The Complete First Season of Riverdale will be available on DVD August 15 and on Blu-ray via the Warner Archive Collection. The 3-disc set contains all 13 episodes of Riverdale Season 1 plus a good amount of extras. Here at KSiteTV we have already received a copy for review. But before we get into that, here’s how the set is described:
Based on the characters from Archie Comics, Riverdale gives a subversive take on small-town life. Things aren’t always what you expect in Riverdale. As a new school year begins, the town is reeling from the tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom. The summer’s events made all-American teen Archie Andrews realize that he wants to pursue a career in music, but his fractured friendship with Jughead Jones, and Josie McCoy’s focus on her own band leaves Archie without a mentor. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is not ready to reveal her true feelings for Archie, and new student, Veronica Lodge, has an undeniable spark with Betty’s crush. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom, Riverdale’s queen bee, who stirs up trouble amongst Archie, Betty and Veronica. But is Cheryl hiding something about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there’s so much more to the story.
So how’s the set?
The Episodes: Riverdale is a well-shot, well-cast, well-written show that is a million times better than an Archie Comics show would probably be expected to be. Executive Producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who developed the series clearly has a love for these characters, and in bringing them to television, even characters like Cheryl Blossom and the teens’ parents get prominently featured. The underlying murder mystery adds a wrinkle too. But ultimately, out of 13 episodes of Season One, all thirteen were pretty darned good, which is rare to see from a TV series in the modern era.
Of course, there are certain episodes and moments that I’d point out for you to see, but it’s better to catch those as they go along.
I also want to call out that, contrary to their four-color counterparts, the relationship between Betty and Veronica is one of my favorites in the show because they don’t have the typical teen drama cat fights over Archie. (Realistically, Archie’s kind of the worst, though KJ Apa does a good job playing him.)
The Extras: There are a few music video type scenes that don’t divert to other shots which is nice, and there are some impressive documentaries about the production, but the deleted scenes are where it’s at for this set, many of which contradict things the show would eventually do. For example, in the deleted scenes, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) is painted as a whole lot shadier than the aired material shows. There was originally a different, happier ending for “Bughead” at the season finale, and that’s included. And, we get to see “Hot Dog” around the time Betty and Jughead are getting to know each other. Fun stuff.
Oh, and there’s a gag reel, which would have excited me before, but I’d trade a gag reel for episode commentaries any time. They did, however, include the 2016 Comic-Con panel, which shows off a glimpse at the cast before they became a phenomenon.
Sound & Picture: The sound and picture seem great, but I have no idea why the Blu-ray didn’t get a regular retail release, because Riverdale is a beautiful show that should be seen that way. Of course, the review copies sent out were the DVD, which is slightly disappointing, but I’ll take what I can get!
Packaging Design: I admit, the cover art looks weird with the bottom third almost entirely empty. Maybe this wasn’t the best picture to pick, or maybe they cold have moved the logo down a bit.
Is It Worth It? Well, I’d rather have the Blu-ray version, but the extras – especially the deleted scenes – are well worth the cost. Riverdale is one show that I’d very proudly recommend to just about anyone, and the more people who are watching, the happier I’ll feel. So yes. Get it. You can support KSiteTV while you’re at it if you use this link.