Ranking the Top Teen Dramas of the Last 20 Years

11. Smallville (2001-2011)

Smallville had lost its edge in season five. However, the first few seasons about Superman’s teenage years were both grounded and fun, which added nuance and sex appeals to the comic book world. Smallville walked to allow The CW’s Arrowverse to run. There was no hotter or more earnest leading man in history than Tom Welling’s portrayal of Clark Kent. He was a 24-year-old high school freshman. This is from The WB.

10. Riverdale (2017-present)

Yes, Archie, but make it sexier. Archie is number 10 on this ranking. Let me give you four reasons. Bughead. Varchie. Bartie. Riverdale created some of the most beloved ships in recent TV history within its two first seasons. Despite some missteps and criticisms, the CW series is one of the most entertaining and eye-catching on TV. Its dedication to its noir setting and timeless setting and complete disregard for any attempts at realism make it one of the most popular and memorable. Are you bored of a plot? You’ll likely finish it in half the season. You won’t want to miss the famous one-liners, amazing costuming, sexy teens, and wildly chaotic musical episodes.

9. All American (2018-present).

Coach Billy Baker (Taye Ezra), recruits South Central football player Spencer James to a school that offers better education and is safer. The teen must adapt to his new high school in Beverly Hills and his new teammates. It’s easy to see how All American compares to The O.C.Friday Night Lights. But that’s not what the Popular TV Series seems to be trying to counter. All American fills the void left by these old shows, allowing the stylized CW drama to stand out among a sea of teen detectives or serial murder plots.

8. On my Block (2018-present).

On my Block is a Netflix-described comedy about four street-savvy friends who navigate their way through high school in the inner city. Season three has just dropped. You should start watching it now.

7. Skins (2007 – 2013)

Skins were emotional, raw, and messy at the same time. It projected every quintessential “teen problem” onto its poor, pretty British cast, including baby Nicholas Hoult and Dev Patel. Any drama that attempts to tackle difficult topics–from drug abuse, eating disorders, and unexpected death–should consider Skins (the original generation), which was able to tell these often heartbreaking stories without resorting to trauma or trivializing mental illness.

6. Euphoria (2019 – Present)

Euphoria, HBO’s new answer to skins, is a huge hit for a good reason. Zendaya stars in the role of Rue, a recovering addict who falls for her transgender classmate Jules ( Hunter Schaer) but is unaware of the dangerous dynamic that exists between her new drug and Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi).

This series is the first to amplify what made the early aughts teen dramas so memorable: The music is thoughtful and the lighting is blissful. And the yearning feels tangible. It’s no wonder that the effect was so immediate. It’s hard to believe that teens are wearing Euphoria make-up now, even if they weren’t using it outside of the house.

5. Elite 2018 -???)

Every season of Elite has been centered around a central mystery: Who murdered Marina (Maria Pedraza)? Where is Samuel (Itzan Eschilla), who was responsible for [ redacted]? The series, which began as another story about teens from working-class neighborhoods trying to make their way in a school full of privileged rich kids, has managed to get to the top. These Spanish-speaking murder teenagers feel shocked at how grounded they are for all the trouble they get into. The cast is attractive, the romances are high key shippable, but most importantly, the costumes designers deserve all the accolades for their fabulous school uniforms and spectacular Halloween looks.

4. Glee 2009-2015

It doesn’t matter what you think about Glee–take out the majority of season five, and you will have the perfect show. A group of unpopular children and one hot quarterback started a glee club, and they sang Journey to an empty auditorium. This was a cultural reset. Are multiple storylines absurd and problematic? Yes, multiple storylines are problematic. However, there is still a generation of children who secretly listen to the Glee Spotify playlist. That, my friends, is what they call influence. Cory Monteith, RIP.

3. Gossip Girl 2007-2012

Forget the identity for Gossip Girls. Take a moment to recall how many colored tights or headbands Blair Waldorf gave you. The Gossip Girls was a series that followed wealthy Upper East Siders and a lonely boy Dan Humphrey from Brooklyn as they navigated their complex lives as wealthy teen New York socialites. Although I don’t know why I loved the show.

2. The O.C. 2003-2007

Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher), brought Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), a troubled Chino teenager, into his beautiful Orange County home in 2003. This changed the lives and futures of millions of millennials. Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), Chrismukkah, and a long-lasting obsession with indie emo groups gave birth to the O.C. California, we are here.

1. Veronica Mars (2004-2007, 2019)

The O.C would be the number one show, but Veronica Mars would take the top spot. This show combines the beautiful sunny setting and class dynamics with our obsession with teen murder mystery shows. Kristen Bell starred as Mars, a popular teen girl who becomes a private detective after her best friend Amanda Seyfried is killed. Veronica’s sheriff’s father then blames Mars for the murder. Veronica is determined to solve the murder and rape of her friend Amanda Seyfried, as well as figure out how to fall in love with Logan Echolls, a psychotic, rich rival. Solid mystery, brilliant writing, and one of the most surprising teen romances ever written. This is a clear winner.