When Riverdale premiered in 2017, the Archie Comic characters were juniors in high school grappling with the unexpected death of a fellow classmate. The following seasons were also set in the upperclassmen years of high school, with events like prom, graduation, and the occasional serial killer on the loose.
For Season 5, it was announced that Riverdale was going to take a peek into the future by aging up all the characters seven years and skipping through time. The characters would be college graduates and not quite as close as they used to be but would return to Riverdale to save the dying town.
A time-jump is a risky plot device that can either lead to the rise or fall of a series, and there are plenty of reasons why Riverdale could both benefit and suffer from this dramatic change.
10 Good Idea: The Cast’s Ages
Although only two calendar years have passed between seasons 1 and 4 of Riverdale, the cast has aged normally, making them much older than the characters they’re portrayed. Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead was born in 1992, making him a decade older than his character. Archie’s KJ Apa is the closest to his character’s high school age at 23.
With a time-jump, the characters will all be around 25 years old, and this much more realistic for how the actors look as 20-something’s. Now the audience can stop having to bend reality and believe that grown adults look like teenagers.
9 Bad Idea: Seven Years Is A Long Time
When Alias jumped forward two years in its third season way back in 2003, fans thought that was a massive jump. There was so much that happened that needed to be explained and couldn’t within the confines of 22 forty-minute episodes.
By going seven years into the future, Riverdale is leaving a lot up to the viewers’ imaginations. Fans are left to make their own interpretations of what happened in those missing years, because they may never be shown on screen.
8 Good Idea: There’s More To Life Than High School
Seasons 1-4 of Riverdale loved reminding the audience that despite catching serial killers and solving murders, the gang still had to study for their SATs and be on the football field every Friday night.
The high school schtick got tiring quickly (i.e this scene), and there is so much more story to tell with the Archie Comic characters than just their high school years. It was about time for Archie and his friends to grow up.
7 Bad Idea: The College Years Are Missing
Despite a lot of talk in the fourth season about where the characters were going to go to college, we never get to see any of their choices pan out. Betty got accepted into Yale, but seven years later she has already graduated and is in the FBI academy.
Jughead has written and published a whole novel, Toni went to school for social work and is now a guidance counselor, and Kevin is a drama teacher at Riverdale High. College is a pivotal point in most people’s lives, so it would have been interesting to see all of them navigate life outside of high school.
6 Good Idea: Exploration of New Relationships
Betty and Jughead got together six episodes into Season 1 and, aside from a few short breaks, stayed together until they went their separate ways for college. Similarly, Archie and Veronica were together for most of the series’ run.
With seven years between two breakups within the core four, it leaves room to explore new pairings. Betty and Archie’s romance is much more spotlighted in the comics, and the time jump might be the perfect chance for them to finally explore their chemistry and long-time adoration of one another.
5 Bad Idea: Unresolved Storylines
A lot of the supporting character story arcs got shafted in the beginning seasons of Riverdale. Josie McCoy left as part of Katy Keene‘s spinoff series, but that got canceled, so what does that mean for Josie’s place in Riverdale all these years later?
Additionally, “The Farm” was a huge part of Season 3, and the aftermath exploring the psychological trauma its members endured was practically nonexistent. The cult members were lied to, brain-washed, and operated on, but none of it seemed to leave a lasting impact. Now jumping forward into the future, there’s a good chance it’ll never be acknowledged again.
4 Good Idea: Crime Solving Now Makes Sense
Betty started the show as the sweet girl-next-door and quickly became an FBI prodigy. Her time writing for the Blue & Gold newspaper made her good at asking the important questions, but it did seem odd that a 17-year-old would be so good at catching such evil bad guys.
Now that she’s in her mid-20’s and has actually been trained to catch killers on the loose and solve mysteries, her storylines will hopefully make a bit more sense. It doesn’t seem super unrealistic for her to work with the FBI anymore like it did while she was still in high school.
3 Bad Idea: Breakups
When Archie returns to Riverdale after seven years in the army, he is first reunited with a pregnant Toni who informs him of all the happenings in town. He asks about Cheryl, which turns out to be a sore subject for Toni, an indication that the two ended their relationship, something that never played out explicitly on screen.
Though it was implied around graduation that Toni and Cheryl weren’t going to last (Cheryl’s grandmother demanded they end their relationship or she would no longer speak to her), never knowing what happened to them in detail was kind of disappointing.
2 Good Idea: Introduction of New Characters
Most times when new characters just a long-running series they can either wreak momentary havoc and cause tension between main characters or they end up staying for the long haul.
Riverdale could benefit from adding more BIPOC characters, given that the focus has been around four white characters for the past four years. Joining the mix this season is Tabitha Tate (played by Erinn Westbrook), Pop Tate’s granddaughter who is running the diner. Her introduction sets up a potential relationship between her and Jughead, which would be a nice change of pace from the Betty and Jug saga.
1 Bad Idea: Missing Key Life Events
It is revealed in the post-time jump episode that Veronica Lodge is now a married woman, having married a man that resembles her father in more ways than one and works on Wall Street named Chadwick Gekko.
Veronica and Chad have been married for about a year and have already endured a big and ominous “accident.” When she returns to Riverdale, her old friends seem to know she has married but weren’t present for the big day. While it’s normal for people to grow apart, one would think Ronnie’s best friends would have been there for the most important day of her life.
Next: Riverdale: 10 Plot Holes Fans Find Difficult To Ignore
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