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)
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).
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
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
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.