Sigh. It’s been a whole week since that shocking finale, and we’re still not okay. We’re desperately trying to find something to fill the Riverdale-shaped hole in our hearts. If you loved Riverdale and need a substitute to get you through the in-between, here are 10 shows that you’ll love.
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Above all other comparisons Riverdale has gotten, Twin Peaks is the most heavily referenced. In fact, Riverdale even gives a nod to the ’90s murder mystery in its opening credits. Twin Peaks has a lot in common with Riverdale. Both shows open with a murder, and Riverdale borrows pretty heavily, stylistically, from its predecessor.
You can watch the original, which only has two seasons, on Netflix or Hulu. But we’re all in luck, as Showtime has rebooted the gritty noir drama, and its newest season will premiere May 21. Most of the main characters will reprise their roles, plus, the reboot promises some exciting new casting as well.
Big Little Lies
This is also a murder mystery, but the crime is far from the best thing about the show. Starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, the show is about a sleepy little beach town with a lot of juicy secrets.
It follows a group of female friends as they navigate their way through their relationship woes, professional struggles and parenting problems. You’ll have to wait until the end of the season, (kind of like Riverdale) to get to the bottom of the whodunnit, but it will be totally worth it. You can watch Big Little Lies‘ only season on HBOGo.
With each season serving as a stand-alone effort, Fargo offers you the chance to pick your television poison. Much like Riverdale, every season focuses on the shadowy underbelly of a small town, and takes an unflinching look at its characters.
It’s also dark and eccentric, and always about some sort of seedy dealings. It’s a lot less campy and frothy than Riverdale, but it has enough tongue-in-cheek wit to remind you of Archie and the gang. You can watch the first two seasons of Fargo on Hulu, and season three is airing now on FX.
The Vampire Diaries
If you need a healthy dose of silly, supernatural teen melodrama with your mysteries, then The Vampire Diaries will definitely scratch that itch. Since it’s from the same network as Riverdale, you’ll recognize some of the same aesthetics, which usually just means there’s a lot of shirtless hunks running around looking pensive.
Although The Vampire Diaries aired its last episode earlier this year, it’s still a fan favorite. This is a perfect solution to your Riverdale loneliness. You can spend the summer bingeing all eight seasons on Netflix. You won’t even notice how sad you are without Betty and Jughead.
One of the best things about Riverdale is the way it treats its female characters. They’re strong and smart and pretty much run the show. The creators had to draw inspiration from the The CW’s original female badass Veronica Mars. She’s the template against which all heroines should be measured.
Veronica was a high school sleuth with a keen wit and wisdom far beyond her years. She balanced her teenage ennui with a dark humor that endeared fans to her. If it weren’t for characters like Veronica Mars, we wouldn’t have contemporary characters like Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. You’ll probably have to rely on iTunes to get your Veronica Mars fix, as it’s not available on traditional streaming services.
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It may not seem like these two shows would have that much in common, but they really do. When Dawson’s Creek first debuted in all it’s ’90s splendor, it was known for it’s characters’ precocious sense of their own existentialism and their extremely advanced vocabulary. They spoke to each other in intricate monologues and used references far beyond their frame of reference.
Looking back, it’s super cheesy, but Riverdale uses this same techniques in its dialogue and character interactions. It’s nothing for Veronica and her pals to invoke Truman Capote, neo-noir cinema and global politics. It’s jarring to those unfamiliar with the texts it’s referencing, but it works nonetheless. Plus, you can’t deny the similarities to the Joey/Dawson/Pacey love triangle. Archie is Riverdale’s own Dawson Leery, Veronica is a hipper, edgier Jen Lindley. You can jump on your time machine via Netflix and enjoy all six seasons.
It doesn’t seem like you would need an excuse to watch Gossip Girl, but if you’re missing Riverdale since the finale, this is as good a reason as any. The other CW show focuses on the drama and intrigue of a group of high schoolers that have little to no adult supervision.
As in Riverdale, the parental characters have intrigue of their own, and it often intersects with the troubles of its younger castmates. Additionally, everyone is so attractive, you have a hard time taking their problems very seriously. The entire series is available on Netflix.
Pretty Little Liars
If the reason you love Riverdale is because you like watching teenagers solving mysteries, Scooby Doo-style, then you should definitely check out Pretty Little Liars. It’s an all-girl mystery that finds its incredibly well-dressed stars chasing an invisible cyber-stalker called A.
Pretty Little Liars take quite a bit more commitment than Riverdale, however. Its plot lines are exponentially harder to keep track of, as there’s a lot more subterfuge in getting to the whodunnit of the matter. The series is available on Netflix.
Angel is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off that feels more like a grown-up cousin to the vampire drama. There are still lots of supernatural threats and wacky relationship drama, but it’s a little more mature than you would expect a show about a vampire private detective to be.
If you like how Riverdale doesn’t always take itself so seriously while doing a serious job, then you’ll absolutely love Angel.
Dead Like Me
This show is a hidden gem of the Showtime canon, and was wildly under-appreciated in its own time. It was weird and out of balance long before it was trendy to be so, and audiences didn’t really know how to receive it.
Dead Like Me follows a young girl through her afterlife experience as a grim reaper. Invisible to humans, she lurks around her assigned person and then ushers them into death with a sweep of her wrist. It’s a macabre but also deeply poignant and pretty funny. It takes the darkest moments of humanity and forces us to laugh at them. Riverdale uses the Blossoms to do this very thing.
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What shows will you be watching to tide you over until Riverdale season 2? What did I leave out? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
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(Images courtesy of Showtime, HBO, FX, The CW, The WB, Freeform)