Teen TV series are about love, self-esteem, addiction, integration. Here's a selection to watch on Netflix and beyond.
Fighting at school, conflicts with parents, first loves in high school, sighs, discoveries and crises: these are some of the ingredients of teen dramas, the TV series that are depopulated in streaming in recent years.
Although it is considered by many a new genre, teen dramas have always conquered a huge slice of the audience and influenced entire generations. Think for example to Beverly Hills 90210, the TV series symbol of the Millennials, or Dawson's Creek, which made millions of teenagers dream in the early 2000s, up to the most recent The O.C. and Glee. But now what are the teen TV series - or teen drama - that keep young and old glued to the screen? The list would be long, but here's a selection of the most followed and loved by the public today.
Sex Education: sexuality, friendships and relationships between school desks
Created by Laurie Nunn, Sex Education allows us to address delicate but fundamental issues related to the world of adolescents: from sexuality to the way of expressing themselves, to the difficulty of forming relationships and dealing with taboos.
The main protagonist is Otis (Asa Butterflies) a boy who is very shy and awkward with others, especially with girls, who has a mother, who loves him but is in fact cumbersome, who works as a sexologist. Her name is Jean (Gillian Anderson) and the simplicity with which she talks about issues related to sexuality had the opposite effect on Otis, who instead lives this discourse with discomfort.
One day Otis chatting with his classmates begins to offer advice precisely on sex and discovers that he is good in the role of counselor. So, together with his friend Maeve (Emma Mackey), with whom he is secretly in love, he opens a sort of listening center and advice on sexuality absolutely clandestine in his school. The TV series then becomes a cue to talk about taboos, social relationships, and LGBTQI+ issues.
The 2019-born TV series is currently available on Netflix through its second season, while the third is currently in the works and highly anticipated by audiences.
Euphoria: teen drama starring Zendaya
Euphoria is the teen TV series that won the Best Leading Actress award at the 2020 Emmys. The recognition went specifically to the performance of Zendaya, who at 24 years old was the youngest winner in history in this category.
In the series Zendaya plays Rue, a girl who struggles daily with drug addiction. In addition to this, it deals with equally sensitive topics: from eating disorders, bullying, to gender identity. Thus, the topics are common to other teen products. What makes Euphoria different from other series? The performances, writing and direction play a fundamental role. No rhetoric, but a truthful and even ruthless story, which allows us to look at a cross-section of adolescence often ignored, but which is essential to talk about. Euphoria is available on Now TV and Sky.
Skam Italia: the Italian teen TV series
When talking about Italian teen series, Skam Italia is one of the first titles that comes to mind. But there are also others, from Summertime to Baby.
Why Skam Italia, then? Because it tells from close up and without rhetoric the world of Italian kids attending high school, each with their own problems and doubts. In fact, one of the strengths of the TV series is the characterization of each character.
It talks about relationships, love, but also about integration and inclusiveness. So it's a cross-section of a country that exists, but is rarely shown on TV. Each season focuses on a character or a couple. The latest season of Skam Italia, for example, focuses on Sana (Beatrice Bruschi), a second-generation Italian girl and practicing Muslim.
Skam Italia is available through its fourth season on Netflix and Tim Vision.
These are just three of many TV series focused on the teen world, but they represent a great place to start exploring this genre.