Archie Andrews is going to be killed off this summer in the Life with Archie series, after which the series will end.
Not sure what I think about that. I never read the Life with Archie series. It is his life as an adult, after the high school years. It is purposely made as a hypothetical storyline. I didn’t read it because I am not interested in how his character develops and changes over a multi-year or in this case multi-generational story. I understand that after a while writers run out of ideas and start to look for ways to open up new subplots. I think that is why shows sometimes die a slow death.
Adding new characters into an ensemble cast rarely works to revitalize a show. Yes there are exceptions, Law and Order being a perfect example. The reason that works is because the show’s formula does not change as the actors do. They follow the same basic building blocks when developing new scripts. When I sit down to watch I know what I am getting, and I like that or I wouldn’t be turing it on in the first place.
Cases where it doesn’t work are when you take an existing character and change their behaviours in an attempt to show “growth”. Seriously, nobody wanted to see Ross and Rachel EVER get together. It would break one of the fundamental chemistries in the show. Spin offs often fail for the same reason. Archie Bunker without Edith was, well, not Archie Bunker. You could have made up an entirely new character to own the bar and wrote the same scripts. Making it a spin off was just a cheap marketing ploy looking to leverage the brand.
Far better to end a show on a high note than to change it too much. Leave us wanting more and let the show run in syndication for decades. Seinfeld, The Closer, even Faulty Towers all ended at or near their peak viewership. The Closer wrapped up when it was cable TV’s highest rated drama. We’ll have to see whether the spin off (Major Crimes) is a success. I believe it will be as the writers seem to be holding true to the character’s personalities and the original’s formula.
Back to Archie Andrews. Archie is supposed to be all about the high school years. It is the jalopy, the malt shop, the getting in trouble with Mr. Lodge. A grown up Archie is not Archie, its some other guy who only looks like Archie. So go ahead and kill the doppelgänger. As much as I think getting killed is out of place in an Archie comic, you should have never created grown up Archie in the first place.