Transparent, for example, wrapped up in September 2019 for a “Musicale Finale” following Jeffrey Tambor’s firing, and the feature-length installment included songs written by Faith Soloway, sister of creator Jill Soloway.
The previous year, Riverdale brought the razzle-dazzle as the teens mounted a production of Carrie: The Musical — with a not entirely unwelcome shot of a shirtless Archie rehearsing lines while doing push-ups.
The CW series has since experimented with musicals several more times, with the students of Riverdale High School producing their own versions of Heathers in season 3, Hedwig and the Angry Inch in season 4 and Next to Normal in season 5.
While Riverdale has a reputation for being one of the darker teen dramas on TV, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa thinks it makes total sense that the characters do musicals, because until season 5, they were students.
“[Our characters] are kids who, even though they get involved in crime and stuff, are still high school kids — and high school kids do musicals every year,” the producer told Variety in April 2018. “So it feels like, on a show with high school kids, it’s easy to get to [a story where] we’re doing a musical. It’s one of the kind of classic coming-of-age rites of passage.”
In 2017, The Flash went the musical route in a crossover with Supergirl, after the Music Meister (played by Melissa Benoist’s former Glee costar Darren Criss) put both Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kara Danvers (Benoist) into a coma.
Though Gustin is now best known for his turn as the fastest superhero in Central City, he also appeared on Glee as a member of Dalton Academy Warblers in seasons 3 through 5. The Flash‘s musical episode involved a lot more sci-fi than Glee ever did, but the Arrow alum still saw similarities between the two — especially because of Criss’ involvement.
“It’s literally [like] a Glee episode because he’s so Darren no matter where he is,” Gustin told Entertainment Weekly in March 2017. “It was just the same energy I remember him having from Glee. He’s awesome to have around.”
Watch the video above for more musical episodes from non-musical TV shows, including ones that got rave reviews (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Once More, With Feeling”) and ones that got a tepid reaction (e.g. Grey’s Anatomy’s “Song Beneath the Song”).