From animation to survival epics to superheroes, teen dramas are as distinctive and assorted as actual youngsters. To honor the triumphant return of “Never Have I Ever,” IndieWire considers the highest of the TV class.
The perils and plights of adolescence have lengthy been a supply of fascination for tv audiences. That’s significantly obvious these days with Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, FX, and others vying for zeitgeist dominance with teen-focused dramas taking part in to a wide range of inventive strengths. As narratives have gotten extra subtle general throughout the TV panorama, it is smart that the methods wherein we have a look at tales about younger folks have additionally developed. From “Never Have I Ever” and “Love, Victor” to “Yellowjackets” and “Stranger Things,” TV teenagers in 2022 are amongst among the most wealthy ever written.
Because life as an adolescent is equal elements comfortable and unhappy, hilarious and tragic, sexy and horrifying, the next curation doesn’t restrict choices by style, which means: These picks vary from animation to sitcoms to homicide mysteries to science fiction. That mentioned, there are additionally a good variety of picks which are completely targeted on the dramatic ups and downs of this turbulent time in peoples’ lives. Sometimes that’s all of the drama we’d like.
Liz Shannon Miller, Hanh Nguyen, and Michael Schneider contributed to this checklist.
35. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2008-2013)
ABC Family/Everett Collection
Molly Ringwald and 17-year-old Shailene Woodley shine as mom and daughter in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”: an ABC Family drama so soapy it’d as effectively come geared up with a loofah. What begins as a really “Teen Mom”-esque portrait of a (fictional) pregnant excessive schooler blooms right into a betrayal-laden neighborhood saga when a love triangle turns love sq. turns love…octagon? A marvel of multiplication, “Secret Life” set itself aside by hitting the identical coming-of-age beats as numerous exhibits earlier than it at a scale and pace that was nothing if not over-the-top entertaining. Sure, it’s virtually impenetrable “message” was all over, as Woodley has since identified. But you simply can’t beat “One Night at Band Camp.” —AF
34. “That ’70s Show” (1998-2006)
Nostalgia has by no means gone out of fashion. Running from 1998 to 2006, “That ’70s Show” invited audiences into the Nixon-era dwelling of 1 Eric Forman (Topher Grace): a sarcastic stoner who primarily spends his smartphone-less adolescence goofing round with associates Donna (Laura Prepon), Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Jackie (Mila Kunis), Hyde (Danny Masterson), and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) within the Forman household basement. Upstairs, Eric’s dad and mom Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (a profession greatest Kurtwood Smith) ship equally snarky antics to spectacular impact. Not solely did “That ’70s Show” boast a comedy type but to be matched by one other teen sequence, however it bridged the hole between adolescent and grownup humor so effectively the present stays a powerful look ahead to a large viewers. —AF
33. “American Vandal” (2017-2018)
32. “Andi Mack” (2017-present)
Disney Channel/Fred Hayes
“Lizzie McGuire” creator Terri Minskey turned her Midas contact to this Disney Channel sequence that blends socially progressive messaging with the silliness that comes with being a younger teen. The lovable Peyton Elizabeth Lee performs the title character Andi Mack, a lady who learns that the individual she thought was her older sister is definitely her mom (and that her mom is definitely her grandmother). It’s heartening to see that distinctive storyline, significantly when paired with considerate, detailed Chinese-American illustration. The family-friendly sequence explores time-honored teenage points, akin to crushes and courting, in addition to points that haven’t ever been addressed on a Disney Channel sitcom earlier than, akin to one character’s coming-out story, being the kid of a navy mother or father, and battling anxiousness. Fortunately, the sequence displays a deft hand with these points, addressing them sensitively and superbly with out ever shedding its humorousness.
31. “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (1996-2003)
Many exhibits about teenagers focus on folks attempting to be one thing that they’re not, however few exhibits took that setup as actually as “Sabrina.” Anchored by a few iconic performances — Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina, Nick Bakay because the eternally humorous Salem, and Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick as Aunts Hilda and Zelda — “Sabrina” adopted wherever the zaniness of its magical misadventures took it. Blending all of the pitfalls of highschool life with the occasional dip-in from the spirit world, Sabrina broke free from a sure type of multi-camera restriction to supply up a comedy that was timeless for extra causes than the immortality of its characters.