From its stunning cinematography to its talented cast, to its unflinching story, to its consistently excellent soundtrack, HBO’sEuphoriahas received high praise from both fans and critics alike. This praise is appropriate given the show’s singular nature. Except for Emmy-winning Zendaya performances and characters who write Harry Styles fanfiction, there isn’t much else to watch on TV.) Even though Euphoria is quite gritty, it’s good to know that it’s not alone in exploring the rougher aspects of high school.
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As soon as you’ve seen the special episodes of Euphoria (“special episodes,” you say?) In the meantime, TV Guide has a list of shows to tide you over until Season 2 of Euphoria premieres — which, alas, has yet to happen, drats. You will either be horrified by what today’s teens are getting up to or you will be reminded, for better or worse, of your own youth, if you watch any of these films.
TV Guide’s recommendations for every mood will put an end to your browsing nightmare.
Interested in seeing what else we recommend you check out? They’re in abundance here! Also, if you’re looking for more personalized suggestions based on your favorite shows, we’ve got you covered.
1. Grand Army
Probably the most like Euphoria on this list is Netflix’s Grand Army, which dives headfirst into the lives of teenagers at a Brooklyn, New York, high school. The opening scene in a girls’ bathroom in Grand Army immediately lets you know what kind of show it is. Few shows dealing with adolescent development can match the tone and subject matter of Euphoria. There are no filters applied to topics like sexuality, violence, rape culture, bullying, and racism in this series, which is set in New York City just after a terrorist attack. You should watch it if you want an intense teen show without the sugarcoating. Visit Netflix to see this and other movies.
2. Freaks and Geeks
As a beloved TV relic, Freaks and Geeks has the kind of dedicated fan base that can only be found for shows that were abruptly cancelled during their prime. But the good news is that it’s also well-deserving of all the acclaim it’s received, focusing on the lives of a group of oddball teenagers in the 1980s. As a result, in many ways, it is the quintessential teen show — funny, heartfelt, and just the right amount of awkward — and it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t have Euphoria otherwise.
Freaks and Geeks may not be as dark, but Lindsey Weir in Rue’s Lindsey finds herself leaning into her rebellious tendencies the more time she spends with her new friends, the titular “freaks,” played by Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, James Franco, and Jason Segel. Even with all the “disco sucks” references, it still manages to feel current, which is a remarkable feat. The following video can be seen on Hulu:
3. Skins (UK)
Skins is a must-see for any Euphoria fan, often imitated but never duplicated (hence the importance of the UK distinction — I cannot in good faith recommend the American remake). It was years before it became cool to deal with a wide range of issues such as mental illness, sexuality, eating disorders, and substance abuse that the 2007 British teen drama did the whole “doesn’t shy away from tough subject matter” thing. It’s easy to get to know the teens on the show because of the way it’s structured — each episode usually focuses on a single character — from Nicholas Hoult’s manipulative popular boy Tony to Dev Patel’s zany Anwar to Kaya Scodelario’s enigmatic Effy. It’s hard not to care about the Skins kids, just as we do about Rue and Jules (Hunter Schafer), who make a lot of questionable decisions. You can see it on Hulu.
4. We Are Who We Are
Jordan the duo of Kristine Seamon and Jack Dylan Grazer We Have a Personality and It’s Unique to Us
HBO is a huge fan of teen dramas. The film We Are Who We Are, directed by Luca Guadagnino, is set on an Italian army base and follows two high school students as they attempt to carve out their own identities in the midst of an oppressive environment. However, We Are Who We Are is a different animal, reflecting on what it means to be a young person growing up in a version of America that isn’t really America. It’s quieter and more artistic than the other shows. [HBO Max subscribers: check this out]
When it comes to unhinged camp and real high stakes drama, the Spanish-language series Élite (about three working-class friends who enroll in a high-end private school) hits the sweet spot. However, a murder mystery threads its way through the plot, as well as the inevitable cultural clash that occurs between the newcomers and their opulently wealthy classmates on the show. While Euphoria tackles socially relevant issues like homophobia and religion in Élite, it stays true to its chaotic roots much more than Élite does. There are times when you want a show that isn’t too serious. Visit Netflix to see this and other movies.
6. My Mad Fat Diary
There aren’t many shows that can elicit such a wide range of emotions from me as My Mad Fat Diary. When we first meet Rae (Sharon Rooney), she’s just out of a psychiatric hospital after a four-month stay. To avoid alienating her popular best friend (played by a pre-Killing Eve Jodie Comer), she makes up an elaborate lie about her whereabouts, claiming that she’d gone to France instead. Although she has since received treatment, her mental health issues as well as her body image remain a constant source of stress. When it comes to being a young woman trying to navigate a strange and frightening world, Rae has plenty to say about being like Rue. Something unique has happened here. You can see it on Hulu.
Chase Sui Wonders (Genera+ion), Uly Schlesinger, Justice Smith, and Justice Smith
This is one of the few contemporary teen shows that avoids the “gritty” label without losing its authenticity. It’s set in a high school, but the focus here is on the vibes rather than the story. Even though the storylines are never-ending, each episode can stand on its own because the majority of the episodes simply follow the daily lives of the characters. There is a lot of discussion about queerness, as well as the subtle but significant differences between the millennial and Gen Z generations. When you watch it, you get the impression that these characters — as confident as they appear to be — are still just kids trying to figure things out. They have an innocence that Euphoria’s lacks. [HBO Max subscribers: check this out]
8. Sex Education
In the words of Ncuti Gatwa and Asa Butterfield in Sex Education
While Euphoria’s colorful cast and huge personalities may have captured your attention, you shouldn’t wait too long before checking out Sex Education if you enjoyed that show. Gillian Anderson plays his sex therapist mother in the film, and Asa Butterfield plays her son, Otis, who follows in her footsteps by starting a sex advice clinic at his high school despite having no prior experience (and for much of the first season, literally firsthand).
This show has the potential to devolve into a “problem of the week,” but it avoids that by spending time getting to know each of the people in its cast. For instance, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) is an out gay man who struggles with his religious family’s view on him and Maeve (Emma Mackey), the popular “bad girl” in school who later becomes Otis’ business partner, are two of the many memorable characters on this show. Like Euphoria, it does away with the typical high school show trappings while still allowing the characters to mature. Visit Netflix to see this and other movies.
9. The End of the F***ing World
Young James (Alex Lawther) is a troubled teen who suspects he may be a psychopath. James (Alex Lawther) He kills animals in his spare time, but when that doesn’t satisfy him, he moves on to killing humans. We now have the edgy, brash, angry Alyssa (Jessica Barden) as a victim. After running away from home and embarking on a road trip together, they get caught up in a number of situations that spiral out of their control and never really get there. A lot happens in this British dramedy series, but the show’s reluctance to develop a romantic relationship is what keeps it grounded. There is a complex relationship between Rue and Jules in Euphoria that leads to them falling in love, and The End of the F***ing World has a similar one, but with a bit more crime.