CHOCKLIT SHOPPE NOIR

India Today - - LEISURE - —Jabir

Anew TV se­rial pre­mier­ing this week prom­ises a rein­car­na­tion of the Amer­i­can teenagers a gen­er­a­tion of In­dian chil­dren loved. But will we love them still?

Archie Andrews and his ‘gang’ have a lot to an­swer for to a cer­tain gen­er­a­tion of In­di­ans. The eter­nal Amer­i­can teenager who be­gan life in the 1940s some­how be­came a ‘youth icon’ for comic-ad­dicted desi kids, par­tic­u­larly in the im­port-sub­sti­tu­tion decades of the 1960s and 70s. There’s an ar­gu­ment to be made that Archie was ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for the eco­nomic lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of the 1990s, and the trans­for­ma­tion of In­dian cul­ture that ac­com­pa­nied it. You know: piz­zas, burg­ers, milk­shakes, dat­ing…

But the peren­ni­ally preppy ado­les­cent didn’t age well and fell be­hind in the var­i­ous tides of con­sumerism and new me­dia that swept more re­cent gen­er­a­tions of In­dian kids. A shrink­ing au­di­ence in the comic’s home mar­ket has seen var­i­ous at­tempts to re­brush the brand with more re­al­ity and diver­sity in­clud­ing new gay and In­dian char­ac­ters but ap­par­ently to lit­tle avail. With a star cast that in­cludes K.J. Apa (Archie Andrews), Molly Ring­wald (Mary Andrews), Luke Perry (Fred Andrews), Camila Men­des (Veron­ica Lodge) and Olivia Ryan Stern as Tina

Pa­tel (the ‘In­dian Veron­ica’), Riverdale might change all that. The se­rial is be­ing talked up as a ‘sub­ver­sive’ noirish, sexy and dark take on the hith­erto vanilla world of Archie and Co. David Lynch’s leg­en­dar­ily spooky 1990 se­ries Twin

Peaks has been in­voked as an in­flu­ence. As it hap­pens, that se­ries is be­ing re­vived this year and will re­lease in May. And just to add to the woowoo: Mäd­chen Amick of Twin Peaks plays Betty’s mom in Riverdale, Alice Cooper. (Riverdale pre­miers on Col­ors In­fin­ity on Jan­uary 27, 7 pm)

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