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Shows Riverdale fans should check out before the moody teen series returns

We’re still a few months away from Riverdale’s return, so why not catch up on these similarly delightful shows in the meantime?

Updated

Riverdale is a special breed of teen drama. Based on the popular Archie comics, it’s made specifically with adults in mind. Everything from the gloomy tone to the on-the-nose voice-overs to the bizarre twists are testament to that. It doesn’t stop teenagers from loving it though, and the series has become a bona-fide hit ever since its premiere back in 2017.

Moreover, with Netflix owning the international rights for Riverdale, the show’s success has exploded outside US borders as well. Fans from all over the world dissect every episode as soon as it drops on the streaming service and come up with theories surrounding the many mysteries plaguing the fictional town. All in all, the show’s popularity is on the rise, with Netflix scheduled to debut a companion series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, later this year.

Until then, we still have Riverdale Season 3 to look forward to, which is slated for early October. If the teaser trailer is any indication of what’s to come, the show will become even more insane – which is never a bad thing. The characters will band together to overcome Archie’s arrest, Ronnie will be gearing up to open a speakeasy and we’re betting we’ll get yet another glimpse at Betty’s dark side. However, since the premiere is still months away, you may want something similar to tide you over until then.

10 shows like Riverdale

  1. Pretty Little Liars
  2. The Vampire Diaries
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  4. Skins
  5. Gossip Girl
  6. Veronica Mars
  7. Misfits
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Teen Wolf
  10. Broadchurch

1. Pretty Little Liars


Pretty Little Liars follows four best friends who reunite one year after the queen bee of the group, Alison, goes missing. Soon after, they begin to receive threatening messages from someone named “A” and need to figure out how far they are willing to go to keep their secrets hidden. Add some relationship drama into the mix and you’ve got yourself the perfect guilty binge.

While the story is sometimes predictable and the melodrama can become exhausting, there’s no denying the show’s charm. Thanks to a great cast and an overall feeling of suspense, Pretty Little Liars is likely to appeal to viewers of all ages, especially since it tends to keep fans guessing about the identity of the mysterious “A”.

Stream it on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings
  • Sasha Pieterse as Alison DiLaurentis
  • Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery
  • Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields

2. The Vampire Diaries


Vampires are nothing new. Yet, the appeal of The Vampire Diaries is universal, especially thanks to a few extremely compelling characters and plenty of unexpected twists. Set in the fictional town Mystic Falls, the show revolves around Elena, a teenager who becomes enthralled with the world of two vampire brothers and, as a result, has to learn how to deal with all the mayhem associated with the supernatural world.

Overall, the series is an excellent example of how to properly tell captivating stories at a feverish rate, delivering cliffhanger after cliffhanger and allowing characters to grow in a believable way as seasons go by. It’s engaging, fast-paced and addictive. You’d be crazy not to bite.

Stream The Vampire Diaries on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore
  • Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore
  • Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert
  • Candice King as Caroline Forbes

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer


If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you’re likely already familiar with this acclaimed supernatural drama. With a reboot currently in the works, now is the perfect time to revisit the original. Buffy the Vampire Slayer centres on Buffy, who is far from your typical teenager. She’s a Slayer, one in a long line of young women chosen by fate to battle evil. Over the course of seven seasons, she and her Scooby gang of friends have to deal with vampires, demons and all sorts of exotic dark forces.

Considered one of the greatest supernatural teen shows ever, Buffy successfully stands the test of time. While some of the special effects will look dated to contemporary viewers, the show has a lot of heart, relying on universal themes like friendship and inner strength. Plus, it’s compulsively watchable.

You can purchase Buffy the Vampire Slayer from digital retailers like Google Play and iTunes.

Cast:

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Anne Summers
  • Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
  • Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
  • David Boreanaz as Angel

4. Skins


If you watch Riverdale for its slick visuals and small-town vibe, Skins should definitely be on your watch list. This cult classic is the best kind of coming-of-age drama, exploring gritty teenage issues like adolescent sexuality, substance abuse and mental illness. Set in Bristol, the controversial series follows three groups of hormone-raging teenagers over seven seasons, where they face their own demons, circumstances and consequences for irresponsible behaviour. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Skins is brilliant, original and full of warmth, wit and fun.

Stream Skins on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Kaya Scodelario as Effy Stonem
  • Hannah Murray as Cassie Ainsworth
  • Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem
  • Jack O’Connell as James Cook

5. Gossip Girl


When it comes to teen dramas, Gossip Girl is the unofficial queen bee of the genre. The series, which ran for six seasons, revolves around a group of privileged New York high schoolers from the Upper East Side who go around throwing glamorous parties, attending fabulous events and constantly scheming against their enemies, real or imagined. All the while, their moves are religiously documented by an anonymous blogger called Gossip Girl.

While Gossip Girl was appointment television during its first couple of seasons and will forever be a pop culture staple, the series does experience a drop in quality in later instalments. Still, it’s worth following the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite for the fashion and banter alone, as well as for the delight that was Blair Waldorf.

Stream it on Netflix, xoxo.

Cast:

  • Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen
  • Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey
  • Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf
  • Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass

6. Veronica Mars


The noir tone and the looming sense of danger surrounding Veronica Mars are a great match for Riverdale, so fans of the CW series might want to give this cult favourite a try as well. The show follows a snarky high school girl who moonlights as a private investigator on the side, while also struggling to solve her best friend’s murder.

Veronica Mars excels at blending procedural elements with typical teen drama and engaging season-long mysteries. It also benefits from a confident performance by Kristen Bell, who can gracefully go from vulnerable to ruthless in a manner of seconds. Moreover, the show’s clever plotting and thoughtful subject matter elevate it above your typical teen drama. Veronica Mars trusts its audience to understand what’s going on and diligently follow along without explaining every little thing.

Stream it on HOOQ via Singtel

Cast:

  • Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars
  • Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls
  • Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars
  • Percy Daggs III as Wallace Fennel

7. Misfits


Misfits follows a small group of teens who get caught in a freaky storm while doing community service. They soon realise they gained superpowers and band together to protect a huge secret, despite the fact that they don’t seem to like each other very much.

Gritty and inventive, Misfits excels thanks to the cast’s strength. The characters are extremely compelling and the young talent on screen deliver nuanced and memorable performances, ensuring that viewers will be hooked from episode one. Besides, the show sports a cheeky sense of humour, so you’ll find yourself laughing out loud more than once.

The series is available to stream on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Robert Sheehan as Nathan Young
  • Lauren Socha as Kelly Bailey
  • Iwan Rheon as Simon Bellamy
  • Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Curtis Donovan

8. Stranger Things


It didn’t take long for this exciting Netflix original to become a hit; if you haven’t tuned in yet, you’re missing out. A love letter to Spielberg films and vintage 80s television, Stranger Things has a similar premise to Riverdale. A young boy goes missing and his friends and family search for answers. Soon, they become involved in an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments and terrifying supernatural forces. It won’t take long for viewers to be on the edge of their seats.

Stranger Things delivers scares and thrills, but also takes time to explore teenage love and friendship. As a bonus, the chemistry between the young actors is a thing of beauty.

Stream it on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven
  • Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
  • Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
  • Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair

9. Teen Wolf


The gist of this teen drama is pretty easy to guess – it follows a high school student who becomes a werewolf and has to cope with the consequences, struggling to balance his new identity with typical adolescent problems. But despite the familiarity of the premise, Teen Wolf benefits from a charismatic cast and healthy doses of humour, which elevate it above your run-of-the-mill paranormal show.

The series is based on the 1985 Michael J Fox film of the same name, but it’s a much darker affair. Still, it manages to maintain a sexy tone, which makes it the perfect easy binge for when you’re craving something with a bit of an edge.

Stream it on Netflix.

Cast:

  • Tyler Posey as Scott McCall
  • Holland Roden as Lydia Martin
  • Dylan O’Brien as Stiles Stilinski
  • Shelley Hennig as Malia Tate

10. Broadchurch


Broadchurch is a pretty straightforward police procedural. What will make it appealing to Riverdale viewers is the fact that the action takes place in a close-knit community, where everyone is covering up secrets. The series follows the investigation into the murder of a young boy, which ends up placing an entire small town under a national spotlight.

Beautifully shot and acted, Broadchurch will keep you guessing until the very end, slowly building tension and toying with your mind. It’s riveting and heartbreaking, humorous and tremendously sad, smart and compelling.

Stream it on Netflix.

Cast:

  • David Tennant as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy
  • Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller
  • Jodie Whittaker as Beth Latimer
  • Andrew Buchan as Mark Latimer

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