1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
As an alternative teen show to tide you over until new episodes return, check out the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is set in the same universe as Riverdale and contains numerous Riverdale-related Easter Eggs. The story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is told in a much darker tone in the series. See how Sabrina deals with the pressures of high school, the complexities of the coven, and the demands of everyday family life, all while marrying the Devil. However, you can still watch the entire series on Netflix after it ended in July 2020.
2. Outer Banks
When I say the Outer Banks single-handedly saved my life during quarantine, I’m not kidding. This sultry teen drama, which debuted just in time for everyone to become enamored with it, is like The Goonies meets Summer Vacation. Rich kids versus poor kids is a classic dynamic, and while searching for treasure, John B. and his band of Pogues try to deal with their arch-enemy known as the Kooks. The Netflix original series is set in beautiful North Carolina (technically South Carolina) and is a pleasant escape to warmer days, teen love, and mystery..
Euphoria reminds me of Degrassi on speed. Rue (Zendaya) is a drug addict in recovery who develops feelings for her new transgender classmate Jules (Julia Roberts) (Hunter Schafer). From bad romance to bondage to abuse to toxic masculinity and homosexuality as well, it covers every teen issue under the sun. This is going to be one wild ride because each character has their own backstory. When it comes to the acting and makeup, we’re left wondering why we’ve never dared to bedazzle our faces or experiment with vibrant colored eyeshadow before (Zendaya deservedly won an Emmy for her performance).
4. One Tree Hill
As far as teen dramas go, One Tree Hill is it. It has everything: basketball, half-brother rivalries, a high school wedding, murders, stalkers… I once heard someone say, “everything bad that could happen does.” Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), and the iconic, empowering Brook Davis starred in it. They were all teen heartthrobs (Sophia Bush). Sorry, Payton fans (Hilarie Burton). For my birthday, I drove around Wilmington, North Carolina, filming locations for the show I was obsessed with. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it (or a rebinge in that case).
5. The Vampire Diaries
Wow! There are a lot of different kinds of supernatural creatures out there. When it comes to teen dramas, The Vampire Diaries is hard to beat. It has everything: danger, romance, and mythical forces invading the town of Mystic Falls. Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a recently orphaned high school student, falls in love with vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and has to deal with a lot of family drama when Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Stefan’s bad boy brother, comes to town. The Originals and Legacies are excellent spinoffs of the main series, both of which I recommend.
It’s impossible to beat an international teen drama that forces you to concentrate because you have to read the subtitles to follow along. “Elite” follows the classic plot of an impoverished kid trying to fit in at an affluent boarding school, starting with a murder (obviously). This hot Spanish drama, on the other hand, will keep you on the edge of your seat and feature school uniforms you’ll want to wear.
7. The Fosters
There aren’t many people who appreciate The Fosters as much as I do. The Fosters are a family who foster four children while also raising their own biological son. It explores themes such as bereavement, racism, and the foster care system, with an interracial lesbian couple serving as the family’s matriarchs. There’s plenty of drama, but there’s also a lot of acceptance and love. After Jake T. Austin left the show midway through the season, Noah Centineo stepped in to play Jesus.
You can still follow Foster Sisters Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), after college, in Good Trouble, even though the series has ended.
8. Pretty Little Liars
My head is filled with the Pretty Little Liars theme song. Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are four ex-best friends who reunite to investigate Ali’s death while being haunted by a phantom known as “A.” The only thing that could possibly be worse is that it’s true. In the later seasons, the writers felt the need to create more identities for “A” and as a result, the show deviates from its original course (most notably, the questionable student-teacher relationship). Even so, you’ll be hooked for at least the first couple of seasons thanks to the suspenseful psychodrama.
Pretty Little Liars had a short-lived spinoff called The Perfectionists, but that’s about to change thanks to a reboot of the show on HBO Max.
9. Gossip Girl
Going out with the girls was a high schooler’s worst nightmare, but for parents it was a welcome respite. You wanted to be a teen in the Upper East Side of Manhattan for all the right reasons: the iconic style (thanks to Blair Waldorf for her headband obsession), the hot hookup scenes, and the opulent parties. Every move and secret is broadcasted on an anonymous blog on the TV series, which follows a wealthy group of teenagers, including lonely Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) from a massive Brooklyn loft. It was not an option to miss it.
A major letdown, the unveiling of GOSSIP GIRLS was, but with GOSSIP GIRLS REBORN just around the corner, I have reason to be optimistic.
10. On My Block
Another Netflix original teen show that goes unnoticed? On the same street as me. The show follows four childhood best friends as they navigate intercity high school with hilarious dry humor. To keep things interesting, there’s an element of mystery and intrigue sprinkled throughout the plot. However, the cast is utterly endearing and the storylines are deeply moving. Because each episode lasts under 30 minutes, this is a great show to binge watch.
11. Friday Night Lights
You simply cannot lose with these people. It’s the bio of a lot of dubious men on Instagram, and it’s the famous chant from Friday Night Lights. Even if you have no interest in sports, Texas, football, and drama are a match made in heaven. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) coaches a Texas high school football team in Dillon, where he lives with his wife and two children. You’ll be hooked from the first episode onwards as an injury alters the team’s course, but you’ll probably stick around for Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), who has arguably the best character development in television history.
12. All American
As if Friday Night Lights were set in Beverly Hills/Compton, All American would be its modern-day equivalent, in my opinion There’s no better teen drama than this one, which is loosely based on the life of NFL player Spencer Paysinger. Coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) recruits Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), a star player at South Crenshaw High, to move to Beverly Hills High and deal with issues from his past as he navigates his new life. While the acting is outstanding, the plot is suspenseful and there are numerous football scenes.
13. Marvel’s Runaways
Love superheroes and teen soap operas? We’ve got you covered. If this sounds like you, Marvel’s Runaways is the series for you! The Hulu original series is based on the eponymous Marvel comic book. Even if it doesn’t belong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this teen drama still stands out. Upon realizing that their parents might be evil, a group of childhood friends decides to flee (hence the title) and discovers that they each have their own unique set of powers. Action, adventure, and a little teen romance are all featured in this novel.
14. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“High school already feels like hell,” the premise goes in Buffy, the original supernatural teen show. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) must battle vampires and demons while dealing with the tribulations of high school, such as puberty, romance, and mean queen bees. I’m not sure what’s worse at this point.
15. The Society
For the benefit of those in the back, I’ll say it out loud: JUSTICE FOR THE SOCIETY. Despite being unjustly canceled after being renewed for a second season (thanks to Ms. Rona), the one and only season of this criminally underrated show is well worth watching. A group of teenagers returns from a field trip to find the adults have all vanished and they are unable to leave the New England town they were sent to as a modern-day Lord of the Flies.
People are in a state of chaos while trying to establish an equitable society and keep order in this paranormal realm, with the help of the bright Allie (Kathryn Newton). It discusses various forms of government while also delving into more sinister topics like gun violence and domestic abuse. Season two of the Netflix original series has yet to be announced, and I for one am hoping it does.
16. Degrassi: The Next Generation
There were many things that came out of Degrassi: Drake, Nina Dobrev, teenagers who were actually teenagers, and a lot of drama. For the most part, the Canadian teen show deals with real-life teen issues like drug abuse, school shootings, and identity issues. As a result of its realistic setting (it’s just a typical high school), the show feels genuine and relatable to viewers. It’s most likely why it’s been around for so long and why a new series called Degrassi: Next Class has emerged.
17. Veronica Mars
There is nothing better than a good mystery, especially if it is solved by a young heroine. In Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell plays the title character, a popular high school student who becomes a private investigator after discovering the body of her best friend (Amanda Seyfried). This is a dark show, so be prepared. Veronica makes numerous attempts to solve various crimes throughout the course of the show. Pedophilia, rape, and suicide are all topics that the show tackles, and it does so with an all-star cast of side characters.
Not only did we get a movie reboot, but also a Hulu reboot that follows Veronica into her adult years and uncovers even more mysteries.
18. The O.C.
It’s easy to divide those who grew up in the ’00s by where they watched their teen dramas. Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill were the favorites of the East Coast team, while The O.C. was the favorite of the West Coast team, and it made us all want to move to California. The O.C. gave us lovable nerds like Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) and Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), the classic girl-next-door romance, Chrismukkah, and an iconic indie soundtrack.
19. Looking For Alaska
It’s impossible to imagine a better adaptation of John Green’s Y.A. novel Looking For Alaska than this show has done. Chef’s kiss in every way: the actors, the setting, the pranks. As an expert in last words, Miles “Pudge” Halter (Charlie Plummer) attends his father’s old Alabama boarding school in search of the “Great Perhaps.” He joins a gang of troubled teens and falls in love with Alaska Young, one of the group’s leaders (Kristine Froseth). Watch it. It’s sad. It’s beautiful. It’s tragic.
Skins (the U.K. version, not the unfortunate American remake) was another dark teen drama that tackled every topic imaginable. Rather than relying on shock value, the show does a great job of tackling tough subjects like drug abuse, eating disorders, and unexpected death in a raw, honest way. Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Daniel Kaluuya are among the cast members who have already established themselves as stars.