Teen TV Roundup
Updated: Sep 4, 2018
I can't quite explain it, but now feels like as good a time as any for a nostalgia binge, you know what I mean? Maybe it's because it's Prom season? Or because last week's Entertainment Weekly featured all kinds of goodies from the eighties, nineties, and early aughts? Or! That Netflix is finally dishing on the Sabrina: The Teenage Witch reboot.
Whatever. You don't need a reason to relive high school!
Without further ado, here's your quick guide to the best of teen TV, currently streaming on a laptop/dongle near you.
Interested in teens who save the world from paranormal/extraterrestrial/vampire-like things? Plus comedy? Try Buffy the Vampire Slayer (WB 1997–2003; on Hulu) or Roswell (WB 1999–2001; UPN 2001–2002; on Hulu). Want all that but a little more on the romance side? Then head for The Vampire Diaries (The CW 2009–2017; on Netflix). And if you want all that with a definite G-rating and an adorable, sassy animatronic cat, then Sabrina: The Teenage Witch (ABC 1996–2000; WB 2000–2003; on Hulu) is for you.
If supernatural stuff isn't your thing, then maybe you're into strong female characters? Of course, Gilmore Girls (WB 2000–2007; on Netflix)—minus the regretable Netflix special—is a staple in this camp. Also: Felicity (WB 1998–2002; on Hulu), if you can get past the whole initial and very implausible stalker plot. And then there's the tragedy that is the canceled-far-too-soon My So-Called Life (ABC 1994–1995; on Hulu), helmed by very angsty teenage-versions of Claire Danes and Jared Leto.
Maybe you're more of a sports fan. Friday Night Lights (NBC 2006–2011; on Netflix) is the obvious pick in that category. But then there's also the sleeper hit, One Tree Hill (The WB, and then The CW, 2003–2012; on Hulu). Which has maybe the best theme song on this entire list?
Or second best? Dawson's Creek (WB 1998–2003; on Hulu) stands on an island of its own when it comes to Paula Cole's "I Don't Wanna Wait." The WB wasn't able to secure the song rights for future versions of the show, so you'll just have to play it on your own time and endure the replacement theme while you stream. Creek heralded in an era of romance-driven storylines, from Anna–Seth–Summer love triangle and Marissa–Ryan disastership on The OC (Fox 2003–2007; on Hulu) to all the mess that is Gossip Girl (The CW 2007–2012; on Netflix).
There are like twenty-million more things that are currently airing, mostly on Our Lady of Young Adulthood, The CW (e.g., Riverdale). But surely the above is enough to get you started? Collectively, this is no less than like twenty-billion years worth of television. Honestly, now might be a good time to upgrade to a No Commercial Account on Hulu if you haven't already. . . . I'm just looking out for you, here.
Happy nostalgia trip!