Riverdale's fifth season brought a lot of first for the hit The CW series, between having its teenage characters graduate high school, undergoing a significant several-year time jump, and a lengthy midseason hiatus. The series had no shortage of surprising twists and turns — and if you've been waiting to binge watch (or rewatch) the new season, you're in luck. Season 5 of Riverdale arrived on Netflix earlier this week, giving fans the opportunity to catch up just before Season 6 arrives next month.
Season 5 of Riverdale began on an interesting note, as it had to air several remaining episodes that had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's funny, we had shot almost two-thirds of episode 20, which was going to be our prom episode. And we looked at that footage and tried to see if there was a way we could cobble together that episode," showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained back in May of 2020. "We actually had shot the prom, where a lot of very dramatic things happen, but we still hadn't shot some big character moments between Archie and Veronica and Betty and Jughead. So we kind of just couldn't do that."
"However, when I saw the cut of 19, what's great about it is all of the kids are in one big story together united against Mr. Honey. And it does end on a pretty shocking, disturbing cliffhanger," Aguirre-Sacasa continued. "So, it sort of was like, "Oh wait a minute, this could be a great season finale" and then prom would be a great season premiere next year. So it worked out in kind of the best way possible given everything. Obviously we would have loved to have finished the full season, and the last three episodes are fantastic. But to me, this one is fun. It's a special conceit and it brings everyone together, which I think people love."
Once the time jump did take hold, it completely shifted the status quo for essentially all of the series' characters — with fascinating results.
"On a practical level we really wanted to — I call them still the kids [Laughs] — but for the kids to be playing characters closer to their age," Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Entertainment Tonight earlier this year. "And I think one of the hallmarks of Riverdale has been that it isn't a procedural. Every episode is its own genre and it's constantly reinventing itself and it felt like if we had stayed in high school, we might run the risk of playing the same beats and the same stories over and over again. So I think the idea was that it would sort of be a creative boost for the writers, a creative boost for the actors, and after four years of very gonzo, intricate, incestuous plotting, it was like, "Oh!" Well, we can just drop everyone into new storylines that feel organic to the characters, but allow us to feel like we can move a little more nimbly. Without the burden of, you know, Bughead dating or the burden of Archie still wrestling with the immediate death of his father. It felt like a way to freshen everything up and I feel like that was the big goal."
What do you think of Season 5 of Riverdale finally being on Netflix? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!