it.

This has happened to me more times than I can count.

And it’s happened again, for the second time in two years, for the same author, because of Hulu’s Castle Rock.

This is all my way of saying that I’m suspending The Epics Project, partially because I can’t get into Infinite Jest and partly because all I want to do right now is read more Stephen King.

So I’m doing that. I’ve started Needful Things, and I’ll do The Dead Zone and The Darker Half and Different Seasons soon. (Though I’ve read The Body a few times) I’m sticking to the Castle Rock stories for now, (so also Cujo I guess…) and I figure soon enough that will lead me back to the Tower, which means I’ll go for IT and Hearts In Atlantis and Insomnia. 

Anyway, on to Castle Rock, which has been feeding me at the moment. Taking the King atmosphere and combining it with the Bad Robot puzzle box is a great idea, and one that’s irrestible to me, especially my research obsessed, head down the rabbit hole brain. References pop up, some that I know (less from the books, more from movies) others that sound familiar (likely referenced in The Dark Tower) and a quiet solid hope.

Deep in the bowels of Shawshank Prison, a young man is found locked up. He looks an awful lot like Pennywise, but it turns out that he’s not. He might be someone else though. (Randal Flagg, PLEASE BE RANDAL FLAGG! Or at least have Flagg show up to get him out.)

The show’s great, and I think we’re all going to have a few fun weeks while I gobble up some Stephen King stories. I’ll still report as I finish them, I still want to make my reading goal, and I might jump back into the epics, but for now, I need a pulpy, scary break.

I’m thinking I might even start a notebook where I just write down all the connections I catch.

Seriously, I haven’t gotten this nerded out about something in a long time.

Watch Castle Rock, y’all, then we can talk about it.

Nerd Homework: Gravity Falls

Back a few months ago, as I waited impatiently for Duck Tales to give us more episodes than just it’s truly stupendous pilot, I started poking around for other kid’s animation to check out.

I watched a few episodes of Gravity Falls and though I enjoyed it, I think my life was in just a bit too much chaos at that point to really grab on to it.

Cut to last week, worn out after Dune, and The Handmaid’s Tale and even Battlestar Galactica, I knew I needed a break, something light, and fun, and peppy. And so I decided to give the show another shot.

Boy was I rewarded. I was charmed by the writing and general silly/creepy tone of the show, and it’s 40 episode length made it a refreshing chill out and reset my brain stop over. I adore both Dipper and Mabel Pines and their contrasting views on the world, and constant support of one another. (Also, there’s an episode where Mabel White Fangs a boy band, so you know, my kind of thing.)

While I knew some of the big reveals due to being a nerd on the internet for the past five years, I still enjoyed seeing the set ups and appreciating just how huge it is when you learn about Stan’s past and the drama of Ford. I loved the way the show wrapped up, it’s vision of the apocalypse, fittingly, both horrifying and kind of adorable in turn.

I think about the building blocks of things a lot, the legacy left behind by stories that came earlier. And I think what’s interesting about Gravity Falls is this is a show about legacy (Mabel and Dipper being the natural consequence of Stan and Ford) and built on legacy of what came before it. (Twin Peaks, The X-Files.) Even aside from it’s straightforward virtues, is a masterpiece of meta textual storytelling.

I really, really enjoyed the show, and actually have a million things I want to say about it, but for now, I’m just glad it exists, in it’s small lovely way, cornered off like that magical summer you’ll always remember fondly.

On the Nerd Homework Front: I’m slowly but surely making my way through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I like the show a lot. I’m still mired in the Season 1, finding it’s legs stage, that I feel confident if I can make it through, I will be rewarded. (As I was with TNG) That knowledge does not quite make the season’s troubles easier to weather though.

I’m also reading Infinite Jest, which isn’t so much Nerd Homework, as just like homework, I guess? But you know, I occasionally like to converse with nerdy white boy types who all think Foster was a god or whatever, and I quite like the book. The love that I have for Vonnegut and Twain helps with that. (I’d previously read Wallace’s non fiction which always reminded me of Mark Twain.) It’s also taking a lot longer than I anticipated, so it’s put a bunch of other reading on hold.

Ladies & Prestige TV & That Thing We’re Talking About Now

Over the past few weeks I’ve watched both Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale. I started season 2 of Westworld last night, and I’ll probably dive into Sharp Objects at some point, and I’ve got a season and a half of Veep banked, and want to give Glow a shot, not to mention Jessica Jones season 2 and Pose (though I’m waiting for it’s second season before I get hooked. YOU WILL NOT GET ME AGAIN MURPHY!)

And I smiled, this morning when I realized, most of my planned TV viewing for the summer at least in the “prestige” venue, (I’m also going to catch up on all things CW!) has been, and will be female centric. Go Me! Also, Go TV which seems to have at least gotten the numbers game under control. (At least in terms of white women. Women of Color are getting there too. Never forget that everything House Of Cards did, Scandal did first and better, including putting the first lady in the Oval Office in it’s final season…just saying…)

But this weekend, Aless and I sat eating burgers and drinking wine and talking pop culture representation. (One of our all time favorite subjects) And I explained my new revelation.

“It’s amazing,” I said, “how little interest I have in TV that’s about men at the moment.”

“Well, it’s great,” she agreed, “we have enough choices now that we don’t have to watch shows about dudes anymore.” Granted, I’m still rewatching The West Wing and went on to have an #OCSunday and those are both very dude heavy, but in new stuff I’m watching, there’s literally no reason to watch things about guys anymore, and that’s pretty amazing.

Of course this bit of feminist pop culture triumph was totally undermined a few hours later as we went to see a band that specialized in covers of early to mid 2000s emo and pop punk, perhaps the only musical genre more casually misogynistic than early gangsta rap…but you know, we’ve all got our dirty little pop secrets. (WHO HAS TO KNOW?)

Nerd Homework: Battlestar Galactica

All this has happened before, and will happen again, so say we all.

This was the third time I attempted to watch the show that everyone I know who has watched has said was incredible except for the end that we don’t talk about. (NO not that one, the other one.) Previous attempts had ended halfway through the first episode of the miniseries because I was bored, or confused or uninterested.

I don’t think I was ready for this show before. I hadn’t passed through the proper gateways of nerd-dom. I’d done Lost and Doctor Who, the Whedon-verse, but not Star Trek or Dune, both of which I think are seriously important building blocks for BSG. 

Anyway, this attempt was sparked partially by this “Nerd Homework” project and partially by, what else? This Is Rad! (seriously, I should send Kyle and Matt flowers or something.) They’re doing a series of episodes on BSG and I like to understand what they’re talking about.

Anyway, the show, which blew me away, from the minute I let myself get past that halfway mark, which, still, I gotta say, does not blow me away. (I can’t tell you, how little, even now having seen how it all plays out, I care about watching Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six hook up, or Starbuck run laps.) (Well that second one is a lie, I’d watch Starbuck do anything, but we’ll get to that.)

The first two and a half seasons are tightly plotted beautifully executed drama, the second season and a half are bonkers religious allegory masking as science fiction, which I am also deeply into in a totally different way. (As I have learned, from this and Dune and Ender…I’m going to have to give C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy another try, I guess…)

I’m obsessed with this cast and have a new ride or die ship (Adama/Roslin is 100% goals. They’re love is adult and slow and beautiful and PERFECT! Fight me!) And a new fictional love of my life.

It’s time to talk Kara Thrace y’all. It’s time to talk about frakking perfection in execution of a character. There is no longer Poe Dameron. Or Maergary Tyrell. Or Dick Grayson. Or Blair Waldorf. Or Luca Kovach. There is only Starbuck in all of her hotshot, hard drinking, authority disrespecting, foot stomping, resurrected savior glory. Katee Sackoff gives one of the most stunningly immersive and consistent performances I’ve ever seen in my twenty something years of TV watching.

And of course, as a shiptastic garbage person, I found my stupid brain trying to pair her off. And there just isn’t anyone good enough for her. She’s amazing. And certainly neither dumb good dude Lee Adama nor useless (AND ACTUALLY A CYLON!) Sam Anders are anywhere near her level of awesome.

I will be cosplaying her.

It will be glorious.

I see why people don’t like this ending, it’s a little too on the nose and clean for a show that was always a bit more opaque and grey.

I’ll return to BSG someday, and analyze it more, focus on other aspects. But I’m glad to have watched it now. Also, it’s reignited my love of “All Along The Watchtower” a family fave since childhood.

I don’t know what the next step of the project is going to be. I have The Dune Chronicles to finish, and I realized it’s been a year since I fell in deep with The Dark Tower, so I think another seminal book series might be the way to go. (Earthsea or Pern maybe, I’ve been so heavily into stuff created by dudes, something lady driven will be nice for a change.) I also might go back to Star Trek and go for Deep Space Nine, as I know that was also a Ronald D. Moore joint, and as I understand it explores some of the same themes as BSG. We shall see.  

Ultimate Team Ups: Teen Drama Edition

I like to consider myself something of a scholar of the teen drama television series. While I haven’t watched every entry into the genre, I still need to finish Felicity, I don’t speak Party of Five at all, I’m woefully ignorant of anything in the post Gossip Girl era, save Rivderdale, and anything Degrassi that happened after Spinner became the sage older character belongs in a flaming trash can, I do have certain episodes of The OC actually memorized, and I could probably write a book on the various film allusions in Dawson’s Creek. Plus, you know, One Tree Hill. 

So, that gives me some cred, I think.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to create the ULTIMATE TEEN DRAMA CAST Avengers style. We’ve got some archetypes to play with, and I think it’ll go well.

The Brooding Bad Boy: Dylan McKay – Beverly Hills, 90210


There is only one choice, and it is the original. I firmly believe that without Luke Perry as Dylan, this genre would not exist. Everything about Dylan is perfect. His agnst, his chip on his shoulder, his dumb 50’s haircut, his ability to cry at the drop of a hat. I recently rewatched season 1, and I think that the scene where he sits on the floor of his hotel suite, crying into the phone when he can’t reach his parents might be the peak moment of the entire genre. It’s been all downhill from there.

The “Slutty” Girl Who Just Wants To Be Loved: Brooke Davis – One Tree Hill

Brooke davis

While 90210 and Dawson’s did excellent work with this archetype in Kelly and Jen respectively, it was perfected in Sophia Bush’s Brooke. Desperately insecure and insanely confident at the same time, Brooke is fun, funny, brilliant and perfect. Not to mention in the right circumstances she is also an excellent shit stirrer.

The Comic Relief: Seth Cohen – The OC

seth cohen

If the genre wouldn’t exist with Dylan, it would have gone away in the 90’s without Seth. The OC was going to bring twenty somethings playing angst ridden rich teens into the twenty first century kicking and screaming if it had to. And the biggest part of that equation was Seth. Ever quippy, indomitable, perfectly cast in Adam Brody, sometimes a little bit too much Seth.

The Bitch – Blair Waldorf – Gossip Girl


Look, I love Brenda Walsh, I love Cheryl Blossom. Neither of them can hold a candle to the queen of the Upper East Side, and really everything, Blair Waldorf. Never learns her lesson, treats everyone around her like they’re beneath her (they are), and we root for her anyway. (To be fair our other options were Jenny, Serena and Vanessa…which no.)  Also, in a fun meta sense, Leighton Meister is now married to Adam Brody, which means that Blair and Seth can be a couple in this imaginary show.

The Normal Boring One – Wallace Fennel – Veronica Mars


While his classmates dealt with murder investigations, rape recovery, gang wars, learning they were switched at birth and any number of other insane plots, Wallace was worrying about things like basketball, whether Tessa Thompson liked him (even she was a secret teen mom!), if he was OK with his mom dating his best friend’s dad. He’s very normal. Also, unlike his competition for this slot, Dawson Leery, Archie Andrews and Dan Humphrey, Wallace is neither the worst nor totally boring, he’s got a fun personality. And keeps the list from being completely white people! (It’s a genre that’s only just starting to do well on a diversity basis. It’s been very white for a very long time)

The Girl Next Door – Joey Potter – Dawson’s Creek


The secret main character of the show she was on! (Blair, Seth, and Dylan also fulfill this requirement) Again, with deference to the “perfect” version of this Betty Cooper, she’s not as perfect as dreamy, weepy, constantly put upon Joey. So wonderful is Joey Potter that Dawson rewrites their story every time so that they end up together, even though they never end up together. (TEAM PACEY!) And just imagine the amount of cry-shouting that would go into a Joey and Dylan romance!

The One From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks – Jughead Jones – Riverdale


While Jughead also qualifies for Brooding Bad Boy, he does double duty as the character from a slightly more disadvantaged background who hangs around to tell people that they “don’t understand.” Sometimes this person is barely from the Wrong Side, (Andrea Zuckerman was from The Valley! The Humphreys lived in Brooklyn!) and sometimes they’re there to provide culture shock (Ryan Atwood worked construction on his summer vacations!)  and sometimes they are genuine criminals (Weevil Navarro CHAINED A DUDE TO A PIPE TO GET EXPLODED!) But Jughead is all of those things. He still goes to school with Archie, Betty and Veronica, but he lives in a drive in for a while and HEY REMEMBER WHEN HE CUT THAT LADY? Bonus Points: He and Joey can bond about their ex con fathers who now work in food service.

Obvious Pairings That Are Obvious:

Brooke and Jughead, they’d banter and be the best, and one day realize that they’re both much more sensitive than they let everyone see. Then there’d be trailer sex.

Blair and Seth: While Blair would initially go for Dylan (with the brooding and hotel living, how could she resist) we’d all succumb to the fact that real world couples need to be fictional couples on these shows. Also, Seth is the not the worst version of Dan, who Blair also dated, although we all pretend that never happened.

Joey and Dylan: SO MANY FEELINGS!

Wallace And A Series Of Lovely Recurring Guest Stars: Much like on Veronica Mars no one in this main cast is a functional enough human to deserve Wallace. Though there would perhaps be a short and ill advised Brooke/Wallace hookup, and the writers would try to keep making Joey and Wallace happen.

I really enjoyed making this list, and I might do more of these ultimate team ups. Or just write some really fun fanfic with this group. Would you guys been up for that? Feel free to suggest plotlines.