With three shows existing in the same universe, Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Katy Keene, fans had high hopes for a crossover.
But when The CW and Netflix canceled the latter two shows, it also canceled all possibilities of a crossover.
TV Fantics Becca and Lizzy discuss what could have been, what they would have liked to see, and whether a three-way crossover would have even been feasible.
Becca: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Katy Keene were among the most notable cancellations of the year. How do you feel about both shows being canceled?
Lizzy: Since I watched both of them, I was bummed.
Obiviously, Katy Keene was in its first season, so it didn't sting as much as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Katy Keene was also the black sheep of the family, as it was more upbeat and fashion-focused.
You wouldn't think it was part of the same universe as Riverdale if you didn't know it was promoted as a spinoff.
But there was something genuine about it and the characters -- so many shows are dark and twisted these days, Riverdale and CAOS included, but Katy Keene set itself apart by being less driven by evil and more by high heels and designer brands.
The series had potential, but unfortunately, it wasn't marketed or promoted well enough and it didn't get enough time to spread its wings and fly.
But despite my interest in Katy, CAOS stings more. It's my favorite of the three shows -- ever since Riverdale went off the rails slightly -- since I'm a sucker for dark themes and witchcraft.
The series had more seasons left in it, so it's unfortunate that Netflix pulled the plug.
Becca: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's cancellation came as a big shock. I expected the Netlix curse to strike after another season was ordered.
Unfortunately for Katy Keene, there were a lot of cards stacked against it receiving a second season.
It wasn't going to stream on Netflix. It was filmed on location in New York. Plus, even though I heard a lot of positive things about it, I don't think it got people as excited as Riverdale Season 1.
Katy Keene left a lot of storylines hanging, including the threat of Hiram Lodge. What did you think of Hiram showing up on Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 13?
Lizzy: I definitely agree with you. Katy Keene had a lot of sparkle, but fans didn't gravitate towards it the way they did with Riverdale and CAOS. I do think that's largely because of how different the series is from its counterparts.
To many in the fandom, it came off as almost too standalone despite all the attempts at minor crossovers, which were a lot easier to accomplish between Riverdale and Katy Keene then they would be between the shows and CAOS.
The biggest obstacle, and one that maybe would have been smoothed out in with the time jump being introduced in Riverdale Season 5, is that Katy Keene was ahead five years in terms of timeline.
They needed to be strategic in how they crossed over because it was giving fans a glimpse into the future for many Riverdale characters.
Hiram paying Katy Keene a visit was a delicious and unexpected twist -- the kind we've come to expect from Riverdale. Who would have thought the buyer trying to tear down Jorge's beloved block was none other than Hiram Lodge?
It the kind of shakeup that needed to happen on Katy Keene, a series that sometimes spanned episodes without accomplishing much of anything plot-wise.
It was a treat for Riverdale fans as it allowed them to see Hiram operate outside of Riverdale. Is he still the big bad outside of the small town limits? Does he still wield that same power?
From Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 13, it seems as though he does as he eagerly starts a real estate war with Jorge Lopez and his family. And it was made personal because, as it turns out, Hiram is from the Heights! It proved that even the residents of New York aren't safe from the Hiram Lodge.
And it either shows that Hiram survives his illness from Riverdale Season 4 or proves that he's been faking it this whole time to manipulate Veronica, which would not be a surprise to fans.
Hiram's introduction could have opened the door for potential crossovers like bringing Veronica into the fold, as she already has an established relationship with Katy. Her feud with daddy could have bled into Katy Keene, if the writers chose that route.
But for those who turned into Katy Keene without ever watching Riverdale, it could have been alienating. Hiram showing up doesn't mean much when you don't know what Hiram's capable of.
However, his arrival also underlined how much Katy Keene relied on Riverdale for success.
Crossovers are par for the course, and fans love them, but Season 1 was filled with little visits from familiar characters. Despite the joy it brought to fans, Hiram's introduction almost felt like a lifeline to save Katy Keene from its inevitable fate.
Becca: That Katy Keene did a lot of crossovers early on does sound like the creators and execs were desperate to grab as many Riverdale fans as possible.
Out of all the Riverdale villains to show up on Katy Keene, Hiram makes the most sense. We knew he had ties to New York before he mentioned he was from the Heights. Real estate schemes are in his wheelhouse.
Actually, I thought the explanation of him being from the Heights wasn't needed and annoyed me because of Riverdale's habit of casual retconning or at least veering uncomfortably close to retconning. Suddenly saying Hiram was from the Heights struck me as a close to retconning moment.
My issue with Hiram showing up is that he lost all credibility as a villain during Riverdale Season 2. Storylines with him are particularly tedious.
I took him a lot more seriously as a villain during his Katy Keene appearance than I had in a long time. I don't know if Katy Keene could have sustained it, though.
One of Riverdale's biggest problems (and I think CAOS suffers from it too) is how laughable its recurring villains are. Even though the Hiram reveal was a good shakeup, I think any storyline built around him would become a drag.
Do you think Katy Keene Season 2 could have pulled off a good storyline based around Hiram?
Lizzy: I agree, four seasons in and Hiram's not as threatening as he once was. The tug-and-pull between him and Veronica has gotten repetitive.
I think, to some extent, Riverdale and CAOS make its villains laughable on purpose. We all remember Edgar Evernever! Hiram began to fall flat because he's competing with outlandish villains like Evernever, the Black Hood, and the Gargoyle King.
It's possible that with a new adversary, Hiram Lodge could once again rise to the occasion. I think with good writing, Mark Consuelos definitely has it in him. It might be refreshing to see him face-off against Jorge and company this time around, but again the writing is key.
Unlike on Riverdale and CAOS, the villains on Katy Keene exist in the real world.
Yes, they may still be exaggerated, but we've likely all encountered the mean girl or a mean and sexist boss at some point in our lives, so the grounded nature of the show could have worked for the story arc.
Becca: Oh, yes, I don't think Edgar Evernever trying to fly a rocket while wearing an Even Knievel costume will be forgotten anytime soon.
It's not impossible to make a good storyline with what Katy Keene set up with Hiram. But like you said, the writing is key.
I've become so used to Riverdale squandering all of its potential. Katy Keene was still in its early stages, but based on what did air, do think the writing was living up to its potential in general? How about the crossovers in particular?
Lizzy: I've found that to be the case with Katy Keene as well. The foundation was there, but the series lacked direction and oftentimes felt like it was at a standstill as characters would be in the same place as they were when the episode began.
The lack of progress for each character's arc was frustrating to watch, especially in the show's infancy when there was so much to explore. The series glossed over the character's backstory and rushed many relationships without giving them time to breathe or flourish.
In the first episodes, Katy and K.O. are introduced as soulmates. Then they break up just as quickly, but it's hard to sympathize with Katy when we knew nothing about her and K.O.'s relationship. We're told not shown, and I think that was one of Katy Keene's biggest flaws.
When it came to crossovers, they seemed forced simply to capitalize on the Riverdale audience. I found most of the Katy Keene/Riverdale crossovers fell flat, particularly the episode with Kevin Keller.
Since it was set five years in the future, he was a drama teacher at Riverdale High and resented staying in the murderous town. His character was basically stuck in high school, and he told tales of Le Bonne Nuit (Veronica's nightclub) and of "Creekdale's" serial killers.
It was odd and unnecessary even to fans of Riverdale, almost as if the show was trying to maintain any connection to its sister series.
Pepper also helped him take down a Harvey Weinstein-like director, but the storyline didn't reasonable because, again, since we never see their backstory, there's no emotional connection when Kevin gets his revenge.
Becca: Despite the differences between the three shows, they share a lot of the same writing weaknesses. Plots are either rushing or dragging. Characters and relationships aren't given time to breathe. They're usually at their worse when trying to push a "message" storyline, and I could go on.
I think Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a little better than the other two in some of those areas, but I credit it more to the streaming format than the actual writing.
It seems like the Riverdale crossovers didn't help and possibly hurt Katy Keene. Katy's appearance on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 12 felt perfunctory. I thought Katy was likable, but the appearance didn't get me excited for the show.
I agree the five-year difference in the timelines created issues, but I don't think syncing up the timelines would make crossovers more exciting because the writing weaknesses would remain.
Riverdale/CAOS crossovers have more potential than Katy Keene/Riverdale crossovers story-wise, but I think the same writing weaknesses would ultimately make the crossover(s) disappointing, especially since there has been a high demand for such a crossover.
Do you think a Riverdale/Chilling Adventures crossover could be as good as the audience wants it to be?
Lizzy: When you get your hopes up, there's plenty of room for disappointment. That's what typically happens with a series finale of a show, and I think that applies to crossovers, as well.
There's definitely potential for a Riverdale and CAOS crossover, but they would need to find a good reason to blend the worlds. It cannot be just fan service, which I feel like it would be at this point.
There's also a lot to think about logistically, as its unclear what time period Sabrina exists in or whether the Riverdale we know is the same Riverdale she visited during her brief trip in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 3.
What if they exist in parallel universes? Weird things happen in Greendale all the time, but it doesn't seem to impact anyone in Riverdale even though they're supposed to be right across the river.
I think the fact they haven't done a full-fledged crossover yet and have given us little Easter eggs in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is because they haven't figured out a solid way to bring these two very different worlds together.
What are your thoughts on a Riverdale/CAOS crossover?
Becca: I think a lot of concerns you bring up would be waived away by magic or the show(s) wouldn't bother to explain.
The CAOS Easter egg that best set up a Riverdale/CAOS crossover was Hilda eating a Southside Serpent on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 Episode 6. I'm not sure if the Serpent remained dead post-Sabrina's time travel shenanigans, but if he is, that's a very easy way to get Jughead and Betty to Greendale and investigating.
I think a Riverdale/CAOS crossover would work best if it was limited to the Riverdale characters who could best handle the idea of magic, which would be Betty, Jughead, and probably Cheryl.
Regardless of how it's contrived, I think I would wind up disappointed with the substance of the crossover interactions.
A lot of crossovers waste too much time pitting the protagonists against each other. Also, and this is especially worrisome with CAOS and Riverdale being such plot-heavy shows, crossovers tend to focus more on the plot at the expense of the characters.
I suspect interactions between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale would be entirely devoted to the discussion of the plot instead of the characters getting to know each other and forging bonds.
How much time would be given over for a crossover? If it's just one scene consisting of a pair of characters providing information to another pair of characters, it would be a waste.
Since both shows are anticlimactic more often than not, it seems doubtful the story they come up with for the crossover (whatever it is) will end satisfactorily.
Lizzy: Those are all valid points. Though, I do think if the crossover were to have any chance of success, it would have to be a full fledged episode where everyone was involved.
I think the reason they brought in a random Serpent we've never met for that CAOS episode is because, again, they couldn't justify bringing in anyone from the main or supporting cast. It doesn't move anything forward, but it's a fun nod to showcase that these shows co-exist.
I agree that a crossover would be heavily plot-focused and rely too much on magic to explain any hiccups.
Riverdale has mingled with some supernatural ideas, but not the likes of Greendale, so I don't think it would go over well, unless, at the end of it, Sabrina wiped everyone's memories the way she used to with Harvey, Roz, and her human friends.
And that would be disappointing because it wouldn't have a permanent impact on either of the show's plots.
Riverdale is also jumping five years into the future, so they can't use school rivalries as a way to facilitate the crossover anymore. It's hard to imagine where Riverdale will go with the time jump, but since CAOS still has one season left, do you think it's something they are considering before they wrap up?
Becca: I thought CAOS wrapped filming before the cancellation news broke. Maybe if they filmed afterward they would have thrown something in. But if everything was wrapped up, I doubt there will be anything significant in the final season. Even if they could add something last minute, it would probably be something very trivial.
You seem to like the idea of a really big crossover with everyone from both casts having roles. Do you think a crossover with all three shows simultaneously could have been possible?
Lizzy: Well, I think that if they were to commit to doing a crossover, the dream would be to have it like an Arrowverse crossover where they get everyone involved. Obviously, that's easier for Arrowverse shows because they have more common ground than Archieverse.
As we discussed previously, there's a lot of things to consider so while I'd love to see that, sadly, I don't think it's possible for all three shows to crossover.
Are you relieved there likely won't be any crossovers?
Becca: Yes, for me it comes back to the writing. No matter how good everything else would be, I don't think the writing teams would have succeeded in telling good stories.
The other reason I'm relieved is that there won't be a big musical finale, and you know they would do such a thing. I don't understand why they keep adding musical numbers; they're almost always terrible on any of the shows.
Lizzy: Now that's a point we can both agree on. I'm not a huge fan of musical numbers on shows to begin with, but for some reason, they are so cringe-worthy and cheesy.
I could possibly stomach one random song here and there, but the musical episodes are filler and don't contribute much to the overall story, which makes it even worse. I can back a crossover, but a musical crossover? That's where I draw the line!
Becca: Here, here!
On the flip side, is there anything you wanted from a crossover -- a particular moment or character interaction or action set piece -- that you wished could have happened?
Lizzy: I never really thought much about it, but I would enjoy a Hiram Lodge vs. Faustus Blackwood showdown. I think the dynamic there would be worth exploring. How about you?
Becca: If they could have done it with all three shows, my ideal ending would have been Archie and Veronica coming back to Riverdale all shiny and happy from their NYC escapades and meeting up at Pop's with Betty and Jughead who are covered in gore because they just helped avert the apocalypse.
Lizzy: Nothing like a milkshake to end the day!
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Are you disappointed about not getting Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale, and/or Katy Keene's crossovers in the future?
What CAOS, Riverdale, and/or Katy Keene crossovers would you have liked to have seen?
Hit the comments below.
You can watch Katy Keene online at TV Fanatic.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.