Top 12 Enthralling Shows Like 'Riverdale'

Updated on June 25, 2020
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Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".

What Series Are Like Riverdale?

With the current rise in streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, we have been bombarded with a ton of new and exciting TV shows. One of the few that’s been recently catching on among the youngsters is the lovable cheesy show, Riverdale.

It’s a story taking place in a small town where strange things start happening after the death of a local boy, Jason Blossom. Soon you realize that these superficial people have dark secrets that they would go to great lengths to protect. And yes, I am aware of the show’s corny lines and over the top sequences, but the first season somehow pulls it off.

Everything seems to be normal in the small town of Riverdale in broad daylight, but some disturbing mysteries lurk in the darkness of night. The lead cast goes on a mission to discover these secrets after the murder of their school mate. The four leads really connect as they take off on their adventure, and their relationship develops with each passing episode.

The next two seasons follow on this, diving deeper into more inexplicable events and conspiracies. While the show prepares for the next season, you’re probably wondering how to spend all that time.

Worry not, there are plenty of other shows that you can substitute until the next season comes back, and they’re just as good. Let's take a look at some shows like Riverdale that'll hook you right away.

Shows Similar to Riverdale

  1. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  2. Stranger Things
  3. The Vampire Diaries
  4. The OA
  5. Pretty Little Liars
  6. 13 Reasons Why
  7. The 100
  8. Freaks And Geeks
  9. Mr. Robot
  10. The Flash
  11. Hannibal
  12. Jessica Jones

1. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

What's better than to start the list with the spin-off to Riverdale itself, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is a modern take on another 90’s show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

There isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t thought about having superpowers at least once and Sabrina, being half witch, shows us the possibilities of combining your routine existence with magical abilities.

Sabrina has to balance her conflicting lifestyles and is sometimes forced to choose between the two, her friends and a normal life or her family and her wizardly roots. The spinoff is just as stimulating as the original as we can’t help but enjoy Sabrina’s reactions to being caught in this crossfire as she come to terms with her conflicting sides.

2. Stranger Things

Stranger Things gained global popularity almost immediately after the release of its first season and brought the retro-themed horror genre back. The overwhelming fame made the release of the next season grand. The reason for such impressive feats might have to do with the nostalgic tone and great storytelling the show delivers.

What happens when the fictional things you enjoy come alive to hunt you down? The show combines fictional horror with the atrocities of the real world to deliver a TV thriller that'll stay with you for a while.

The entire town is searching for Will Byres, a local kid, who has mysteriously gone missing on his way home, but his friends doubt that it might be more than just a simple disappearance and begin a mission of rescuing their friend.

Things get murkier when they come across Eleven, an unusual girl, who leads them down an even stranger trail as they uncover some horrible things. The show makes you co-exist between two worlds at once and you'll love every moment of it.

If you're looking for some cerebral shows like Riverdale, Stranger Things should be right up your alley.

3. The Vampire Diaries

Vampires are the center of many popular movies and TV shows, and it might have to do with the fact that they are portrayed as perfect humans with no human flaws. The Vampire Diaries fills the human world with these unpredictable vampires and shows us how they can co-exist together, affecting each other in significant ways.

It’s the story of a girl who falls in love with charming vampires, told over many seasons, which gives time for every relationship to develop naturally as you fall for their charm and charisma. Unpredictable yet affable, these vampires will enthrall you like nothing else on TV.

The series wrapped up after eight seasons, concluding the storyline with a thud. Don't miss out on this gem.

4. The OA

When Prairie Johnson, a blind woman, comes back after a prolonged disappearance with the ability to see again, she becomes the latest topic of discussion. She is reluctant to talk about it with her parents or the police.

The mysterious aura surrounding the show is gripping as you can’t help but go from episode to episode to find the answer. With each passing episode, you feel as though you’re getting closer to the truth, but the twists and turns defy all predictions.

The precarious situations Prairie goes through makes you emphasize with her and commend her for the tragedies she's whizzed through.

The show only has one complete season with a second season scheduled to begin airing sometime in 2019. That gives you plenty of time to catch up.

5. Pretty Little Liars

Everybody has secrets they would rather keep to themselves, but what happens when someone violates these boundaries? One year after the death of Allison, her friends who were with her the night she disappeared, receive a mysterious text, threatening to expose them, which leads to a depressed reunion in the hopes of finding the perpetrator.

Pretty Little Liars is also a high school mystery that revolves around the lives of its main cast as they struggle to fight an unknown enemy. Spanning over seven seasons, the series showcases the worst side of human beings, as every character in the show has their own sinister secrets they try to keep hidden from others.

They all try to keep it under wraps, but Pretty Little Liars tears this fragile piece of fabricated reality and forces its characters to fight through as they risk getting exposed.

If you're looking for some cerebral shows like Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars should fit the bill.

6. 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is another show that almost instantly met with global attention due to its representation of a dark subject - something nobody likes to talk about. The first season divided people into two halves - ones who loved it and others who couldn’t stand it.

After committing suicide, Hanna Baker leaves thirteen tapes, each containing a reason she did it. We hear these tapes from Clay’s perspective and try figuring it out. We see how these tapes affect people as they go through each of them and start blaming each other for the incident.

People still debate about the show, some praising it, while others argue it glamorizes suicide and takes complex matters lightly. Frankly, you can see both sides of the argument if you look objectively.

Nonetheless, the first season had everybody talking but the showrunners kind of let fans down with its exaggerated second season. We hope the show can redeem itself and come back even stronger.

7. The 100

One of the most captivating storylines in recent times, The 100 is a dystopian look on the future of humanity where they’re forced to live on space stations after Earth is destroyed by nuclear outrage. When resources start to run dry after three generations up there, they send 100 juvenile criminals to Earth to check its habitability. Not sure if they’re protectors of the human race or sacrificial lambs, these curious people who’ve never been on this weird green sphere want to discover the truths of their ancestral home.

As the episodes go by, we see how people pick groups and follow rules that primarily suit their own set of beliefs. Some even go to lengths to establish power, and we see how it corrupts even the noblest of minds.

This may be a little different from the other shows on the list, but the drama and mystery presented give a familiar vibe. If you're looking for a gritty show like Riverdale that's not afraid to venture into uncharted territories, The 100 should be right up your alley.

8. Freaks and Geeks

The only complaint you’re gonna have about this show is its short-lived one-seasoned television appearance. Freaks and Geeks has characters who take you back in time when you were in high-school. We see teenagers forming groups, falling in love, and just living in the moment while contemplating their future.

The show’s primary attention, though, is the groups rarely portrayed in the mainstream TV. The depth these characters portray through their personalities makes you connect with them and understand where their emotions emerge from.

The show has a loyal fan-base that keeps getting bigger as it gets discovered by more people. Considered one of the best high-school dramas, Freaks And Geeks is a classic everyone should watch, at least once.

9. Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot combines the meaningless existence of the corporate landscape with the ability to do something about it through digital means. Elliot, the lead character, is a depressed junkie working at a company that sucks his soul on a daily basis, but he can’t do anything about it. After his meeting with a mysterious man, referred to as Mr. Robot, he’s constantly entangled in risky situations and deals with dangerous people. The limited recollections of his actions due to constant blackouts make it even worse.

This show tackles touchy subjects like depression, consumerism, and addiction, just to name a few and interweaves them beautifully into a chaotic mystery thriller. Everybody wants to break free from the shackles of society, but it’s harder to make the decision when you actually have the power to do it, and that’s why the two seasoned show is so likable.

Rami Malek, who plays the lead, perfectly captures the aura of the character and makes you worry for him, as he is forced to make some really tough decisions.

10. The Flash

A superhero genre on the list from the DC universe, The Flash is a light-hearted take on the red speedster. Barry Allen becomes the fastest man alive after an accident and decides to make good use of his powers by fighting crime and saving lives. He has a good thing going on between saving lives and working as an investigator, but after other creatures with special abilities begin to surface, he’s forced to deal with them.

Barry always seems to outrun all the problems with the help of his new friends who help him harness his power, but one thing he can’t outrun is his horrific past, where his mother was murdered by an unknown entity and the father was wrongfully imprisoned for it. The memory of that event is agonizing for him, as he embarks on a mission to find the truth and set everything right once and for all.

11. Hannibal

This TV rendition of the famous Hannibal Lector from the movie, Silent of The Lambs, is just as thrilling as the original but has adequate time to show us the full story of this psychotic cannibal.

We get to see what really goes on inside the mind of such a disturbed individual, as he helps the FBI solve a case while keeping them in dark about his own macabre secrets. Some fans were devastated that the show was canceled after only three seasons as it is one of the most hauntingly beautiful portrayals of a brutal killer.

The show, like the movie, is based on the novel, Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris. It seems almost unimaginable redeeming such a character, but the show makes you hate his decisions while emphasizing with the character simultaneously.

12. Jessica Jones

Another superhero on the list, but from the Marvel comics this time, and a little darker, Jessica Jones is a gritty Netflix original - a slow-burn that demands patience.

Our titular protagonist is no ordinary woman. Having the ability to jump over buildings, she mostly uses her powers to help people, but saving the world is not her cup of tea - a welcome departure from usual Marvel storylines. She just wants to binge drink and get through the day with as little effort as possible.

Jessica Jones was another superhero added into the world of pre-existing vigilantes with their own shows to expand that universe. Jessica Jones might not be your typical savior but she brings authenticity to a world where superheroes are portrayed as superficially perfect beings. You can watch Jessica Jones along with the other three Netflix specials to see them all come together in the show, The Defenders.

Did I miss out on any shows like Riverdale? Let me know in the comments section.

© 2019 Rahul Parashar


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    • sumaiyauddin999 profile image


      17 months ago

      I love these. I watched them one by one


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