Archie and the gang coming to TV

Story highlights

  • Archie Comics characters will return to television in a live action series
  • The show will have as much in common with "Twin Peaks" as the comics
  • The show is aiming for next fall on Fox
Archie Andrews has lived, died and gone through a zombie apocalypse. And now, the comic book character is returning to TV.
Archie Andrews' prior big foray onto the small screen was "The Archie Show," which aired on Saturday mornings in the late 1960s. Fox is now bringing him back, as early as next fall, in a live-action show called "Riverdale" that promises to be pretty different from the traditional Archie comics we're used to reading.
(And we won't even go into the ill-fated 1990 NBC TV movie.)
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CNN spoke to writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also does the creepy "Afterlife With Archie" comic books, about "Riverdale" after the series was announced Thursday.
CNN: How long has this idea been floating around?
Aguirre-Sacasa: It's something we've been talking about for a while. When [publisher] Jon Goldwater and I first met, we talked about live action -- we actually were thinking about doing it as a movie. We even got so far as selling it to Warner Bros., but we soon realized that there were many, many different stories we wanted to tell, and actually it was probably more suited to a TV show. It's been in the works for a few years, but the stars are finally aligning.
(Warner Bros. Television, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.)
CNN: Will the characters be recognizable as the Archie characters we know?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Archie's still gonna have red hair, Betty is still gonna have blond hair and Veronica's gonna have dark hair. We are definitely not casting them retro-style to look like the comic book characters. They will definitely be contemporary kids.
The pilot is set on the first day of school, after Archie was working for his dad's construction company. He's gonna be all buff and muscular, and that's why all the girls fall for Archie. We're tweaking the mythology a bit to answer questions people have had for 75 years.
Jughead is still gonna wear that paper crown, it's so iconic. We are explaining for the first time in 75 years why he's wearing the crown. All these Easter eggs will have an explanation finally. They'll look like their iconic selves but with an edgier quality. Jughead will be more like Donnie Darko.
CNN: We hear the tone will be quite different from what we know.
Aguirre-Sacasa: A lot of the subtext is bubbling to the surface. One of the big stories we're telling in the pilot is that Veronica Lodge and her mother, Hermione Lodge, are moving to Riverdale because they're fleeing a financial scandal that her dad is involved in. It's very real world.
Kevin Keller is a big character in the comic books. In the comics, he's completely accepted as being gay, and there's no question about that. In the show, we'll look at what that really means for kids in a small town coming out -- who accepts them and who doesn't accept them.
Reggie has always been a frat boy douchebag, and we've never gotten to the core of why that is, and we're going to explore that, it has to do with Reggie's relationship with his parents. We're getting to the realness and the complexity of the characters. We're not going to arbitrarily make it dark, but we'll get real with these characters and make it a little bit weird, like "Twin Peaks" or "Blue Velvet," which is one of my favorite movies.
CNN: But will it still be funny?
Aguirre-Sacasa: There will absolutely be humor in this. The voice will have a sardonic, ironic edge to it. The characters will be witty and funny, and every story will be a quintessential "Archie" story with a twist to it. The humor will always be part of the bread and butter.
CNN: And the show will expand beyond the core characters?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Archie Comics have thousands of characters in their library. One of the example is how "Arrow" introduced the Flash and spun "The Flash" off.
We thought it would be great to have Josie and the Pussycats as a rival band, and they can spin off their own show.