If you missed out on any of the recent adventures of Archie and his gang during Riverdale season 4, now’s your chance to catch up.
If there’s one positive to come out of our current crisis (and there absolutely isn’t but work with me for a second here) it is that people are finally appreciating the glut of television that surrounds us. Pre-Covid 19 the viewing model was that a show would drop to a streaming service, get binged, and then immediately be forgotten about as we collectively move forward to wrap our arms around the Next Big TV Thing.
But amid all of this, something started to happen. Due to people suddenly having (unwanted in most cases) free time, binge buzzers like Tiger King and Ozark didn’t just burn brightly and briefly but have remained an ongoing part of our cultural conversation.
Then there’s the fact that despite there already being more things to watch than any one person ever could in their lifetime, non-traditional programming such as Seth Rudetsky’s Stars in the House Zoom hangout and Toei’s Tokusatsu YouTube channel have emerged.
To badly paraphrase Andy Warhol, in a pandemic anyone with a Twitch channel or an Instagram account can be famous for 15 minutes.
And you know what? I think this is fantastic. I am not one of these writers who feels that there is ever enough TV because I love options — even if it means that I spend two hours trying to find something to watch before throwing on Broad City for the thousandth time. But more than anything I love how now is the time for current network shows to shine and get new eyes on them via all the streaming options available to us.
Regular Den of Geek readers know my work on this site primarily through my Archie coverage, a badge I wear with honor. When I was a 1980s kids asking my folks to buy me Archie digests at the supermarket did I ever dream of a day when there would be three Archieverse series on the air, let alone one. In these uncertain times whatever gets you through a day, and these shows do just that.
It all began with Riverdale, the CW’s delightfully silly teen drama that continues to blend murder, romance and goofy plot points like maple syrup blood feuds and killer RPG cosplayers into a thick milkshake of pure televisual satisfaction. This past season was no exception. Over the course of 19 episodes (there were supposed to be 22 before COVID-19 forced production to shut down), Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica endured a lot of absurdity that simply wouldn’t fly on ANY series — let alone one based on 80-year-old comic characters.
But that’s the thing about Riverdale and Archie comics in general, they are unafraid to try to adjust to the times and reinvent themselves. Thus instead of plots about typical high school life we get episodes about murderous preppies. Or underground competitive tickle clubs. And let’s not forget random bear attacks. This show is glorious because it subverts expectations so much, resulting in television that stands out at a point in history when everything can be watched all the time.
That’s something miraculous really.
I’m mentioning all of this in order to inform you that Riverdale season 4 hits Netflix on Thursday, May 14th. I know that the Bughead and Choni shippers (don’t ask) will be there regardless. But I’m presenting this information primarily to those of you who may not have given this show and its rampant shirtlessness/insanity/weird musical numbers a shot. I genuinely think you’ll love it. And really, can’t you use a good distraction right now?