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Most Bingeworthy Teen Dramas Of All Time

There is just something about teen dramas that normal dramas don't have. Whether it's the "mostly" relatable plot lines or an inevitable high school love triangle, watching a show about teens going to a school you wish you went to and figuring out their life as you try to still figure out yours is a tradition. Even if you aren't a teen and are a full-fledged adult, these shows can still resonate with you and, thanks to streaming, are all available in some way.

Some series are all about navigating school and beyond, while other shows mix school life with the supernatural, making us all wish we had a double life trying to save the world. While the ones on this list are all bingeworthy for multiple reasons, they're all different in their own ways. Here are some timeless classics that have the ability to be watched over and over again without making you sick of them.

One Tree Hill

Arguably one of the best teen shows of the early 2000s, "One Tree Hill" follows the lives of two half-brothers, one who is popular and star of the high school basketball team, the other the complete opposite. The two grew up separately and led completely different lives until the beginning of the series. The WB/CW drama lasted for nine seasons, and even with a changing cast, many of the originals stayed on until the very end. One mainstay is the show's one true "endgame" couple: Nathan and Haley, also known as Naley. Theirs is a classic high school love story, and the two are put through the wringer. While sometimes it looks like they'll end things permanently, the couple always find a way back to each other — "always and forever."

While nine seasons may seem like a lot, it's a very easy show to binge. The first four seasons follow a group of friends through high school, while the back half of the series jumps to after college. There are some powerful and emotional moments that need to be seen by everyone. The series will take you back to the early aughts, when fashion was a choice and the music was impeccable. Fun fact: Stars Bethany Joy Lenz, Hilarie Burton Morgan and Sophia Bush now host a podcast together where they rewatch the series and discuss all things "OTH" and life growing up. New episodes drop every week on iHeartRadio!

The O.C.

"California, here we come!" "The O.C." is one of the most popular teen dramas out there. Centered on a teen who is willingly taken in by a family in an upscale neighborhood in Orange County, "The O.C." mirrored what life is like in Newport Beach. The series also gave "Saturday Night Live" one of its most memorable skits with 2007's "Dear Sister," which spoofed the show's Season 2 finale. In the episode, Marissa shoots Trey while the song "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap plays, which is the same song that plays in the SNL short as multiple characters shoot each other. "The O.C." ran for four seasons and touched on a number of issues common to teenagers while also tackling overall societal problems.

"The O.C.” wasn't afraid to get too serious or overdramatic, and when it came to the death of a particular character, it birthed one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking scenes in television. It's a very easy binge and can make you nostalgic for the drama-ridden days of high school. Plus, one of the show's ships, Summer and Seth, is just too adorable to not watch over and over again. "The O.C.” also wasn't afraid to make fun of itself on occasion. Something fun to point out that isn't necessarily relevant but still cool to think about: Adam Brody, who portrays Seth Cohen, is married to Leighton Meester, best known as Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl," another binge-worthy drama on this list.

Dawson's Creek

Another iconic teen drama from the early 2000s, "Dawson's Creek" proved itself one of the most memeable shows, thanks to that one scene of James Van Der Beek crying. Following a close-knit group of friends in a coastal town, "Dawson's Creek" was placed on Entertainment Weekly's "New Classics: TV" list in 2007, only four years after the show's end. This TV show was so big that a series of 15 paperback books featuring its characters was also published. A repeating skit on Nickelodeon's "The Amanda Show" parodied The WB series and became one of that show's most popular segments.

"Dawson's Creek" was racy and provocative, but that's also why it worked so well. While it did face a lot of criticism for incorporating adult themes into a teen drama, it went on to become a major critical success. It can also be viewed as one of the shows that jump-started the teen drama craze, and quite of few members of its cast went on to have big careers in Hollywood — most notably four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, who played the bad girl with a heart of gold Jen Lindley. The early 2000s was the height of the teen drama genre, and with streaming, it's still being watched today, even if not all seasons were enjoyable. However, that can't take away the magic of "Dawson's Creek."


If there is one show to define a whole generation, it would be "Degrassi." While some shows have lasted multiple seasons and are still popular after ending, this Canadian drama has gone through several iterations. It all began with "Kids of Degrassi Street" in 1980, followed by "Degrassi Junior High" in 1987, "Degrassi High" in 1989, and then "Degrassi: The Next Generation" in 2001. That one lasted for 14 seasons, though it changed to just "Degrassi" starting with Season 10, and spawned the next iteration, "Degrassi: Next Class," which ran for four seasons.

"Degrassi" is perhaps one of the most realistic teen dramas out there. While it does follow teens and their lives, it's not all peachy keen. There are teen pregnancy storylines, drugs, and even some very triggering storylines that are emotional and heartbreaking but need to be talked about. "Degrassi" is known for being the show that "goes there," meaning the writers weren't afraid to tackle topics other shows were afraid to. Plus, "Degrassi" has produced multiple superstars, including singer Drake — who was known back then as Aubrey Graham — Nina Dobrev, Shenae Grimes Beech, and others. In 2018, Drake even staged a major "Degrassi" reunion for his music video for "I'm Upset," which took place at Degrassi Community School.

The Vampire Diaries

A show that mixes all the highs and lows of high school life with the supernatural, "The Vampire Diaries" took the vampire genre to a whole new level. The CW series lasted eight seasons and spawned two successful spinoffs, "The Originals" and "Legacies," with the latter still going strong. This series kept fans on their toes as supernatural creatures took over Mystic Falls, Virginia, and it made viewers fight over who would be the better Salvatore brother for Nina Dobrev's Elena: Damon or Stefan?

Coming out at around the same time as "Twilight," the show was an instant success. While it did cover some normal high school drama, it was able to balance that with supernatural elements to keep the show fresh. Favorite characters were turned into vampires and werewolves, and some died and came back to life. While Nina Dobrev did end up leaving the show after Season 6, "The Vampire Diaries" remained a big hit on the network, mainly thanks to the brotherly chemistry between actors Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley. The ever-changing storylines and unpredictable plots, as well as the emotional and humorous aspects of the show, help it remain popular after its end.

Gossip Girl

Spotted: A group of privileged Upper East Siders getting their lives exposed and ruined by someone behind a computer screen. Based on the novel series of the same name, "Gossip Girl" centers on a blog that is created to expose the lives of upper-class teens in the wealthy part of Manhattan. Aptly named "Gossip Girl," the series drove fans to spend six seasons trying to determine the identity of a mysterious blogger whose posts were read via voiceover from Kristen Bell. When GG's identity was finally revealed at the end of the series finale, fans were definitely shocked and even tried to see if there were any hints throughout the series that would be a dead giveaway.

While "Gossip Girl" ended in 2012, GG is alive and well in 2021. A recent reboot hit HBO Max and has proven successful, even getting renewed for a second season. Kristen Bell returns to voice the unknown blogger, and although with the new series one doesn't necessarily need to have seen the original, there are some callbacks and references that will make any fan nostalgic. There are also some pretty iconic moments in the OG, especially with the fashion, such as Blake Lively having a tassel in her hair rather than a graduation cap. Just who is Gossip Girl? We'll never tell. Xoxo.


Ever wonder what it's like to be raised in Beverly Hills? "Beverly Hills, 90210" and its reboot "90210" shows you exactly that. The original ran for 10 seasons in the 1990s and followed twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh as they moved from Minnesota to Beverly Hills. The two of them and their friends went through a multitude of teen struggles, and later college struggles, that everyone goes through. While the show lasted a long time, only some of the original cast stayed on as new members were added throughout the years. 

Meanwhile, the 2008 reboot "90210" follows a similar theme and takes place years after the original. Some OG cast members like Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling and Shannen Doherty make appearances in the show's earlier seasons. The series lasted an impressive five seasons and dealt with some relatable teen drama, and it wasn't afraid to tackle some heavy topics as well. The reboot has fun callbacks for anyone who watched the original, but it's also a show that can stand on its own. Both versions are the epitome of teen dramas, and there is certainly enough drama, heartache and emotions to keep viewers captivated. 

It should also be noted the original series' cast — minus the late Luke Perry — reunited in 2019 for the meta and short-lived "BH:90210," which saw the actors playing fictional versions of themselves for a reboot. However, that series is only available on VOD services such as Prime Video.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If you ever wondered what life would be like if you were a high schooler by day and vampire slayer by night, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is the show for you. Based on the 1992 film of the same name, "Buffy" is centered on Sarah Michelle Gellar's titular character, who is the latest in a line of young women known as "vampire slayers" or "chosen ones." With the help of her friends — also known as the Scooby Gang — and paranormal allies, Buffy fights the evilest forces in the supernatural world, as her high school sits on top of a "Hellmouth" — a gateway to demon realms.

The success of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spawned a "Buffyverse," a fictional universe the series shares with spinoff "Angel." It includes books, comics, games and podcasts, and even a merchandise line. The series lasted for seven seasons in the late '90s and early '00s, with "Angel" carrying on the universe for five seasons. The show still gets attention and love from the cast and fans, despite recent allegations of abusive behavior against its creator Joss Whedon. Even so, it's still one to watch.

Teen Wolf

Before MTV was all "Ridiculousness" all the time, the network was known for more than just music. It had an impressive lineup of original shows at one point, including "Teen Wolf." Loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, the series centers on teen Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), a teenage werewolf who tries to defend his small town from supernatural creatures with the help of his friends and allies. The series recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and it's still a popular one today.

"Teen Wolf" lasted six seasons and quickly gained a rabid following when it premiered after the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. While the series had some issues with certain storylines, it became one of MTV's most popular shows. Despite its supernatural plot, the high school characters dealt with many issues teens struggle with, making it relatable. With exactly 100 episodes, "Teen Wolf" is the perfect week-long binge.

Pretty Little Liars

Based on the "Pretty Little Liars" books, this drama follows four friends stalked by an unknown assailant known only as "A" after their friend goes missing. With all of the twists, turns and plenty of cliffhangers, "Pretty Little Liars" is an unpredictable show that will have you second-guessing all of your theories. It lasted seven seasons and even had two spinoffs, "Ravenswood" and "Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists," though both were canceled after a single season.

Like a few other shows on this list, the characters of "Pretty Little Liars” do not stay in high school the entire time. There is a bit of a time jump in the later seasons, but it's not like anything has changed. Characters die, characters come back to life, and if you have any trust issues, they will only grow after you watch this series. If you love a good mystery and don't mind it being seven seasons long with some unnecessary storylines and relationships, this is the show for you. While "Pretty Little Liars” came to an end in 2017, HBO Max is currently developing a reboot, "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin," so the mystery will continue, albeit in a different city.

The Fosters

One of the most groundbreaking shows in television, "The Fosters" ran for five seasons on ABC Family/Freeform and spawned the current spinoff "Good Trouble." The series centered on the Adams-Foster household, which takes in new fosters Callie and Jude, who soon become part of the family. It became one of the network's most successful originals, and not just because Jennifer Lopez's name is attached as a producer.

The series was known for tackling issues such as LGBTQ, the foster system, immigration and addiction. It wasn't afraid to talk about real-world topics and discuss what's really happening out there. "Good Trouble" has continued that discussion. The show also manages to mix some comedy and lighthearted fun into a show that is full of emotions and heartbreak, shedding light on issues that are rarely talked about. There are many Emmy-worthy moments in "The Fosters" that make you want to be part of this family. The performances from the cast are beyond incredible and resonate with you. It proves that not all families are perfect, and even if you are deep at rock bottom, you can find your way back up with a great support system. And you can change the world.

13 Reasons Why

A controversial show based on the book of the same name, "13 Reasons Why" initially starts with Katherine Langford's Hannah Baker leaving 13 tapes, each with a reason why she decided to take her own life. Not many imagined the show going past the first season, let alone ending with four. It mostly moved away from Hannah in the next three seasons, focusing more on the other characters at Liberty High and their troubles.

The series attracted controversy throughout its run, most notably for how graphic Hannah's death was depicted. Netflix soon decided to cut the scene altogether, but that didn't stop the criticism. Aside from what the show is known for, it also dealt with mental health and other high school elements quite well. While its premise indicates "13 Reasons Why" wouldn't have more than one season, it's also not surprising it lasted as long as it did. Not only does it have Selena Gomez's name attached as an executive producer, but it also features some high-quality and emotional acting. When the series came to an end, fans felt heartbroken but satisfied — simply longing for just one last tape.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

A show that feels like a fever dream but wasn't, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" centered on a young Shailene Woodley as Amy Juergens, a pregnant 15-year-old. While the show was known for being a little dramatic and over the top, the issues it dealt with were very real and at times very serious. It's a show that doesn't take itself too seriously while taking itself very seriously at the same time. It lasted for five seasons on ABC Family and took the phrase "one night at band camp" to a whole new level.

"Secret Life" embodied the words "teen drama" at the time and became an instant hit among young audiences. Even though today it's mostly memed for how dramatic the series is, it gets praised for how it handled certain topics, including one dealing with stillbirth that broke hearts everywhere. When the show premiered, it was one of the only ones that really dealt with teen pregnancy, which is why it was so controversial. Even though there are some questionable storylines and characters, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" is a bingeworthy drama because of how serious and humorous it is at the same time.

Friday Night Lights

The sports drama to end all sports dramas, "Friday Night Lights" is one of the most celebrated teen shows from the 2000s. Following Kyle Chandler's Eric Taylor as he coaches a Texas high school football team, this TV series is inspired by a 1990 book and 2004 movie of the same name. Featuring an ensemble cast, "Friday Night Lights" lasted five seasons and was critically acclaimed despite never reaching high viewership when it aired on NBC. The series won numerous awards, including three Emmys, during its run.

"Friday Night Lights" is an inspiring tale about a high school football team that is the Little Engine that Could. The Dillon Panthers are the anchor of this small Texas town, and after surviving a lot of hardship, they push themselves to the limit to become champions. Outside of football, everyone in Dillon knows everyone, and the characters all have a story worth telling. Early in the series, one of the team's star players suffers an injury that leaves him paralyzed from the waist down, which also affects his teammates, girlfriend and family. Some of the show's teenaged characters explore their Christian faith, and their financial concerns about attending college leave others worried about their futures. The series' complex characters seem like people you'd know in real life.