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:

Archie.jpg

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.

Cheryl.gif

“You have failed this city”

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

 

Advertisements

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.

The Best Way To End A Story…

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and The Gunslinger followed…

Answered Prayers opens so close to the closing of Needful Things…

Randall Flagg wakes on a beach…

“The best place to end a story is where it began, I heard that once…”

I’m a Stephen King neophyte. (Thanks for that one night terrors!) but even I’ve noticed the guy’s affinity for the  circular ending, and was very happy with it’s reference at the finale of Castle Rock, as well as the tease for season 2. (If season 2 is Jackie Torrance investigating the Overlook, OH BOY!) It wasn’t the ending I’ve wanted, though the fact that the show is going to be an anthology as far as we know, really prevented what I wanted. And now, with it being over, I can reveal what I was hoping for, at least obliquely.

I understand that series clearly takes place on a couple of VERY different levels of the Tower from where Roland and his Ka-tet hang around. We’re not in the version of reality where Co-Op city is in Brooklyn, ya dig? (I’m reading Wolves Of The Calla right now, Eddie is very in my head. I say Thankya, big big.) Which means we’re likely not at a place where God and the Devil used an underground revolutionary (who’s also an immortal wizard) and the oldest living American, (who is also the last American born in bondage.) to fight for humanity’s soul.

But hooo boy, when things started getting apocalyptic…I wanted us to be there.

No, but we’re on the level where four boys found a body and a rabid dog ravaged a town, and an innocent man escaped prison. Or level where that stuff happened, I guess. Multiverses are complicated.

But what I wanted, and what could still happen, down the line, is for the Man In Black to stroll into Castle Rock, and say something cryptic and pithy, something along the lines of “well, that’s a start I guess.” (I don’t know, I’m the newbie here…)

But I liked the ending we got well enough. The reveal that The Kid was another Henry Deaver, from another world was a good one, and the ambiguity of what that means exactly for the evil at the heart of Castle Rock, Maine, whether he’s lying or not, whether it was captivity that made him what he is, and whether our Henry sold his soul to contain him or is doing the right thing, well, that’s up in the air too. But Castle Rock is safe, for now.

You want to know a place that’s never fucking safe? The Goddamned OVERLOOK HOTEL! And if that’s really what we’re getting next year, I repeat my previous Oh Boy. Not just because The Shining is great, but also because Jane Levy is great.

Anyway, Castle Rock was a wonderful summer obsession, that’s fed into a new fall obsession. (Once I get through The Dark Tower again, my local library will be cleaned out of King’s books. I’m quite excited about it.)

In the meantime, I’m waiting for news of season 2.

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.

And That’s Just Fabulous

A few weeks ago it was the 20th anniversary of Sex And The City, and reading a bunch of retrospectives on the show had me put my latest nerd homework assignment (Battle Star Galactica! So Say We All!) on hold to watch the show again.

It’s one of those shows I like watching every few years, and I really really love it. I get new stuff from it every time.

This time the watch coincided with a bit of blitz I’ve had trying to date so that was fun. But as usual, I paid less attention to the boyfriends and husbands. (TEAM BERGER!) It’s all about the girls. (And New York City, really, the fifth lady…) Their relationships with each other.

The main love story at the center, structured as such is between Carrie and Miranda and it’s goddamned fascinating. Except for season 1, which, like most HBO shows I regard as a pilot, a way of feeling out if this thing works, the focus is squarely on these two as they grown. Before I’ve noted what’s interesting about SATC is that it’s about the death of cynicism and allowing yourself to be open to love and life.

And I still think that. Even Charlotte, the avatar of true love, doesn’t really understand any of that until she breaks out of her rigid rules. This is a show about opening up. It’s also hilarious, timely and I cannot stress this enough, is about four women where male characters are basically an afterthought.

But I’ve explored all of this before and this time, I was happy to just settle in and watch. Seriously. It was really nice.

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

Dylan.jpg

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

Blair-Waldorf-Self-Love-Beauty

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

250px-Wallace_Fennel

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

JoeyPotter

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

jughead

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.

 

OK…OK…What’s Next?

 I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am–the special ones, the wise ones, sometimes just the ones who got there first.

It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.  – Neil Gaiman

I love this quote by Neil Gaiman (on my Mount Rushmore of influences by the way, that man…) And I was thinking about it a lot as I drove to work yesterday morning, because I’d spent the evening listening to one of the special ones, the wise ones, and most importantly, the guy that got there first.

I came to the realization some time ago when someone asked me who my favorite writer was and I didn’t have to time to think about it, or maybe I’d been drinking, or was tired, and without even taking a breath I said simply, “Oh, Aaron Sorkin.”

The response when I say that is anywhere from a “YES!” to a “The West Wing Guy?” to an agreived sigh and a “he really can’t write women.” (How this became the narrative for the guy who created Dana Whittaker and CJ Cregg is beyond me…Harriet Hayes was sort of a trainwreck, but he women of The Newsroom were pretty kick ass, as Sorkin characters go.)

Anyway, the whole evening was sort of magical. Crystan managed to get us amazing seats at Town Hall for The West Wing Weekly Live, with special guest Aaron Sorkin. It was technically the season 4 finale, but they kind of just jumped around (that finale is the last episode that Sorkin wrote) Emily Procter, who played Ainsley Hayes also came and chatted, and overall it was just, kind of lovely.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of this man.

This man who’s work has inspired me since I was twelve. This man who has given so many words to the world.

You’ll notice that this week’s The Marina Chronicles post is a group of people sitting at a table trying to figure out their next step…that’s not a coincidence. I love that kind of writing.

Anyway, it was really fun, and I need to find out, well, what’s next.