Your Favorite Childhood Characters Just Got Dark AF

There are few feelings as deeply satisfying as finding a new favorite television show to obsess over. Any standing plans go by the wayside, and it becomes a feat to talk about anything but the latest episode (even when my coworkers have clearly had enough). I don't fall for many series, but when I do I fall hard and won't shut up about them.

When I first heard about Riverdale, the much-hyped new CW show premiering this Thursday, January 26, I felt wary of taking the plunge. Archie comics ruled my childhood, and Betty, Veronica, and the rest — all of whom serve as inspiration for the Riverdale cast — feel precious to me. Still, the ads teased plot twists, sinister undercurrents, and a whole lot of drama, so I went for it and got my hands on the first episode. Without giving too much away, I'll say that my crew is back in all its glory but with a very dark makeover. Whether you're an OG Archie fan or not, take a sneak preview at the cast, and get (re)aquainted with your new faves.
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Archie Andrews
If you're familiar with the original comic, you know that Betty and Veronica are constantly fighting for Archie's love and affection. In two-dimensional form, I never really understood the appeal. In Riverdale, however, actor K.J. Apa looks very much worthy of a longtime love triangle.

Besides being better looking (I mean the original is a cartoon but still), Archie's life is also markedly angstier now. The first episode alone has our misunderstood protagonist breaking hearts, obstructing a murder investigation, and making out with literally the last person OG fans would ever expect. Come for the beautiful face, stay for the drama.
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Josie McCoy
Josie is already giving off major fan-favorite vibes. Not only does actress Ashleigh Murray have serious pipes — she's the lead singer and namesake of Josie and the Pussy Cats, after all — but she also isn't afraid to put golden boy Archie in his place when she feels like he's threatening her spot as resident star of Riverdale High. Every show needs a tough-girl character who tells it like it is, and I love that this one wears kitty ears 24/7.
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Betty Cooper
The Betty-versus-Veronica dichotomy has long been a means to divide the good girls from the bad. Actress Lili Reinhart is perfectly cast as "good" Betty and comes off just as sweet and relatable as you'd expect. That said, she's definitely got a newfound edge. Betty has a totally unexpected hookup in episode 1 (I'm happy to report that this seems like something that'll happen a lot on this show) and is entangled in something highly shady involving her mysterious family. Bottom line: I want to be friends with her.
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Veronica Lodge
Veronica is glamorous, beautiful, and wealthy, plus she rocked perfectly arched eyebrows before they were a thing. If Veronica had an Instagram account, she'd be that influencer you love to hate. She's the original It Girl.

Actress Camila Mendes (and her glorious brows) adds an unexpected softness and vulnerability to the role, though. In an effort to repent for her shadowy past, she takes Betty under her wing and defends her against mean girls on her very first day at Riverdale High School. There's definitely something sinister about her, but I love that in a single episode Riverdale manages to explain why Betty and Veronica — polar opposites — are best friends.
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Cheryl Blossom
One episode in and actress Madelaine Petsch already deserves a spot in the villain hall of fame. In the comic, Cheryl's wrongdoing was mainly limited to trying to woo Archie away from Betty or out-flaunt Veronica's wealth.

On Riverdale, this beautiful psychopath delivers some of the sharpest one-liners, that is when she's not orchestrating other people's adultery or, say, potentially plotting murder. I'm betting Cheryl is the character everybody talks about the most.
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Jughead Jones
Even the most devoted fans might not recognize this new and improved Jughead right away. Previously relegated to the role of Archie's apathetic sidekick, actor Cole Sprouse takes the character to a much broodier place and serves as the show's ever-watchful narrator. Glow up, Jughead!
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