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Riverdale Made Archie Dark, But The Next Reboot Should Fully Embrace Archie's Weird Mysteries

Some of you love trashing "Riverdale" because you think you hate it, but you're hooked. Admit it. We all are. Anyone can make trashy entertainment, but "Riverdale" has turned absurdity into an art form, and the show needs to be cherished while it's still around. When "Riverdale" is gone, the void it leaves behind will be impossible to fill and our lives will be emptier as a result.

The truth is: "Riverdale" is brilliant. Each episode contains more ideas than the majority of the other shows on television combined, and that's no knock on those series. "Riverdale" just can't switch its brain off. For a start, the series effortlessly mashes genres — from musicals to Lynchian surrealism to YA melodrama to horror to everything else — and this has created a new genre that can only be described as "Riverdalian." Furthermore, every single storyline is absolutely bananas, and the cast and crew do a wonderful job of striking a perfect balance between stone-faced bravado and winking at the audience.

"Riverdale" never set out to be prestige television, but the series has always pushed the boundaries of creativity. That's why the seventh — and final — season takes place in the 1950s — which is a giant leap from where the story started out in the 21st century. And when "Riverdale" Season 7 airs its final episode, we can say goodbye to a series that, for better or worse, never failed to surprise us.

Of course, it's only a matter of time until The CW or some other network reboots the "Archieverse," but how can anyone top the dark deliciousness of "Riverdale?" Nothing ever will, but a reboot of "Archie's Weird Mysteries" can bring something different to the table while remaining uniquely bizarre.

Wholesome Archie died long ago

"Riverdale" is a twisted and modern retelling of the "Archie Comics" series that began life in the 1940s. The comics still feature Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and other familiar faces, but they aren't anything like their iterations on "Riverdale." The original "Archie Comics" are squeaky-clean slices of old-school coming-of-age Americana, boasting stories about beach parties, high school dances, and inoffensive love triangles.

However, that all changed in 2009 when Jon Goldwater became the CEO of Archie Comic Publications and encouraged creators to explore more progressive and mature subject matter in order to make the "Archieverse" more hip and with the times. For example, "Life with Archie" deals with murderers, stalkers, and the death of the titular character. Meanwhile, "Afterlife with Archie" chronicles a zombie apocalypse and other spooky happenings.

The "Archieverse" was experimenting with strange and bizarre concepts before "Riverdale" came along. In fact, "Riverdale" wasn't even the first TV show to get weird with these characters (more on that later). However, the CW series undoubtedly set a new standard for weirdness and debauchery in this universe that effectively killed the idea of Archie and the gang being innocent, normal teenagers ever again.

Riverdale is very, very weird, and weird Archie is the best Archie

It's strange to think that "Riverdale" used to be a lowkey show about serial killers, biker gangs, gangsters, and the triumphs, defeats, epic highs, and lows of high school football. While the series has been outlandish from the outset, Archie joining the mafia after failing to launch a folk music career seems relatively tame by "Riverdale" standards these days. Those were simpler times.

In recent years, "Riverdale" has gone so far off the rails that the creators concocted a storyline about a ghost train just to get the series back on some type of track. Viewers have witnessed the emergence of underground tickle fetish industries, drug-dealing nuns, deadly games involving gargoyle men, cult leaders with their own rocket ships, alternate universes, time travel, and immortal sorcerers who unleash Biblical plagues and exploit construction workers. Those are merely a few examples of the storylines that make "Riverdale" one of the greatest things to ever happen to this world, but you get the idea.

With that in mind, the next "Riverdale" series can't settle for being vanilla and standard fare about Archie going to the dance with his best gal. It needs to lean further into the wackier side of the "Archieverse" that we've grown accustomed to, and that means adding more monsters to the mix. But is that possible? Yes, it is — and there are blueprints in place to draw from.

The inevitable Archie reboot should have Weird Mysteries

Before "Riverdale" and "Afterlife with Archie" went to the dark side, Archie and his friends occasionally found themselves in strange scenarios from time to time. One memorable crossover saw them encounter drug smugglers and Marvel vigilantes in "Archie Meets the Punisher," and it's a lot of fun. Elsewhere, the '90s series "Jughead's Time Police" explored sci-fi time travel concepts before "Riverdale" did. So, when the "Archie's Weird Mysteries" cartoon arrived in the year 1999, the franchise had already shown a willingness to experiment.

Of course, "Archie's Weird Mysteries" is next-level weird. The series sees the gang go up against mad scientists, werewolf sheriffs, UFOs, alien blobs, vampires, genies, droids, and all manner of creatures. It's a little bit of "Scooby-Doo," a little bit of "The X-Files," and a whole lot of awesome. Furthermore, a live-action retelling is a perfect way to bring Archie and his pals back to television down the line as shows about supernatural sleuthing are popular.

From "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to "Supernatural," the formula of weekly monster battles coupled with overarching storylines is a tried and tested means of success. An "Archie's Weird Mysteries" reboot could capitalize on this trend without completely alienating "Archie Comics" and "Riverdale" fans. The base is already used to supernatural concepts and detective mysteries, but they haven't seen Archie and his pals battle a true rogues' gallery of monsters in a live-action setting yet. "Riverdale" has flirted with these ideas, so a potential reboot should go all in.