The teenage era! Over the years, shows like Riverdale and Heartstopper have found their fanbases by telling stories set in high school.
In 2017, viewers were introduced to the iconic characters from Archie Comics as they investigated their small town amid a mysterious murder. Even though the main group of friends were established students at Riverdale High, the CW series followed the lead of other teen drama before them by choosing to introduce a time jump ahead of season 5.
According to creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writers and the cast were excited to explore the possibilities outside of the classroom.
“We did decide very quickly because all of the kids were seemingly going to different colleges and we didn’t want them to all to go to, like, Riverdale University. And in terms of drama, for me, college is a less appealing version of high school stories,” he told Entertainment Weekly in February 2021. “In terms of what we’re most excited about is that after four seasons of pretty elaborate, complicated storytelling, this time jump allows us to start with a clean slate, drop in the middle of stories and then have people catch up.”
The screenwriter noted that the show shakeup allowed for them to introduce “new dynamics” starting in season 6. “Now it’s not just Betty in scenes with Jughead, now it’s not just Cheryl and Toni in scenes together,” Aguirre-Sacasa added. “That’s what’s been exciting for the actors too, they’re really excited about playing characters closer to their age.”
At the time, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina creator highlighted the work that went into keeping the main characters familiar to the fans.
“We have tried to honor who the characters were when we first met them. Archie was basically a decent kid who was trying to live up to the expectations his father had and expectations he put on himself,” he continued. “Veronica has married a guy that is in some ways very much like Hiram, so they’ve all been progressing in this direction. Betty’s hunting serial killers, that feels right. Jughead’s writing, that also feels right. I guess I feel like probably Veronica’s circumstances have changed the most because she’s married.”
After spending three seasons on Riverdale, Ashleigh Murray also explained how moving on from the show allowed her to explore different roles. The Missouri native played Josie McCoy for three seasons on Riverdale before reprising the role in the spinoff series, Katy Keene.
“It’s so wonderful because I’ve always been a very mature person, even in my youth and it’s nice to be able to finally step and walk in that same maturity,” the actress told Us Weekly and other reporters while promoting her TV series Tom Swift in May 2022. “It feels good to feel like a woman, to be received as a woman and to be respected as a woman. I can show up and I can command a space and I can command attention and I will be listened to. I will be understood, welcomed and received.”
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