Riverdale: All musical episodes, ranked worst to best

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
riverdale heathers

Love them or hate them, Riverdale’s musical episodes are arguably the most iconic part of the show. So here’s each one ranked.

Riverdale, the drama-mystery series that brought Archie Comics characters to life in variously wacky ways, has certainly made a name for itself in pop culture. Now, the popular CW series is finally coming to an end, with its seventh season being its last – and it’s certain to go out with a bang. We’re enjoying this season so far, and you can read our review of the first three episodes here.

One thing about the show that has garnered a lot of infamy is the musical episodes, which generally happen every season. Love them or hate them, they’re often the most well-known part of Riverdale in all of its cringy glory.

So, with the final musical episode of the series now out, here is our ranking of all the Riverdale musical episodes that have been before. Spoilers for said episodes!

Riverdale musical episodes, ranked from worst to best

Now, as part of this ranking, we won’t include every episode that has a song in it, otherwise we’d be here forever. With Archie aiming for a music career in Season 1, to Veronica running a speak easy at one point, there’s been too many musical numbers to count.

Here, we’re purely ranking the episodes that are set solely around a pre-established musical, or at least have the musical aspect as the main focus.

And of course, we’ve since updated this list with the Season 7 musical episode, which will be the final musical episode of the whole show. So here’s your definitive ranking of every Riverdale musical episode.

7. Wicked Little Town

riverdale musical episode

While this musical episode maybe ranked last, that isn’t because of said musical moments. This episode finally gives Kevin -who is easily the best singer of the cast – the limelight he deserves, as he fights to be allowed to perform a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

However, this plotline often gets pushed to the side for pointless love triangle cheating drama, and the mystery of who is leaving video tapes at people’s doors, which ultimately makes the musical aspects less impactful.

6. The Return Of Pussycats

Riverdale josie and the pussycats

Now, arguably this episode may not count as a musical one, as it takes songs from various places rather than just one musical, but songs happen so frequently that the episode could easily be deemed its own jukebox musical.

The episode sees Josie – and of course, the Pussycats – return to Riverdale, allowing for an episode long reconciliation that feels emotional and fulfilling for Josie’s arc. However, the lack of main characters and acknowledgement of previous storylines leaves this episode feeling more like backdoor pilot than a Riverdale episode.

5. A Night To Remember

carrie riverdale

Carrie was the first musical episode that Riverdale did, and it certainly wasn’t a bad place to start. It matched the current horror tone that the series was going for, and while the choice of Cheryl as Carrie was odd, it wasn’t bad.

The gruesome plot of the episode was also tied into the musical well, as the characters and songs in the show could be matched to the show’s central characters with relative ease.

4. Big Fun

riverdale heathers

Now, while this musical doesn’t make for the best episode, it’s definitely the most iconic one, and it may be what drew certain viewers into Riverdale. Heathers is also probably the most well known musical in this list amongst young viewers, and it is a good musical, at least.

The singing is subpar, the choreography odd, and the plots convoluted. But does it make for some so-bad-it’s-good hilarity? Absolutely.

3. Archie the Musical

The final musical of Riverdale does something a little different, but thankfully it pays off – for the most part. This musical is a meta self-written one by Kevin, which really allows the songs to relate to the characters, as they’re specifically for them. The dancing is better than usual, as is the singing – they’ve had seven years of practise at this point.

But there’s still too much sexually exploitative shenanigans, and it does dive back into a lot of the tired tropes of Riverdale, feeling more like a High School Musical pastiche rather than a Grease one.

2. American Psychos

riverdale american psycho

Riverdale had reached its full ridiculousness at this point, and so American Psycho’s satirical tone bizarrely worked in its favor. The musical choice also worked against the backdrop plot of the episode, that being catching the Trash Bag Killer.

The performances in this episode were pretty good, as Kevin -who is easily the best – was given plenty of focus, and Betty’s emotional turmoil was handled well throughout the episode.

1. Next To Normal

riverdale next to normal

While not perfectly following the storyline of the original musical, this episode manages to be emotional and introspective, far more than any Riverdale musical episode has any right to be.

While other characters, such as Jughead and Tabitha, give good performances, Betty is the backbone of the episode, as she desperately tries to reach her mother after the death of Polly. In her grief, Alice grows overly attached to the soundtrack of Next to Normal, which if you know the musical, is brilliant in a meta sense.

Riverdale is currently premiering weekly on the CW. To find out when you can watch it, click here. And check out the rest of our Riverdale coverage below: