A definitive list of the best teen drama shows of all time.

Nothing galvanises the adolescent experience quite like seeing the same feelings, relationships and escapades being played out on TV. And even long after the raging hormones sorted themselves out, teen drama shows still hold a special place in our hearts.

If you grew up in the ’90s or early 2000s, there was a very specific set of teen drama shows that had us in a chokehold. As we moved into the 2010s and 20s, a new wave of equally watchable shows aimed at adolescents rolled in. And while many of us may never know what it’s like to live in a terrace in the Upper East Side or the streets of Bristol, the characters we adored on screen were going through the same adolescent rites of passage we were. Here are the teen dramas that still have our hearts, decades on from being… actual teenagers.

Watch: Moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Post continues below.

Video via 20th Century Fox Television.


The original cast of Skins. Image: Channel 4.

In 2007, a British teen drama was released and it immediately got everyone talking. A far cry from its saccharine US counterparts, Skins blasted into our lives full of sex, drugs, alcohol and relationships, and tackled everything from eating disorders to mental health issues through a grainy rave-pop lens.

It was sweaty and edgy and daring — and the world was hooked. It also gave birth to some then-fresh faces who have gone on to have successful Hollywood careers, including Daniel Kaluuya, Nicholas Hoult and Dev Patel.

The O.C.

The cast of The O.C. Image: Warner Brothers.

On the surface, it’s easy to dismiss The O.C. as a vapid interpretation of how a very specific subsect of the teen experience unfolded in the flashy gated community of Newport Beach.

But while there was a lot of privilege at play in this epic show, main characters Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton), Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) and the boy from the other side of town, Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), have so much heart and sass you can’t help but feel compelled to delve deeper into their world. Oh, and the absolutely unrivalled early millennial fashion display is enough to get you coming back for more.