Comic tie-in starring New Zealander KJ Apa impressing reviewers ahead of US release

Kiwi actor KJ Apa's new show is about to premiere in the United States, and the first reviews are positive.

Riverdale is a dark re-imagining of the classic Archie comics. Apa stars as Archie Andrews himself, who finds himself involved in a bit of a love square while also dealing with the death of a classmate.

Reviews are beginning to trickle out, and the consensus seems to be that it is perfect television - as long as you love primetime soaps.

Upon its premiere at Comic-Con last July, Nerdist described the show as "the best new drama of the season" and made note of how Archie had become "hot".


Comic site Newsarama called it a "daring, if divisive, take on Archie and the gang, but if the mystery and characters can find a smart payoff to justify this dark twist, Riverdale might turn out to be the CW's most satisfying comics destination yet".

TVLine's reviewer gave it a B+ rating and compared the show with The OC: "Another show that took a seemingly worn-out teen-soap formula and re-energised it to create something altogether new ... and addictive."

While Forbes was positive about the update, it did note that Riverdale "goes so far into the direction of 90s stylings that it will turn away anyone who doesn't have a predisposition for such material".

The Hollywood Reporter called it a "crazed dare of a TV show, and while it may defy ... qualitative norms when it comes to things like narrative coherence and character consistency, it is utterly committed to the strange thing it's doing.

"[Though] I can list questions I don't need answers to and relationships I'm not invested in, Riverdale is all-in on its gimmick, and I can admire that."

The show co-stars Luke Perry, Molly Ringwald and Cole Sprouse, and features such classic Archie characters as Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Josie.

Riverdale premieres in New Zealand on Netflix on February 27, and new episodes will be released weekly.