It’s not your parents’ Archie . . . or Betty . . . or Veronica.

Some of the comic-book world’s most celebrated characters get a big, frequently dark transformation in a CW series named for their town: “Riverdale.’’ Premiering Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9 p.m. on Ch. 11, the drama from prolific executive producer Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,’’ “Arrow,’’ “Blindspot’’) involves the mysterious death of popular student Jason Blossom in the quintessentially all-American locale where musically inclined Archie Andrews (played by KJ Apa) is viewed romantically by both longtime friend Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and sophisticated new arrival Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes).

Other familiar figures featured in the program include Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’’), Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) — as in Josie and the Pussycats — and the late Jason’s sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch).

Famously a former television teen himself, “Beverly Hills, 90210’’ alum Luke Perry portrays Archie’s blue-collar father, Mädchen Amick (“Twin Peaks”) as Betty’s newspaper-editor mother and Marisol Nichols (“24’’) as Veronica’s mom. Robin Givens has a recurring role as Josie’s mother and Riverdale’s mayor, and Molly Ringwald will surface later in the series as the mother who deserted Archie and his father.

“We’re not the happy all-American family,” Perry told the Los Angeles Times. “Archie’s parents are separated, he lives with his dad. We’re the working-class side of Riverdale. We’re the blue-collar guys. I’m a construction worker and it’s me and my boy, and we’re going to figure it out together, and it’s kind of neat because traditionally in the comics, Archie came from a happy family, you know everything was always great and apple pie in the window and all that stuff, and it ain’t like that here.”

“Riverdale’’ debuts just after the 75th-anniversary year of the Archie character’s first appearance, and even if the show seems to take major gambles with the franchise, it has direct lineage. One of its principal writers is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the chief creative officer of Archie Comics (in 2011, he was hired to rework Broadway’s troubled “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark”) , and executive producer Jon Goldwater is a son of that brand’s co-founder, John L. Goldwater (who developed “Archie’’ with writer and artist Bob Montana).

Co-star Reinhart notes that Archie and company are “humans, and humans have darkness to them. Archie Comics appreciates that we are putting a modern spin on these iconic characters that have been around for so long, and we’re making them come off the page in a very real way. We’re able to create our versions of them, but it’s been a very collaborative process between the actors and the writers and the producers. We’ve crafted these characters together, which is rare. And it’s great.’’

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Since “Riverdale’’ is cast largely with relative newcomers, Reinhart voices gratitude for the acting veterans surrounding them: “Luke [Perry] is like our fairy godfather in a way, always checking in with us and making sure we’re OK. He’s so wise, and he’ll talk to us individually and share his insight and his experiences. He’s incredibly helpful and very sweet. He was unfathomably huge when ‘90210’ was on, so he shares with us ways to stay grounded, and it’s good to have someone who’s been through that. We see him as a real person, not an icon.’’

As the launch of “Riverdale’’ nears, Reinhart is wishing for acceptance of the line it walks between the nostalgically familiar and the very updated. She says, “We just hope that people know these aren’t the stereotypical characters that they kind of were on the page. They are real.’’