Riverdale fans know that the dark CW drama is based on the wholesome characters from Archie Comics. However, one thing that fans might not know is that Riverdale isn't the first time beloved characters like Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper, and Veronica Lodge appeared on the small screen — at least, in the flesh. Before the gloomy teen noir happened, an Archie Comics reunion film happened, and boy oh boy, am I glad that the CW went the dark route for its new take.
Thanks to Reddit, the trailer for To Riverdale and Back Again has resurfaced and it is as cringey as Polly being pregnant with her own cousin's twin babies. While the Cole Sprouse-starring series can veer into campiness, it's nowhere near as outright cheeseball as this 1990 TV film, which reunited the original gang 15 years after they left the town of Riverdale.
In the film, Reba actor Christopher Rich portrays Archie, who is now all grown-up and engaged to neither Betty (Lauren Holly) or Veronica (Karen Kopins). That doesn't stop either woman from pursuing a romance with the redheaded lawyer, because if there's going to be one thing consistent across the board, it's the baffling interest both women have in Archie.
Alas, there's no Bughead romance in this version of the Archie Comics universe. Instead, Jughead (Sam Whipple) has become ultra-neurotic since his offscreen divorce, and spends more time trying to connect with his son than dating. He also, at one point, performs a bizarre rendition of "Sugar, Sugar," which is nowhere near as good as the current Josie and the Pussycats version.
According to Vulture, who conducted an incredibly worthwhile interview with To Riverdale and Back Again screenwriter Evan Katz, the film, which aired on NBC, was slated to be a backdoor pilot before tanking in the ratings. That means that, yep — we could have gotten a version of Riverdale that was full-on cheese, in which Jason Blossom is probably alive and well, and there's no Black Hood stalking the citizens of the small town.
To see how things could have been, watch the teaser for To Riverdale and Back Again below.