American fans hoping to watch Riverdale season 5 on Netflix are going to have to wait a while before the episodes hit the streaming site. But, we're actually just lucky to get them on Netflix at all after The CW's deal with Netflix expired in 2019. New CW shows can now head to the Warner Bros.' streaming site HBO Max (where Katy Keene, Batwoman, and Nancy Drew are). But shows that were already on Netflix when the deal expired were grandfathered in, according to Deadline. New seasons will continue to come to Netflix for the duration of the series and stay on the platform for "a number of years beyond that."
Traditionally, the full new seasons of Riverdale have landed on Netflix in mid-to-late May, about eight days after the finale airs on The CW. This schedule is likely to remain unchanged for season 5, so a May 2021 streaming date seems likely. If you happen to live outside of America, however, the series streams weekly on Netflix beginning Jan. 21. However, if you miss an episode of season 5 and need to stream it later, the new episodes stream for free on The CW's website and app weekly. You'll just have to wait a day for them to drop on Thursdays, the day after the episode originally airs, and be ready to watch the episode with commercial breaks.
This season, Riverdale will be concluding its season 4 storylines in the first few episodes of season 5, per Entertainment Weekly. The pandemic shut down production before season 4's final episodes could be filmed, and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa didn't want to skip over them. "Some of the big events like prom and graduation, it would feel like a cheat if we somehow didn't do those," he told EW. Then, after the high school storylines are concluded, season 5 will feature a seven-year time jump, according to Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper. She told The Wrap, "I'm really psyched about it. I think it will be nice to play an adult … We're not just stuck in high school for seven seasons."