Sure, summer is traditionally spent by the pool or the beach, but let’s be honest there’s nothing better than ignoring the sun completely, putting some sweats on and lounging on the couch all day with your shows. This summer, up the ante and head back to high school where the drama is off the charts and the amount of time characters have before school is infinite. We’ve rounded up 8 completely addicting and totally enjoyable teen dramas that are currently streaming on Hulu for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!
Aired: 2003 – 2007
Synopsis: A troubled youth becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the wealthy, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Orange County, California.
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Tate Donovan, Melinda Clarke
Why It’s Worth a Binge: California, here you come! The O.C. is a teen staple and completely changed the landscape of the genre when it first premiered. The lives of these Orange County kids are absolutely insane, and it’s incredibly addicting to watch. Plus, you get some young Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson as the ship-wrothy Seth and Summer and if you’re wondering what Ben McKenzie was up to before he moved to Gotham, this is a must-watch. While marketed as a teen drama, it is so much deeper than that. At its core, The O.C. is a show about family – touching on your real family, step-families, chosen families, and more. Basically, it’s a TV rite of passage and the music is awesome.
Aired: 1998 – 2003
Synopsis: Four friends in a small coastal town help each other cope with adolescence.
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams, Kerr Smith
Why It’s Worth a Binge: Sure, you won’t know what half of the insane vocabulary Dawson and friends tend to use means, but every person should dip their foot into one of the most iconic TV love triangles of all time. Dawson and Joey vs. Pacey and Joey? Not only that, the show dealt with a lot of real issues and made us all want to move to a small beach town where we could paddle boat our way down the creek to our best friend’s house. Plus, look at this cast! The core four are still making major moves in Hollywood.
Aired: 2002 – 2006
Synopsis: A widowed brain surgeon from Manhattan moves his two children to the small mountain town of Everwood, Colorado.
Starring: Treat Williams, Gregory Smith, Emily VanCamp, Chris Pratt, John Beasley, Debra Mooney, Tom Amandes
Why It’s Worth a Binge: While Everwood could be categorized as more of a family drama, it certainly had the teen thing down pat. The series focused a lot on the effects of death and loss and tackled the rocky relationship that can occur between a father and son. Of course, one of the main reasons you should binge Everwood is for a young Chris Pratt. Need I say more?
My So-Called Life
Synopsis: A 15-year-old girl and her trials and tribulations of being a teenager and dealing with friends, guys, parents, and school.
Starring: Claire Danes, Jared Leto, Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz, A.J. Langer, Devon Gummersall,
Why It’s Worth a Binge: Jared Leto. Oh, I probably need to say more here so… the show was an accurate but short-lived portrayal of high school and the major issues many teenagers are facing including sexuality, substance abuse, dyslexia, and family drama. Even though the series only had one season, it introduced us to the brilliant inner monologue of Claire Danes’ Angela Chase and of course, the eternal hunk that is Jordan Catalano.
Synopsis: A young Clark Kent struggles to find his place in the world as he learns to harness his alien powers for good and deals with the typical troubles of teenage life in Smallville, Kansas.
Starring: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Justin Hartley, John Glover
Why It’s Worth a Binge: Superheroes are no strangers to television these days, but before we had the Arrowverse and The Defenders we had the adorable Tom Welling playing high-schooler Clark Kent/Superman in The WB’s Smallville. For a comic fan, it’s packed full of fan-favorite characters and villains, and while their costumes aren’t always outstanding, the acting, tone, and action are certainly strong points. It’s quite the undertaking with 10 seasons, but if this superhero show has passed you by all this time, now is definitely the time to start while all of your current favorites are on hiatus!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Aired: 1997 – 2003
Synopsis: A young woman is forced to fulfill her destiny of fighting vampires and demons with the help of her friends all the while struggling to live a normal teenage life of heartbreak and drama.
Starring: Sarah Michelle-Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head, James Marsters, Michelle Trachtenberg, David Boreanaz
Why It’s Worth a Binge: Buffy showed up to turn horror tropes on its head, making the blonde girl the ass-kicker and not the damsel. It’s not all about fighting monsters and the supernatural though, Buffy has all of the teen angst, romance, and friendship goals that a high school show needs and is extremely well-written. Not to mention, it was created by Joss Whedon and also featured one of the more passionately debated TV love triangles – Spike Vs. Angel. Watching it now you’ll realize just how relevant this 20-year old show still is.
Friday Night Lights
Aired: 2006 – 2011
Synopsis: The trials and tribulations of small-town Texas football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff.
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Aimee Teegarden, Taylor Kitsch, Minka Kelly, Jesse Plemons, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Porter
Why It’s Worth a Binge: Head to the small town of Dillon, TX where everyone has clear eyes, full hearts, and beautiful faces. It’s one of the most beloved dramas to come out of the 2000’s and made you actually care about football. You’ll cheer, you’ll cry, you’ll question one season 2 plotline, and you will wish to one day find a love like Eric and Tami Taylor. Much like their famous saying, when it comes to teen dramas you “Can’t Lose” when it comes to Friday Night Lights.
One Tree Hill
Aired: 2003 – 2012
Synopsis: Half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott trade between kinship and rivalry both on the basketball court and in the hearts of their friends in the small, but not so quiet town of Tree Hill, North Carolina.
Starring: Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, James Lafferty, Bethany Joy Lenz, Paul Johannson, Lee Norris, Moira Kelly
Why It’s Worth a Binge: One Tree Hill had one of the craziest teen drama journeys to ever grace television. What started out as a series about brothers and basketball slowly became a cult classic over nine seasons with more than a fair share of crazy plots that are sure to make you say “did they really just do that?” then immediately click “play next episode”. Aside from that, One Tree Hill is brilliantly written and flawlessly weaves in copious amounts of literature and music references.
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Having studied Media & Writing at James Madison University, I always knew that I wanted to do some type of creative writing, but being able to write about zombies, Starks, and superheroes on a daily basis for Fan Fest is my actual dream. While I probably shouldn’t be as proud as I am to be so similar to Nick Miller, I do hope to one day write my own “Pepperwood Chronicles’.