Written by Samantha Stemmer
As summer of 2021 rolls around and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, life might feel like it is beginning to go back to normal. And while returning to normal life is something we all dream of, having the excuse to binge TV shows all day was not so bad. So look no further because the perfect way to end a long summer day is to indulge in a “so bad it’s good” teen drama that feeds one’s soul and fulfills your guilty pleasures.
(The O.C./ Fox)
When thinking of the best and most iconic teen dramas there are four classics that paved the way for the rest to follow. The classics focus mostly on the lives of average or wealthier teenagers in high school and the woes that come along with being a teen. The shows tend to go on to follow the stars in their college years and the love triangles that are almost always included.
- The classics started with “Beverly Hills, 90210” which came out in 1990 and you can binge it for free on Pluto TV.
- Then in 1998 “Dawson’s Creek” premiered which you can binge on Netflix and Hulu.
- The last two, coming out around the same time in 2003, are “The O.C.” which is available to binge on HBO Max.
- And lastly, “One Tree Hill,” which also came out in 2003, that can be found on Hulu.
This archetype of soapy teen dramas inspired shows that modeled very closely to the classics and ones that took the idea but added sci-fi twists, teen pregnancies, or Manhattan’s elite.
(Mark Seliger/Vanity Fair)
If you are searching for a teen drama about wealthy kids living in cities there are two that you cannot go wrong with:
- “90210” which came out in 2008, is a reboot on the classic “Beverly Hills, 90210” with an edgier and more luxurious spin. “90210” with five seasons is available to watch on Pluto TV.
- “Gossip Girl” came out just a year before, in 2007 and follows the lives of the richest teens living in The Upper East Side of Manhattan. The show ended in 2012, but a new reboot is in production with goals to air later this year. The original can be binged on HBO Max.
Maybe you are searching for a teen binge that makes you keep an extra light on, or you are in need of a supernatural twist to the classics, there are another two that fit in this category:
- “Pretty Little Liars” premiered in 2010 and aired for seven seasons. The show follows the lives of four girls in high school whose best friend goes missing and a year later they are faced with a stalker who goes by the name of “A.” This show can be watched through HBO Max.
- “The Vampire Diaries” came out in 2009, and ended in 2017 after eight seasons, but has two spinoffs, “The Originals” and “Legacies.” The show follows the life of a high school girl who lost both of her parents in a car accident and falls in love with a vampire, which brings along all kinds of drama. You can binge this series on Netflix.
Back to the Basics:
Inspired by the classics, these two teen dramas are much more relatable than the wealthy and the thrillers:
- “Awkward” debuted in 2011 and ran for five seasons. The show follows all the experiences of high school including sex, relationships, bullying, and parents which can be, well, awkward. This show can be found on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.
- “On my Block,” being the most recent teen drama on the list, came out in 2018 and is currently working on the fourth and final season. The drama follows four lifelong friends as they navigate through high school and South-Central LA. Go ahead and binge this series on Netflix.
With these 10 bingeable teen dramas you should have plenty of television to get through this summer. These shows will keep you pressing “yes, I am still watching,” and remembering all the ups and downs that come with being a teenager.