Although it started out as a dark take on the Archie Comics franchise, Riverdale has become its own niche of grim stories laced with levity in the form of jokes and songs. Riverdale might not technically qualify as a show-like “music series” like Joybut it has its fair share of musical moments.
To make original songs for Riverdale covering Broadway hits, the series didn’t shy away from its musical influences, even when the outcry from fans was negative. Riverdale has four musical episodes, a backdoor musical pilot, and dozens of other songs. Riverdale has a lot to like from Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), and Jughead (Cole Sprouse).
6 Non-musical episodes filled with musical numbers
Although not directly musical episodes, dozens of songs appear in regular episodes sung by the actors. Since the main plot points of Riverdale If Archie is trying to pursue a career in music, it’s no surprise that KJ Apa has sung his fair share of tracks. This is true for most actors.
Archie’s hits, including I will tryand Children in America, crowd pleaser. Pre-superstar Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) has a slew of hits, including Out tonight, back to blackand We don’t need another hero. Veronica, Cheryl and Betty are also both lucky enough to shine in songs that include Maybe this time all that jazz, cherry bomband Crazy world.
5 Hedwig gives Kevin a little story time (Wicked Little Town – S4 E17)
With the town unsettled with the third set of videotapes showing their homes and after Jughead’s death and resurrection, the classmates attempt to find solace in a talent show. In one of the few episodes directed by Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), the new principal, Mr. Honey, limits the interpretation of a song by Hedwig and the Angry Thumb. This sends the students into a wig-and-rhinestone-laden rebellion.
With one of the best musical openings of riverdale, Wicked little town kicks off with most of the cast members joining in to sing the title track. Wicked little town feels out of place as it depicts an ordinary high school after three years of intense storytelling. Wicked little town features the first appearance of The Archies inspired by the original comics and the start of a love affair between Betty and Archie.
4 The Beginning of the Seasonal Musical Episodes (One Night to Remember – S2 E18)
On the heels of storylines including a father killing his child and a serial killer terrorizing the city as The Black Hood, A night to remember shocked and intrigued fans. One night at Remember follows the teens as they put on the tube Carrie: The Musical with Cheryl Blossom in the lead role.
Betty and Jughead team up to find out who’s threatening Cheryl’s starring role. It ends with the shocking death of supporting character Midge Klump (Emilija Baranac) on opening night. The musical numbers are solidly executed. A night to remember features supporting characters like Kevin Keller, Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser), and even Betty’s mother, Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick). While Cheryl gets the spotlight, it’s Alice who shines in her portrayal of Stay here instead. A night to remember also kicked off the seasonal musical episode.
3 The musical episode of season 5 perfectly reflects the plot (Next To Normal – S5 E18)
After the death of Betty’s sister, Polly (Tiera Skovbye), next to normal focuses on the Cooper family as they come to terms with loss and learn to live with a broken family. The episode uses the story and music from the play by Brian Yorkey Next to normal, which follows a dysfunctional family after the loss of their son. In Alice’s psyche are her two deceased children, Charles (Wyatt Nash) and Polly, leading happy lives by her side and with Betty. These delusions can only go so far as to bring him happiness.
Jughead, Tabitha, Veronica, and Archie also face dead ends as they try to figure out what they’re up to. It is the only musical episode that perfectly reflects the plot. Next to normal’s placement in the season hurts the story, coming just before the finale. She’s not there, I’m the oneand I miss the mountains stand out as great pieces of Riverdale’s Next To Normal.
2 Heathers is iconic and relatable for teenage history (Big Fun – S3 E16)
The second seasonal musical takes place in the middle of the two main storylines – including Jughead’s side story about his drug-dealing mother. Lots of fun focuses on the annual musical, and season 3 is Heathers. As Veronica, Betty, Cheryl and Josie lead the cast, drama abounds as they each have relationship issues that run alongside the musical’s angst-filled tunes.
Sponsored by La Ferme and directed by Kevin and Evelyn Evernever (Zoé De Grand Maison), the show plays on the emotional drama of teens. Good performances include Veronica Rescue boat restitution and candy store by Cheryl and Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). In particular, the best song of Lots of fun is the interpretation of the main distribution of Seventeen which matches the characters perfectly. Lots of fun also featured the shocking revelation of Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray). Lots of fun isn’t the best musical episode because of the added comedic ADR of blowing and whipping hair during the numbers.
1 Josie and the Pussycats Return (The Pussycats Return – S5 E15)
After seasons without powerhouse girl group Josie And The Pussycats, the three return. Ashleigh Murray has returned from Katy Keen spin off. According to riverdale, Josie traveled to New York to pursue her singing career. While The return of the Pussycats isn’t technically a musical episode, it charted its own course and set up a series of potential musical spinoffs.
Because The return of the Pussycats is mostly focused on Josie, Val and Melody, the main characters take a step back. Although Veronica, Toni, and Tabitha Tate (Erinn Westbrook) perform throughout. The opening song It’s all coming back to me now sets the stage for a great episode. Fans even considered whether Josie and the Pussycats would get their own spinoff.
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