Get Hooked on 7 of the Very Best Teen Dramas
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The teen drama is a time-honoured tradition, a chance to reimagine our awkward teenage years as something exciting, sexy or involving a murder mystery.
There are the classics, of course, but the teen drama has gone through something of a renaissance lately. There are more shows featuring precocious teens, dramatic love interests and, more often than not, life-or-death experiences than ever.
We’ve pulled together some of the very best that you can stream right now.
Based on the comics by Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls is a sci-fi time travelling romp starring four new faces: Riley Lai Nelet as Erin, Camryn Jones as Tiff, Fina Strazza as KJ and Sofia Rosinsky as Mac. During one of their newspaper delivery runs, the girls are caught in a time fold and accidentally travel from 1988 to 2019. With the merciless Prioress now hunting them to preserve the future timeline, the girls turn to an adult Erin (played by Ali Wong) to return to their timeline.
In between the time travelling and the epic, futuristic battles, Paper Girls is full of relatable moments that almost every girl watching will recognise. Erin gets her first period when they’re jumping between timelines (cue the girls banding together to figure out how tampons work) and KJ makes a discovery about her sexuality that rocks the rest of her journey through time.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Based on the slasher film and novel of the same name, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a tense teen thriller that had us all hooked when it premiered in 2021. If you missed it then, now’s your chance to catch up on the story of a group of friends who are stalked by a killer exactly one year after they covered up a fatal car accident on the night of their high school graduation.
I Know What You Did Last Summer is the kind of show that will have you wondering who the killer is, adding new clues and theories every episode until the gripping finale.
Based on the best-selling memoir by musical duo Tegan and Sara, High School is the story of the twins’ teenage years and how they found their own identities. Played by real-life twins Railey and Seazynn Gillilan, High School is that rare teen drama that’s based on reality but still just as intriguing to watch as the fictional ones. Told against the backdrop of ’90s grunge and rave culture, High School reveals how Tegan and Sara, now one of the most beloved pop bands of all time, began making music together.
When their plane crashes over a deserted island, nine teenage girls have to learn how to survive in the wilds — and it soon becomes clear that they didn’t end up here by accident. Each episode is intercut with flashback scenes that focus on one of the girls, giving us a glimpse into their lives before the crash, and flashforwards to a mysterious bunker where the girls are being questioned after their rescue.
Besides a thrilling plot, The Wilds has been praised for its representation. Erana James, who plays Toni, is of Maori heritage; Jenna Clause is a Cayuga Nation Wolf Clan member from Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, while her character Martha is an Ojibwe member from Minnesota; Sophia Ali, who plays Fatin, is a Pakistani-American actor playing a Pakistani character; and for Reign Edwards, who plays Rachel, it’s the first time she’s been able to wear her natural hair out on-screen.
The Vampire Diaries
Just because there are new shows to binge doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the classics. All eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries are streaming on Prime Video, and if that’s not a reason to return to your teenage self then we don’t know what is!
In her most recognisable role, Nina Dobrev plays Elena Gilbert, a human who falls in love with the preternaturally beautiful vampire brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Over the course of the show’s eight seasons, Nina, Stefan and Damon battle all manner of supernatural baddies, break curses, fall in love and have their heart broken — all the story beats of a classic teen drama.
Blue Water High
Before he was Ser Harwin Strong in House of the Dragon, Ryan Corr was Eric in the quintessential Australian teen drama Blue Water High. Set in a prestigious surf academy in Blue Water, Sydney, each season follows a new batch of 16-year-old recruits who are competing for a spot in a pro circuit surfing competition.
Lili Reinhart and Austin Abrams lead this emotional movie about love, loss and friendship. Abrams stars as Henry, a hopeless romantic who’s never been in a relationship until Reinhart’s Grace transfers to his school. When they’re put in charge of the high school newspaper, Henry immediately falls for Grace — and that’s where the teen drama tropes end. Chemical Hearts takes the classic formula and injects it with conversations about mental health, grief and how everything feels bigger, for better or worse, when you’re 17.
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