April 11, 2015

THE NEW ARCHIES



THE NEW ARCHIES
(NBC, September 12-December 12, 1987)

DiC Entertainment, Saban Entertainment



MAIN CAST:
Marvin Goldhar – Mr. Weatherbee
Colin Waterman – Eugene
Linda Sorenson – Miss Grundy
Greg Swanson – Coach Kleats
Rex Hagon – Hot Dog

For the history of Archie, check out the post here.


Archie Comics ad for the show, featuring Miss Grundy, Mr. Weatherbee, Amani, Reggie,
Veronica, Archie, Moose, Jughead, Eugene, Betty, Hot Dog and Red.


            After being a force on Saturday morning throughout the late 60s and most of the 70s, Archie Comics’ flagship franchise took almost a decade-long break before returning to the airwaves. With the current trend of babyfication dominating the 80s, the latest Archie show sought to follow suit by reducing its principle characters from high school aged down to junior high, resulting in the creation of The New Archies co-produced by DiC and Saban.


Reggie, disguised as Veronica, with bully Fangs.

            This wasn’t the first time the Archie crew was de-aged. In 1956, Archie began publishing a series of comics called Little Archie, in which the characters were all elementary school aged (and yet somehow still had the same teachers). The New Archies was a product of its time, being firmly ingrained in the 80s in the character designs by Jim Simon and Gary Payn. Archie (J. Michael Roncetti) sported a mullet, the clothing was loud and colorful (Michael Fantini’s Jughead wore a pink beanie, of all things), and their favorite hangout was updated from a Chock’lit Shop to a Video CafĂ© where they could eat and play arcade games. Veronica (Alyson Court) even spoke with a Valley Girl accent, which was a departure from the southern accent all her other animated and radio counterparts featured. Little Archie resident bully Fangs Fogarty even appeared on the series, marking his animated debut. Also carried over from Little Archie was the fact Archie had a dog, however his name was Red rather than Spotty as it was in the comics.


Eugene and Amani learning they like each other as they are.

Two new characters were created specifically for the show: Eugene (Colin Waterman) and Amani (Karen Burthwright), both black characters designed to add diversity to the show’s cast. Eugene was essentially a race-swapped version of the comics’ resident genius Dilton Doiley, effectively condensing his character with that of Chuck Clayton (sans his artistic talents). Amani was just Chuck’s girlfriend Nancy Woods from the comics with a new name, for inexplicable reasons. Both Eugene and Amani even became a couple during the show like Chuck and Nancy.


Comic book ad for NBC's 1987 Saturday morning.

Despite the 80s imagery and music by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, the stories played out relatively close to how they would in the comics. When not dealing with the ordinary problems of everyday life, they would be drawn into the world of the fantastic through Eugene’s inventions or encounters with strange beings, like aliens. Unfortunately, The New Archies lacked the staying power of the earlier animated efforts and only lasted a single season of 13 episodes on NBC. The series did gain an extended life by airing reruns from 1988-95 on Canada’s YTV, on The Family Channel’s Saturday mornings from 1991-93, and on Toon Disney from 1998-2002.


The New Archies #1.

To promote the series, Archie published a series based on the show. The comic ran for 22 issues between 1987 and 1990. In 1988, Archie began to publish a secondary digest title that only lasted 14 issues, ending in 1991. Although these character designs were retired with the end of the show and the comics, the various stories have been reprinted later on in various Archie digest collections. Three VHS collections with two episodes each were released. While no plans to release the series to DVD have yet been announced, DHX Media, the current rights holders to the DiC library, have released five complete episodes of the show on their DHX Retro TV Youtube account.



EPISODE GUIDE (no synopses available):
“The Visitor / Ballot Box Blues” (9/12/87)

“The Last Laugh / Thief! (of Hearts)” (9/19/87)

“I Got to Be me, Or Is It You? / Sir Jughead Jones” (9/26/87)

“The Awful Truth / Jughead Predicts” (10/3/87)  

“Future Shock / Stealing the Show” (10/10/87)

“Hamburger Helpers / Goodbye Ms. Grundy” (10/17/87)

"Red to the Rescue / Jughead the Jinx” (10/24/87)

“Telegraph, Telephone, Tell Reggie / Wooden it Be Loverly” (10/31/87)
“I Was A 12 Year Old Werewolf / The Prince of Riverdale” (11/7/87)

“Loose Lips Stops Slips / A Change of Minds” (11/14/87)

“Incredible Shrinking Archie / Gunk For Gold” (11/21/87)

“Jughead’s Millions / Making of Mr. Richteous” (11/28/87)

“Take My Butler, Please / Hooray for Hollywood” (12/5/87)

“Got Hair? / Teenage Birthday Party” (12/12/87)
 

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