teen shows on netflix
10 Best Teen Shows On Netflix: From Wednesday & 13 Reasons Why To Cobra Kai, Sex Education – These Series Have Made Our List (Picture Credit: IMDb)

In the corridors of Koimoi, youth no longer reigns supreme. A short while back, some of our own wordsmiths were adolescents themselves. To be precise, less than a decade has passed since those teenage scribbles graced our screens. So, as we contemplated our newfound roles, doubts arose about our suitability for the task at hand. How could we, who were no longer in the throes of youth, craft a list of movie recommendations tailored to teenagers?

Then, a lightbulb moment: why not leverage our invaluable connections to the teenage world? Many of us have nieces and nephews, and some even have offspring now firmly ensconced in their teenage years. This sparked an idea. What if the movies on our list were not merely curated by us but passionately debated and argued over by the very demographic we aimed to serve?

And so, our movie recommendations are the product of dialogues and discussions with teenagers who know their cinematic desires inside out. Let the cinematic journey commence!

Everything Sucks! (2018)

Everything Sucks!
Everything Sucks! (Picture Credit: IMDB)

In a delightful homage to the mid-1990s, the creative duo of Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan gave birth to the charming series known as ‘Everything Sucks!’ Consisting of ten concise half-hour episodes, this Netflix series transports us to the hallowed halls of Boring High School in the year 1996.

Within this narrative, we are introduced to the A/V Club and the Drama Club, where embracing the mantle of the outsider is a source of pride. The story revolves around Luke O’Neil, a freshman at Boring High, and his close friends, McQuaid, the embodiment of pessimistic geekery, and Tyler Bowen, who seems forever stuck in the awkward phase of adolescence. Together, they are dubbed the school’s social misfits and find solace within the A/V Club.

Luke’s world takes a transformative turn when he develops feelings for Kate Messner, a mysterious sophomore at Boring who also happens to be the principal’s daughter. However, Kate’s personal journey becomes more complex as she questions her own s*xuality and becomes entangled in a romantic relationship with Emaline Addario, a fellow drama student who is currently dating another drama enthusiast, Oliver Schermerhorn.

As rumors circulate about Kate’s s*xual orientation, she unexpectedly finds herself in a romance with Luke, leading to a whirlwind of teenage emotions and misunderstandings. The drama escalates when an incident, inadvertently caused by Kate, leads to the cancellation of a school play.

Faced with this setback, Luke and his group of misfits hatch a creative plan: the A/V Club and Drama Club will collaborate to create a cinematic masterpiece to showcase to the entire high school. Amidst the tumult of teenage life, other intricate stories unfold.

Luke discovers a trove of VHS tapes left behind by his long-absent father, shedding light on a previously shrouded past. Luke’s mother, Sherry, embarks on an unexpected journey of her own, growing closer to Ken Messner, the principal of Boring and Kate’s father. Meanwhile, the maze of teenage emotions ensnares Tyler as he grapples with the mysteries of the opposite s*x, and McQuaid, whose heart yearns for Emaline, faces the bitter sting of rejection.

Set in the very real town of Boring, Oregon, during the iconic year of 1996, ‘Everything Sucks!’ encapsulates the raw essence of teenage existence. Amidst their mission to create a cinematic masterpiece, the teenagers of Boring High School navigate the challenges of self-discovery, mental health, and the turbulent journey into adulthood.

While the endearing evolution of the ensemble is certainly appreciated, it becomes apparent that the latter part of the season may have lingered excessively on character bonding, a dynamic that, regrettably, lacks the gripping allure reminiscent of a phenomenon like ‘Stranger Things.’ ‘Everything Sucks’ undeniably possesses charm, with its potential shining through, yet it doesn’t quite reach the captivating heights it aspires to.

In essence, this Netflix series exudes a sense of pleasantness, inviting us on a journey filled with the promise of greatness. However, it occasionally meanders, marked by inconsistencies and a touch of disarray. Nevertheless, amidst this winding path of ups and downs, it manages to stumble upon moments of sheer brilliance, ultimately offering an experience that transcends its initial shortcomings.

13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)

13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why (Picture Credit: IMDB)

A striking example of teen drama, ’13 Reasons Why’ emerges as a creation born of Brian Yorkey’s ingenuity, inspired by Jay Asher’s 2007 novel, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why.’ At its narrative core lies the poignant tale of Clay Jensen, portrayed by Dylan Minnette, who finds himself immersed in the turbulent aftermath following the tragic suicide of his fellow high school student, Hannah Baker, a role brought to life with gravitas by Katherine Langford.

Across its tapestry of thirteen episodes, the Netflix series deftly weaves the threads of past and present, meticulously constructing a slow-burning crescendo. This artful storytelling method leads the audience down an emotionally fraught path, each revelation more heart-wrenching and unsettling than the last. In this carefully choreographed unveiling, the capacity for both individual and communal selfishness and cruelty comes sharply into focus.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the show’s release was accompanied by a chorus of public concerns regarding the potential risk of suicide contagion among adolescents, particularly those grappling with suicidal ideation. The raw and graphic portrayal of sensitive topics, including teen suicide, self-harm, r*pe, and bullying, raised significant criticism, with particular emphasis on a profoundly distressing scene depicting Hannah’s suicide. This stark depiction led some researchers and medical professionals to assert that the series violated established guidelines for responsible media portrayal of suicide and might inadvertently incite imitative behaviors among high school students and vulnerable individuals.

Ultimately, ’13 Reasons Why’ finds itself teetering on the precipice of its laudable ambitions, occasionally frustrating the very ideals it seeks to uphold.

In the narrative, Hannah Baker, prior to her tragic demise, leaves behind a series of cassette tapes. Within these tapes, she painstakingly delineates the reasons that drove her to take her own life, along with a list of those whom she believes bear responsibility for her tragic fate.

Remarkably, ’13 Reasons Why’ emerges as an exemplar of television that possesses the rare capability to reshape perspectives. The show, while not immune to the typical imperfections often associated with Netflix productions, manages its grim subject matter with a degree of elegance and nuance, particularly during its inaugural season.

Cobra Kai (2018-2023)

Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai (Picture Credit: IMDB)

A Legacy Continues on the Small Screen. In the ever-shifting landscape of television, Cobra Kai pays homage to the enduring ‘The Karate Kid‘ films created by Robert Mark Kamen. With the creative guidance of Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, the series embarked on its journey, first on YouTube Red/YouTube Premium for the initial two seasons, then transitioning to Netflix for the third.

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their iconic roles, Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, after more than three decades. The story unfolds as Johnny, defeated by Daniel in the 1984 All-Valley Karate Tournament, grapples with alcoholism and depression. In contrast, Daniel’s life has thrived, but the absence of Mr. Miyagi leaves a void. Netflix’s Cobra Kai rekindles their rivalry, offering a blend of nostalgia and fresh perspective.

The End of the F***ing World (2017-2019)

The End of the F***ing World
The End of the F***ing World (Picture Credit: IMDB)

In the realm of television, The End of the F***ing World emerges as a captivating black comedy-drama series that weaves a tale of intrigue and dark humor. The program’s narrative unfolds around James, portrayed by Alex Lawther, a 17-year-old who harbors a chilling self-perception as a psychopath. His path intersects with Alyssa, played by Jessica Barden, a fellow student seething with anger and a longing for escape from her tumultuous home life.

The ensemble cast, featuring talents such as Gemma Whelan, Wunmi Mosaku, Steve Oram, Christine Bottomley, Navin Chowdhry, Barry Ward, and Naomi Ackie, adds depth and texture to the story.

James, driven by a sinister fascination, indulges in animal killings as a hobby, only to find it increasingly mundane. His desire takes a sinister turn as he entertains the idea of taking a human life. Alyssa, a mouthy and rebellious 17-year-old, emerges as his chosen target. However, her proposal of embarking on a shared journey offers a glimmer of hope for adventure and escape from her tumultuous home life. James, while agreeing to her plan, carries his own sinister intentions.

As their unexpected road trip unfolds across the English landscape, a series of misadventures bind their fates, gradually fostering a complex and intriguing relationship. Netflix’s The End of the F***ing World expertly navigates the fine line between darkness and humor, delivering a narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

On My Block (2018-2021)

On My Block
On My Block (Picture Credit: IMDB)

‘On My Block’ is a teenage comedy-drama series co-created by Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft. The talented cast, which includes Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, and Jessica Marie Garcia, brings this coming-of-age narrative to life. The Netflix series follows four street-smart friends as they navigate the challenges of high school in gritty South Central Los Angeles, while striving to rescue a friend from a gang and experiencing the complexities of friendship turning into something more.

Co-created by Lauren Iungerich – known for her work on ‘Awkward,’ and Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft – credited for ‘All Eyez On Me’ and ‘Empire,’ ‘On My Block’ is a comedy that delves into the highs, lows, and novelties of high school life within an inner-city setting. The show authentically portrays the real-life challenges these young individuals face, from deportation and poverty to racism, without reducing them to their adversities. It seamlessly transitions from lighthearted moments like football games and apple-bong-toking abuelitas to addressing the serious issue of youth violence, offering a unique perspective often absent in mainstream sitcoms.

What sets ‘On My Block’ apart is its adept weaving of themes related to crime and the constant threat of violence into the characters’ everyday existence, which is a departure from the typical approach in most white sitcoms, unless they address it as a ‘Very Special Episode.’

Wednesday (2022-)

Wednesday (Picture Credit: IMDB)

Netflix’s Wednesday is a distinctive supernatural comedy-horror series, delving into the coming-of-age odyssey of the iconic character Wednesday Addams, originally envisioned by Charles Addams. Crafted by the creative duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the series stars Jenna Ortega in the pivotal role, while an ensemble of enigmatic talents, including Gwendoline Christie, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Hunter Doohan, Percy Hynes White, Emma Myers, Joy Sunday, Georgie Farmer, Naomi J. Ogawa, Christina Ricci, and Moosa Mostafa, fills vital supporting roles.

Remarkably, the debut season boasts the directorial touch of the enigmatic Tim Burton in four out of its eight episodes, with Burton also assuming the mantle of executive producer.

The narrative delicately unveils a mystery steeped in supernatural elements, tracing Wednesday Addams’ formative years as a student at the mysterious Nevermore Academy. Throughout this eerie journey, Wednesday grapples with the task of harnessing her burgeoning psychic abilities, putting an end to a menacing killing spree that has shrouded the local town in darkness, and unraveling the otherworldly enigma that entangled her parents a quarter-century ago. Amid these enigmatic trials, she skillfully navigates the intricate tapestry of relationships at Nevermore.

This beguiling and enigmatic series has rightfully claimed its spot in the limelight, earning two coveted Golden Globe nominations. Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ offers a captivating expedition into the unknown, weaving a tapestry of supernatural wonder and comedic horror, alluring and mystifying its audience.

Heartstopper (2022-)

Heartstopper (Picture Credit: IMDB)

Within the realm of youthful romance and camaraderie, ‘Heartstopper’ unravels the narrative of two British adolescents. This endearing production, a romantic comedy-drama that explores the journey to adulthood, is now accessible for streaming on Netflix. It is the brainchild of the gifted Alice Oseman, who drew creative inspiration from her own webcomic and graphic novel, both bearing the same title. The series offers a profound look into the lives of its intriguing characters.

Set against the backdrop of an all-boys school, Charlie, an openly gay young man who tends to overthink things, crosses paths with Nick, an affable and kind-hearted rugby player. A twist of fate places them side by side in the classroom, sparking a profound friendship that gradually deepens, especially for Charlie. Despite initial doubts about the possibility of a romantic connection with Nick, the unfolding tale reveals that love can often take unexpected turns, with Nick harboring feelings for Charlie that surprise them both.

‘Heartstopper’ transcends the boundaries of a mere romantic narrative; it stands as a tribute to love, friendship, and unwavering loyalty. It seamlessly weaves together the significant, albeit small, moments in the lives of Nick and Charlie, resulting in a heartwarming and profoundly meaningful story.

Sex Education (2019–2023)

Sex Education
Sex Education (Picture Credit: IMDB)

In the landscape of adolescent challenges and the intriguing journey of s*xual exploration, ‘Sex Education‘ assumes a prominent role, offering a distinctive and often humor-infused perspective on the tumultuous passage through youth. This Netflix series introduces viewers to Otis Milburn, a socially awkward high school student who, despite his limited romantic experiences, finds himself in the remarkable position of being the offspring of Jean Milburn, a renowned s*x therapist.

Coming of age in an environment saturated with educational manuals, informative videos, and candid discussions about matters of intimacy, Otis unwittingly acquires a profound understanding of the subject. When his peers become privy to the nature of his home life, Otis seizes the opportunity to elevate his social standing within the school’s hierarchy. In a collaboration with the astute Maeve Wiley, an intelligent yet occasionally rebellious teenager, they establish a clandestine s*x therapy clinic, dedicated to addressing the complex and intimate dilemmas of their fellow students. However, as Otis offers guidance to others, he is confronted with the realization that he may require therapy for his own romantic tribulations.

The ensemble cast of ‘Sex Education’ includes exceptional talents such as Asa Butterfield in the role of Otis Milburn, Gillian Anderson portraying Jean Milburn, Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, and Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley. These characters navigate the intricacies of adolescence, friendship, and love, weaving a compelling narrative that not only entertains but also delves into the profound nuances of human connections.

With its compelling storyline and a roster of characters grappling with the multifaceted landscape of teenage life, Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’ has solidified its status as a series of significance, one that thoughtfully addresses the challenges and curiosities inherent in the transitional journey to adulthood.

Derry Girls (2018-2022)

Derry Girls
Derry Girls (Picture Credit: IMDB)

In the vibrant world of British television, ‘Derry Girls’ shines as a captivating teen sitcom that graced our screens on January 4, 2018, via Channel 4, ultimately delivering three delightful series. The brainchild of the talented writer Lisa McGee, this show has carved out a well-deserved spot as one of Channel 4’s most triumphant comedy creations since the iconic ‘Father Ted.’ What truly sets ‘Derry Girls’ apart is its enchanting ability to effortlessly blend humor with the touching backdrop of Lisa McGee’s personal journey through the vibrant streets of Derry, Northern Ireland, during the tumultuous 1990s, a time marked by the waning years of the Troubles.

The heart of the series – now available on Netflix, beats with the spirited performances of Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, and Dylan Llewellyn, who breathe life into a group of five teenage friends navigating the streets of mid-1990s Derry. Their adventures unfold against the backdrop of the fictional girls’ Catholic secondary school, Our Lady Immaculate College, a creation inspired by the real-life Thornhill College, where McGee herself received her education. The enchanting portrayal of Derry’s essence is made possible by the skilled hands of the esteemed British production company Hat Trick Productions. The majority of the series was lovingly shot on location in the city itself, with some scenes adding the charming backdrop of Belfast.

But what truly sets ‘Derry Girls’ apart is its ability to seamlessly weave fictional narratives with real events from the Troubles and the Northern Ireland peace process. The series pays tribute to pivotal moments, including the 1994 IRA ceasefire announcement, the 1995 visit of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton to Northern Ireland, and the significant Good Friday referendum of 1998. The show brilliantly integrates archival footage, featuring key political figures like Ian Paisley, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, John Hume, and Mo Mowlam, delivered through the quaint medium of TV and radio broadcasts within the characters’ homes.

The series’ delightful trip down memory lane is enhanced by a carefully curated soundtrack, featuring iconic music from the 1990s. This soundtrack includes beloved artists like Ace of Base, Blur, Cypress Hill, Salt-N-Pepa, Enya, the Corrs, Boyzone, Scarlet, Fatboy Slim, and the Cranberries. Each tune evokes a nostalgic wave, adding a layer of authenticity and effortlessly transporting viewers back in time.

In summary, ‘Derry Girls’ transcends the boundaries of mere comedy; it’s a poignant exploration of a challenging era in Northern Ireland’s history, all through the perspective of five vibrant teenagers. With its unique combination of humor, nostalgia, and a touch of historical backdrop, Netflix’s ‘Derry Girls’ emerges as a true treasure in the realm of television, poised to take you on an engaging and unforgettable journey.

Atypical (2017–2021)

Atypical (Picture Credit: IMDB)

The Netflix series ‘Atypical,’ which ran from 2017 to 2021, was created by Robia Rashid and is situated in the scenic backdrop of Connecticut. The show explores the life of Samuel ‘Sam’ Gardner, portrayed by Keir Gilchrist, an 18-year-old character living on the autism spectrum. Sam’s quest for a romantic relationship sets in motion a profound journey of self-discovery, impacting both him and his mother deeply.

This series offers a unique viewing experience, seamlessly shifting between humor and poignant moments, occasionally taking the audience by surprise. Sam’s voice-overs immerse us in his world and offer his perspective, although at times, the portrayal stays on the surface rather than delving deeper into his experiences.

‘Atypical’ unmistakably champions the representation of autism, with Keir Gilchrist, not on the spectrum himself, delivering a compelling and thoughtful performance. He skillfully avoids falling into stereotypes, even during the more emotional or expected scenes.

In summary, ‘Atypical’ welcomes viewers into the world of a teenager with autism on a profound journey of self-discovery and independence, intertwined with his family’s evolving dynamics and the intricate concept of normalcy. While it may require some adjustment, the Netflix series provides a distinctive blend of humor, emotions, and a fresh perspective on autism. Keir Gilchrist’s portrayal of Sam adds authenticity and depth, ensuring that the subject matter is handled with care and consideration.

In conclusion, while we drew on valuable insights from teenagers, it’s noteworthy that the show ‘Stranger Things,’ which we anticipated they might mention, was notably absent from their recommendations, leading us to exclude it from our list. However, the most intriguing revelation was their inclination towards stories set in the 80s and 90s – a preference that defies conventional expectations.

Teenagers have a unique way of charting their own course and breaking from the norm. So, if you’re a teenager, we invite you to consider whether our list aligns with your own preferences and peculiarities. After all, teenage tastes are known for their unpredictability and individuality.

Must Read: Suits Cast Salary: Harvey Specter Is Indeed The Best Closer Ever As Gabriel Macht Earned Almost Double From ‘Mike’ Patrick J Adams & Here’s How Much Others Earned!

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