Teenagers can be notoriously hard to please when it comes to movies and TV shows, but luckily Netflix has enough relevant teen dramas to keep their eyes from rolling out of their heads. Tales of romance, mystery, and melodrama have long since replaced the innocence of Nickelodeon, but many parents are still clueless as to what shows to recommend to their angsty adolescents. Never fear, we're here to help. Whether you're finding a show for your teen or simply ready to relive the days of your youth, here are 10 of the best teen dramas on Netflix, hands down.
10 The Fosters
If you're looking for a teen version of This Is Us, then The Fosters is exactly what the doctor ordered. The series focuses on a lesbian couple's large and blended family (The Fosters) with one biological child, four adopted children, and two foster children. The show is a brutally honest glimpse into the often tumultuous lives of a blended family and explores themes of rejection, romance, friendship, parenting, foster care, adoption, race, and LGBT relationships. The Fosters has been widely acclaimed for its honest depiction of real-life issues and has earned two GLAAD Media Awards and one Teen Choice Award.
Riverdale is a series filled with drama, angst, romance, and teens who look like they just dropped out of a magazine, so kids between the ages of 13-18 are going to love it. The series is set in the small town of Riverdale and follows the lives of Archie Andrews and his friends (from the Archie comics). Don't worry, it's not just another teen soap; the seemingly perfect town of Riverdale is full of unsolved mysteries, dark undercurrents, and unexpected twists and turns that will keep viewers binge-watching through the night.
8 Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars follows the lives of five high school girls whose clique falls apart after their "leader" seemingly vanishes into thin air. The girls are unexpectedly reunited a year later after they begin receiving threatening messages concerning their roles in their former friend's death. There are seven seasons filled with mystery, romance, revenge, and murder, so prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster. For those teens who enjoy a good book, the series is loosely based on the novel by Sara Shepard.
7 Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl, based on the book series of the same name, was a wildly popular teen drama on The CW that ran from 2007-2012. The series acted as a career springboard for several well-known actors, including Blake Lively and Penn Badgley (from You), and was called the "Greatest Teen Drama of All Time" by New York Magazine. The series follows the lives of upper-class teens from Manhattan's Upper East Side, particularly "It" girl Serena Van Der Woodsen (played by Blake Lively). Although some of the characters are superficial, the storylines are not.
There are many lighthearted teen dramas out there, but Skins is a darker, more controversial look into the real issues that teens often struggle with in silence. The show focuses on a group of teens in Bristol, England, and tackles taboo subjects such as mental illness, sexuality, gender, substance abuse, bullying, eating disorders, and more. Each episode focuses on one particular teenager and the episodes are named after each featured character. This isn't the kind of show a teen would want to watch with their parents, but ironically, the show was created by a father-and-son duo.
5 The Vampire Diaries
Coming right off the heels of the Twilight craze was The Vampire Diaries, a supernatural teen drama that premiered on The CW in 2009 and lasted for eight seasons. The series follows the life of a teenage girl who falls in love with a 162-year-old vampire following the tragic death of her parents. Just like in Twilight, the storyline involves various villains and a complicated love triangle, so it's not exactly a unique concept. That said, The Vampire Diaries became the most watched series on the network and picked up four People's Choice Awards and many Teen Choice Awards, so clearly it was doing something right.
4 13 Reasons Why
Like the British TV show Skins, 13 Reasons Why is a wildly controversial teen drama that highlights some pretty intense issues such as bullying, mental illness, rape, and suicide. 17-year-old Hannah Baker commits suicide following sexual assault, cruel gossip, and a lack of support from the institutions meant to protect her. After her death, 13 cassette tapes (recorded by Hannah) are mailed to all the people she believes to be responsible for her decision to take her own life. PSA: Due to heavy and triggering content, many child psychologists and educators do not recommend letting your teen watch this alone.
3 Alexa & Katie
Alexa & Katie is a Netflix original sitcom about two best friends, Alexa and Katie, who struggle to navigate their first year of high school in the wake of Alexa's cancer diagnosis. There aren't many teen dramas that bring up the issue of mortality, but this series tackles it in a brutally honest, yet lighthearted way. "Fitting in" at school is hard enough without losing all of your hair and saying goodbye to a stable immune system, but the strength of Alexa and Katie's friendship helps carry them through it. The show is a heartwarming and refreshing look into what really matters: friendship, love, and hope.
2 On My Block
It's not often that you find a coming-of-age series with a diverse cast, but On My Block follows the lives of four African-American/Latino teens from a rough inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood who struggle to maintain their friendships after starting high school. The show has been widely lauded for its realistic storylines, stellar performances, and accurate depictions of real issues facing young people of color in low-income communities.
1 Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
Like its predecessor Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a supernatural teen drama based on the Archie comic book character Sabrina Spellman, a 16-year-old half-witch who straddles both the human and the supernatural worlds. The series was originally intended to be a companion series to Riverdale, which is also based on the Archie comics, but was moved to Netflix instead. The show has been undoubtedly successful and has been renewed for a second season of 16 episodes.