An iconic achievement. With countless episodes of television available to the public at all times, it is a major milestone when a show airs 100 episodes or more.
Shows like Riverdale found that success by gaining an audience based on their connection to the Archie Comics. Four years after the series originally debuted in 2017, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa recalled when he realized that the teen drama was definitely going to have a future on The CW.
“One big moment happened after the season 1 premiered on The CW and then it all appeared on Netflix. Riverdale was one of the early shows from the CW that migrated over to Netflix and that’s when the show captured fan’s imaginations,” he told Entertainment Weekly in December 2021. “I remember, we hadn’t yet gotten a pickup for season 2 and the show dropped on Netflix and the response was pretty robust. We didn’t really understand what has since become known as the Netflix Effect, so that’s a moment where it jumped from a quiet show on the CW into a slightly less quiet show.”
As Riverdale prepared to air its 100th episode, Aguirre-Sacasa noted that he never set out to make a hit show, noting, “At best I thought, ‘This could be a culty kind of show,’ but I wasn’t thinking this will be a 100-episode, multi-season show.”
Although the series found its stride with a premise that never ceased to surprise fans, the showrunner revealed that viewers originally had trouble accepting that the main characters were still teenagers.
“We talked about, early on, how much of high school life do we want to depict. At the time, high school shows had fallen out of favor a little bit. I remember, I think it was in that third episode, there was a storyline where Archie was grounded. The response was like, ‘We’re not really telling a story about Archie being grounded are we?’ We were like, ‘Yeah, that’s what happens to teens,’” he shared with EW. “There was stuff like that. I will say though, by and large, people supported what the show was and how strange it was.”
Another CW project that found success over the years was The 100, a post-apocalyptic show that ran from 2014 until 2020. The series honored the 100th episode milestone by having that be the last episode that concluded the fight for survival.
At the time, creator Jason Rothenberg revealed that his original plan for the ending didn’t waver after years of the show being on air.
“What I would say is that tonally and emotionally, the ending is close to what I thought it might be. There were a couple of competing ideas that had various shades of darkness in them, but this is the one that we were aiming for, emotionally, all along, or at least I was,” he told EW in September 2020. “But truthfully, when we started, we didn’t know that we were gonna have a series, let alone seven seasons of one. Things evolve. Every season, we like to mix it up, so every season was a new adventure. Some of those seasons had to end without us knowing if there was gonna be more, so [the writers] needed to thread the needle of doing both a potential series ending and a season ending, all in one.”
The season 7 finale saw humanity cease to exist as the main characters decided to return from their unexplained alien after life to live out their days together on Earth — a controversial choice among fans. Rothenberg acknowledged that he approaches storytelling by not worrying what the audience reaction may be in response.
“First of all, the whole show is written, season after season, long before it airs, so there’s nothing we could do once people start reacting to episodes as they air, certainly within a season,” he told KSite TV in September 2020. “Between seasons, obviously, we have time to kind of take stock and look at how the season was received, but the truth is, I try not to let fan reaction, either good or bad, dictate what we’re gonna do.”
He added: “The show obviously is hard to watch sometimes. It’s not designed to be a pleasant, enjoyable, happy ride. If you can’t sign up for a ride like that, knowing that you’re going to lose characters that you love, for instance, then you shouldn’t. Don’t watch the show if you cannot handle losing characters that you love.”
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