Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again

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Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
Created by John Goldwater
Bob Montana
Directed by Dick Lowry
Produced by Graham Cottle
Written by Evan Katz
Starring Christopher Rich
Lauren Holly
Karen Kopins
Sam Whipple
Gary Kroeger
Music by Mark Snow
Country United States
Language English
Original channel NBC
Release date May 6, 1990
Running time 96 minutes (approx.)

Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (released on video as Archie: Return to Riverdale in the United States and Archie's Weekend Reunion in Australia) was a live-action television movie based on comic book characters published by Archie Comics. It was produced by DiC and premiered on NBC Sunday Night at the Movies in 1990.

The concept behind the movie was to combine the long-standing familiarity of Archie and the gang from the comics with adult issues. In this sense, it can be seen as being similar to other "updates" of family-friendly concepts for television such as The Bradys.

Plot[edit]

Archie Andrews, fifteen years after graduating from Riverdale High, has become a successful lawyer and is preparing to marry his fiancée, Pam, and move to "the big city." Before doing that, however, he returns home to Riverdale for his high school reunion.

Archie and company are all now in their early thirties, with the trials and tribulations one might expect to have happened to such a group over the years:

  • Betty, a grade school teacher, is constantly bossed around by her crummy boyfriend, Robert.
  • Veronica, having lived in France since graduation, has been married (and divorced) four times.
  • Jughead, now a psychiatrist, is also a divorcé with a son, Jordan. Jughead carries emotional baggage that manifests itself in a terrible fear of women. (A running gag in the movie is Jughead's desperation to avoid seeing Big Ethel during his visit to Riverdale.) This is played for laughs at the end when at the reunion it turns out that Big Ethel is no longer the gangly, awkward teenager she once was but is now a striking beauty.
  • Moose and Midge have gotten married and become chiropractors. They also have a son, Max, who hits it off with Jordan.

When Archie sees Betty and Veronica for the first time in fifteen years, all his old feelings for them come flooding back, threatening his engagement—and it doesn't help that the girls renew their pursuit of Archie, heedless of the fact that he has a fiancée. Meanwhile, Archie also tries to keep gym owner Reggie, helped along by an uncharacteristically menacing Mr. Lodge, from evicting Pop Tate from his soda shop. Archie ultimately saves the Chock'lit Shoppe, though he loses Pam in the bargain, and decides to stay in Riverdale.

Cast[edit]

Almost all of the characters in the movie are regular or recurring characters in the originating comics:

Actor Role
Christopher Rich Archie Andrews
Lauren Holly Betty Cooper
Karen Kopins Veronica Lodge
Sam Whipple Forsythe "Jughead" Jones
Gary Kroeger Reggie Mantle
Jeff Hochendoner Moose Mason
Debi Derryberry Midge Mason
Mike Nussbaum Pop Tate
Fran Ryan Miss Grundy
David Doyle Mr. Weatherbee
J.D. Hall Coach Clayton
Cindy Ambuehl Ethel Muggs (Big Ethel)
James Noble Hiram Lodge

Additional characters were mostly created for the movie to indicate the passage of time, such as the regulars' children or new romantic partners:

Actor Role
Billy Corben Jordan "Jughead Junior" Jones
Aeryk Egan Max Mason
Matt McCoy Robert Miller
Christina Haag Pam

Reception[edit]

The NBC movie, broadcast during the May sweeps period, was seen as a pilot for a possible series. Despite well-received performances from the actors and actresses portraying the Archie characters, however, the movie finished a disappointing 51st in the Nielsen ratings, having been beaten by the primetime premiere of the Kevin Costner/Sean Connery remake of The Untouchables on CBS and the powerful combination of Married… with Children and In Living Color on FOX.

Comic book version[edit]

Archie Comics published a one-shot comic book adaptation of the TV movie which coincided with its premiere. Stan Goldberg and Mike Esposito drew the sections of the book featuring the characters in flashback as teens, while Gene Colan drew characters as adults, in a less cartoony style. The comic also shows a flashback to an incident from where Archie and Betty were alone in a motel room together.[1]

Home video[edit]

The film was released on VHS in 1997 from New Horizons Home Video, with the movie retitled as Archie: Return to Riverdale.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Betty and Me #40, February 1972 Always a Bridesmaid in To Riverdale and Back Again: p.29 (1990)

External links[edit]