The CW broadcasting network, a sister company of the CBS and Warner Bros. corporations, started off as a television network meant to appeal specifically to women between the ages of 18 and 34.
Since its initial launch in 2006, however, the network has somewhat changed its tune, in that its core audience is estimated to be approximately a 50% split between people who identify as men and those who identify as women.
Whatever the network’s target demographic, though, it’s hard to deny that the CW has released its fair share of quality and seriously popular television over the years, such as The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Arrow, and Riverdale – among others.
Although the network has typically appealed to the range of ages that it had as its initial target demographic of adults, the network has also managed to broadcast a number of television shows that appeal to a younger demographic, thanks to its juicy drama and consistently attractive actors – even if the shows aren’t necessarily PG.
There are some CW shows that just aren’t age appropriate. Read on for the 17 CW Shows That Are Not For Teens.
17 Vampire Diaries
Although The Vampire Diaries started off as a relatively innocent television show about vampires (premiering during North America’s big vampire phase, thanks to the Twilight film franchise, released a year before), we very early on realized that this is not just another vampire television show.
After the first time we witness Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) being intimate, we recognize that this is not as PG as the previews for the show may have made it seem.
In spite of the fact that the characters in the show are technically teenagers, the CW has no qualms in placing them in very mature scenes.
To add on to the questionable age factor (which is recurring theme in CW shows, actually) the scenes that we do see in The Vampire Diaries are far from wholesome! Just ask Caroline, who suffered at Damon's hands in season 1.
If you aren’t into medical dramas or dystopian thrillers that hit perhaps just a bit too close to home, then Containment is most certainly not the CW television show for you.
The show centers on an overpowering and brutal epidemic that quarantines and isolates the population of a city – forcing them to essentially fend for themselves, even if it is at the expense of others.
After just one season of mediocre acting and a whole lot of gore, producers decided to call quits on Containment.
In this case, sure, the show was certainly not intended for a younger audience – but clearly its older audience wasn’t all that impressed either. After a period of time, all of the gore, blood, and guts becomes tiresome, and it’s time to move on to better storylines.
15 Significant Mother
Sure, the old clichéd story of the adolescent hooking with their best friend’s mother has undoubtedly been done before – but in the case of the CW’s Significant Mother, this topic is explored – and in detail, and in full.
The plot is familiar – 20-something Nate learns that his BFF and roommate Jimmy is sleeping with his mom, Lydia, when she walks into their shared apartment in nothing but a towel. From that moment on, the show literally focuses only on the dynamic of the young man dating his best friend’s mom, and the many strange encounters that occur in that time.
Needless to say, as entertaining as these stories might serve for one or two episodes, the plot got old by the end of a short season 1, and the show was canceled.
14 The Beautiful Life
After The O.C., we didn’t hear much from Mischa Barton, apart from some low-brow news stories of run-ins with the law and some unsuccessful explorations into more alternative television shows and movies.
Sure enough, one of these experiments was The Beautiful Life, a television show with Barton starring alongside other B-List stars like Sara Paxton, Ben Hollingsworth, Corbin Bleu, and Elle Macpherson.
The Beautiful Life was essentially a television show about the happening times of models and aspiring models – and all the substance abuse and self-esteem issues that come with the lifestyle.
As if teenagers needed another television show glamorizing the life of a model – although in this case, luckily, the show never really met much success, and was canceled before finishing its first season.
Although Riverdale is one of the CW’s more popular television shows, and has dabbled (somewhat) successfully in topics ranging from colonization to assault to the power of corporations to socioeconomic inequality, it can still sometimes miss the mark.
The Mrs. Grundy-Archie relationship – while short – was one of those storylines that didn’t work so well for the show, or for its viewers.
As a show that clearly caters primarily to teenagers, the glamorization of the Grundy-Archie relationship (which was essentially a glamorization of statutory assault) was no way of setting an example.
Where characters like Veronica and Betty do questionable things and make mistakes, their characters still make up for the bad with the good, in that they are strong and independent women. In Grundy’s case, there was nothing notable about her, and her relationship with Archie was only harmful.
12 Melrose Place
Although the Melrose Place from the 1990s was a roaring success, with 7 seasons in its name (until the 2000s, that is), the new Melrose Place, that was broadcast by the CW from 2009 to 2010, was not so successful.
The show riffed off the original in terms of hook-ups, substances, and scandal, but didn’t come out on top in terms of casting.
The story line and the acting combined made for an all around unoriginal television show that didn’t do much more than, yet again, glamorize the lives of the rich, famous, beautiful, and self-obsessed.
As if teens didn’t have enough terrible influences in the world by accident, it was as though the new Melrose Place was just searching to be a bad influence.
The CW television show about a television show about a cult that actually ends up being a cult in itself (cool premise, we suppose?) was nothing if not extremely creepy.
However, unlike some scary television or film where at least the story line is intelligent and the acting is well done, the CW’s Cult (another show canceled after just one season) was only scary, with very little substance attached.
For teenagers, if they must stay up late binging on Netflix – or whatever the latest streaming app is – then they should at least shed their brain cells on something worthwhile.
In the case of Cult, apart from being fully terrifying, the show itself is just plain bad, and not only made it inappropriate, but was also a real waste of time.
If teens are going to get into historical dramas, please let them at least settle for something of a higher quality than Reign.
For instance, although the line between fact and fiction is still crossed at various points in television shows like Outlander and Downton Abbey, at least the shows have some history in their stories that is generally accepted to be true.
For the CW’s Reign, though, there isn’t much to the story apart from its very disconnected and questionable interpretation of history, and a whole lot of hook-ups and scandal.
Sure, historical drama and scandal usually make for some pretty good TV – but when there’s so much better out there, we can only hope teenagers aren’t choosing this show to use as their staring point for their education in history.
9 The Originals
Obviously, despite The Vampire Diaries not being overly appropriate for a younger audience, the television show was an overwhelming and raging success in Hollywood.
The Originals, CW’s spin off of The Vampire Diaries, was met with an equal amount of success – much to everyone’s surprise!
However, like its predecessor, The Originals is not for the younger generation. As it is, we all know that vampire desire is of a special substance, The Originals does not disappoint as it explores more of what its sister show already did so well, as we are mesmerized by graphic scenes that we thought was only appropriate for HBO.
Sure, we can’t peel our eyes away (especially when all the actors are all so good looking), but we can’t imagine that teenagers are quite ready for this non-PG TV.
8 13: Fear Is Real
As if any of us, let alone the easily influenced and malleable minds of adolescents, needs more bad (is there any good?) reality television in our lives.
Unfortunately, The CW gave us more of what we don’t need, which is just that – bad reality television – but that was horror-themed, to boot.
13: Fear Is Real revolved around 13 people who were competing with one another as they faced their deepest fears, which could include anything from physical fears to psychological fears.
Needless to say the show didn’t get too far, with just one season of 8 episodes. Whether it was because the "reality" of the show was just not realistic enough, or the premise of the show by 2009 had just been done way too many times, it’s a relief to know this show isn’t around anymore to make teenagers dumber.
7 Gossip Girl
There’s no denying that Gossip Girl is now a cult classic, and we do have The CW to thank for that.
But some of the messages the show relayed to younger generations were not all that wholesome. Sure, we learned about friendships and relationships and love and heartbreak – but there were other more questionable messages that were scattered throughout its 6 seasons.
For example, although we were initially supposed to support the poor underdogs from Brooklyn (Jenny and Dan), by the end of the show, they, along with their dad, Rufus, end up being some of the least popular characters from the show.
Indeed, as iconic as the show is, it doesn’t do anyone any good – especially not teenagers – in its glamorizing of the rich and the elite.
Where the CW was successful in making Gossip Girl timeless (at least until season 3), it has not been as successful in its latest show about the uber-rich, Dynasty.
The show is about a very wealthy daughter who is out to take down her dad’s new fiancée, whom she suspects of gold digging.
On top of this storyline already having been done countless of times before (not to mention in the original soap opera the show is based on from the '80s), the plot and acting leave a dry taste.
Unlike some other shows about rich people, that at least leave a positive or inspirational message for its viewers, Dynasty does nothing more than messily attempt to glamorize the life of the rich and famous.
5 America’s Next Top Model
As the original reality television show about models "making it," America’s Next Top Model enticed the world with its 24 seasons (and counting) about the modelling world and its many intricacies.
Sure, the show has been and will likely continue to be hugely successful, and with social media running rampant these days, there’s no doubt that teenagers can just as easily be influenced by models on their Instagram as the models they see on TV.
Even so, not so long ago America’s Next Top Model was the show that teens looked to for inspiration.
Sure, it’s a great show, you have to wonder if these shows are really all that great for teens to be taking in. Just like how social media doesn’t work magic on a person’s self-esteem, we can’t imagine that America’s Next Top Model is much better in that sense.
4 7th Heaven
Given that 7th Heaven was cringe-worthy enough back in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays, the show is downright outdated.
From its conservative themes to its hokey storylines, 7th Heaven’s old school method of influence is just not with the times anymore.
Even though the show was initially created to positively influence teens, we would say that nowadays there’s no room for these sorts of overbearing traditional views in popular television.
If that’s not enough to make you turn away, just remember that the actor who played Reverend Camden was the subject of a scandal back in 2014 pertaining to his past counts of abuse – on three separate occasions. No one, let alone teenagers, wants to be reminded of that sordid story.
3 Hidden Palms
Yet another CW show that was canceled after just one season, Hidden Palms tells the story of wealthy teenagers and their parents living in Palm Springs.
As if there weren’t enough shows about teenagers getting into very adult trouble, Hidden Palms was yet another addition to the list – albeit, a short-lived one.
Clearly, this show really isn’t for anyone, and we’re thankful that The CW chose to leave it alone.
For teens looking for some good old teen drama, this is not the show for them, as there are so many better teen dramas that back down on the adult contact but step it way up in terms of quality of acting, writing, and storyline.
If an adolescent must shed their brain cells on something trashy, they might as well choose something that at least has some substance.
It’s clear that The CW loves to pick up a television reboot, whether that show is based on an older, more soapy-style show, a book, a play, or even a comic book (Riverdale).
In the case of 90210, based on the ten years running Beverly Hills, 90210 teen drama from the '90s, the reboot was never as good as the original.
Sure, unlike some other CW reboots like Melrose Place, 90210 did last 5 seasons, but midway through the series, the protagonist of the show, Annie (Shenae Grimes), had wound up as an escort. Fresh out of high school, Annie used the money she made as an escort to pay for her sorority dues.
All in all, when even the "good girl" of the show winds up as an escort, we’d say the show isn’t the best in terms of providing stable role models for teenagers.
There is no doubt that Arrow is of quality television – but even after just one episode, you do start to feel desensitized to all the violence, fighting, and blood.
Sure, if teens have to watch a CW show, then Arrow may be one of their better choices in terms of quality (it was the highest rated CW show in five years when it was first released in 2012), however the amount of blood we see shed in the show can become quite disturbing after a while.
Although the argument of whether violent media, be that film, television, or video games will influence young minds negatively remains a debated topic, the show is unarguably overly violent, which can be disturbing to any demographic – not just teens.
Did we miss a CW show that is clearly not age-appropriate? Let us know in the comments!
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