April 11, 2015


(NBC, September 12-December 5, 1987)

DiC Entertainment, Saban Entertainment

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.

             It had been almost a decade since the last animated series featuring characters from Archie Comics had graced television screens, after being a constant presence since the 1968 debut of The Archie Show. DiC Entertainment and Saban Entertainment sought to rectify that by acquiring the rights to Archie’s characters and bringing them back in an all-new series. The hook this time was that it would take advantage of the babyfication craze started by the runaway success of Muppet Babies and de-age the cast from high schoolers to middle schoolers. Of course, this wasn’t the first time the Archie crew was depicted as younger; in 1956, Archie published a series of comics called Little Archie which followed them in elementary school (although somehow still having the same teachers they would in high school).

Reggie, disguised as Veronica, with bully Fangs.

             The characters were still the same as they had always been. Archie (J. Michael Roncetti) was a lovable klutz who kept accidentally finding his way into trouble; Jughead (Michael Fantini) was a lazy chowhound; Betty (Lisa Coristine) was the sweet girl-next-door with a crush on Archie; Veronica (Alyson Court) was the spoiled rich girl who liked stealing Archie from Betty; Reggie (Sunny Besen Thrasher) was the conniving prankster; Big Ethel (Jazzmin Lausanne) was tall, lanky and awkward; and Big Moose (Victor Erdos) was a boneheaded jock. Additionally, principal Mr. Weatherbee (Marvil Goldhar), teacher Miss Grundy (Linda Sorenson) and Coach Kleats (Greg Swanson) were all present to keep the madcap shenanigans under control at Riverdale Junior High. Carrying over from Little Archie was bully Fangs Fogarty and the fact Archie had a dog (named Red rather than Spotty).

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

Two new characters were created specifically for the show to add some diversity to the cast. Eugene (Colin Waterman) was a combination of resident genius Dilton Doiley and cartoonist Chuck Clayton (sans the artistic talent, however). Amani (Karen Burthwright) was essentially 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.

The New Archies debuted on NBC on September 12, 1987, after having been showcased the night before on the preview special Alf Loves a Mystery. It was written by Pat Allee, Scott Anderson, Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Jon Cohen, Herb Englehardt, Gary Greenfield, Jack Hanrahan, Ben Hurst, Dennis O’Flaherty and Kimmer Ringwald, who also served as story editor and developed the show. Each episode was broken up into two story segments. Along with producing, Haim Saban composed the music with Shuki Levy and it was animated by Toei Animation. The stories played out relatively close to how they would in the comics, featuring slice of life adventures around Riverdale. When not dealing with dances, pageants and homework, they would be drawn into the world of the fantastic through Eugene’s inventions going haywire, body doubles and daydreams. Several episodes borrowed plots directly from the comics, such as “Goodbye Ms. Grundy” and “Wooden it Be Lovely”. 

No mistaking this decade with Betty, Archie, Veronica and Jughead's fashion choices.

The series was a product of its time, being firmly ingrained in the 80s in the character designs by Jim Simon and Gary Payn. Not only were the character outfits often loud and in keeping with current style trends, but Archie also sported a mullet. Veronica had an inconsistent Valley Girl accent; a change from the southern accent she was depicted with throughout all of her other animated and radio representations. Their favorite hangout was changed from the Chock’lit Shop, a classic diner, to a Video CafĂ© where they could eat and play arcade games; although it was still run by kindly Terry “Pop” Tate. 

The New Archies #1.

Unfortunately, The New Archies lacked the staying power of the earlier animated efforts and only lasted a single season of 13 episodes. 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. Archie published a comic set in the world of the show between 1987 and 1990 running 22 issues, and a digest magazine series between 1988 and 1991 running 14 issues. 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, digitally in Pep Digital #54 in 2013, and in a collected edition published in 2020. Ja-Ru produced a line of novelty toys featuring the show’s branding, including a fake money and keyring set, a ring toss game and a disappearing ink gag. St. Louis area McDonald’s included six bumper car toys featuring the characters in their Happy Meals in 1988. In 1989, Diamond Publishing produced a set of stickers and an album utilizing images from the episodes.

Jughead tries to nap in Miss Grundy's class.

Three VHS collections with an episode each were released by Golden Book Video. While no plans to release the series to DVD have yet been announced, DHX Media, the current rights holders to the DiC library, had the first five episodes released on one of their YouTube channels before their changeover to WildBrain. The series was made available to stream on Amazon Prime Video with a CBS All Access account. It was also available on Roku, Hoopla, Tubi, Paramount+, and in Spanish on Vix.

“The Visitor / Ballot Box Blues” (9/12/87) – Eugene’s invention accidentally shoots down a UFO and the gang tries to help the alien get home. / Betty and Veronica both run for class president with Archie and Reggie as their campaign managers.
“The Last Laugh / Thief! (of Hearts)” (9/19/87) – When Reggie’s pranks get him in trouble with Fangs, he has to set Fangs up with Veronica for the dance. / Clues lead the gang to believe Mr. Weatherbee is a local jewel thief.
“I Got to Be me, Or Is It You? / Sir Jughead Jones” (9/26/87) – Amani and Eugene have crushes on each other and the gang helps change them to attract the other. / Believing Jughead is due to inherit a fortune, Reggie and Veronica give him lessons in snobbery.
“The Awful Truth / Jughead Predicts” (10/3/87) – Veronica plans to sabotage Betty in the Miss Junior Riverdale pageant with Eugene’s truth-telling machine. / A clunk on the head enables Jughead to tell the future, which causes trouble for Reggie.
“Future Shock / Stealing the Show” (10/10/87) – After learning that the picnic queen and king usually end up married, Archie imagines what his future would hold if he won. / When Betty is cast as the lead in the school play, Veronica makes plans to take the role for herself.
“Hamburger Helpers / Goodbye Ms. Grundy” (10/17/87) – Jughead bets Veronica he could give up burgers for a week in exchange for her buying all he can eat for a day. / Archie overhears Miss Grundy is considering going to another school and her students try to change her mind.
“Red to the Rescue / Jughead the Jinx” (10/24/87) – A neighbor is determined to get Red taken away for a series of disturbances, but first they have to find him and her cat. / Jughead believes himself a jinx after smashing a mirror, and Reggie is determined to make that true.
“Telegraph, Telephone, Tell Reggie / Wooden it Be Loverly” (10/31/87) – Reggie plans to spoil the gang’s party until he learns the party is for him. / The gang rallies to save their tree house from Reggie’s uncle’s development, but their efforts are sabotaged from the inside.
“I Was A 12 Year Old Werewolf / The Prince of Riverdale” (11/7/87) – Archie accidentally gets some chemicals spilled on him that turns him into a wolf-boy. / Archie changes places with a prince who looks like him.
“Loose Lips Stops Slips / A Change of Minds” (11/14/87) – The kids all try to do a good deed sufficient enough to win a miniature statue of the town’s founder. / Eugene’s latest invention causes him and Moose to swap minds.
“Incredible Shrinking Archie / Gunk for Gold” (11/21/87) – While trying to make perfume for Veronica, Archie instead creates a formula that shrinks him and Jughead. / Archie accidentally causes Eugene’s formula to become a substance that will help the school win at soccer.
“Jughead’s Millions / Making of Mr. Righteous” (11/28/87) – Jughead invests in a stock for a school project and it ends up taking off. / Moose accidentally activates an untested robot duplicate of Eugene and brings him to school, believing it to be the real Eugene.
“Take My Butler, Please / Hooray for Hollywood” (12/5/87) – Smithers becomes Archie’s butler after Archie saves him from a runaway piano. / Tired of how everyone perceives her, Betty decides to get a Hollywood makeover and a new personality.

Originally posted in 2015. Updated in 2024.

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