Whether they’re set in the present or the past or are painted over with supernatural fantasy or kept to the reality we know, there are plenty of television shows out there that are ready to satisfy our entertainment needs. Teen TV shows often portray coming-of-age stories. Sometimes, they are love stories or just comedies. After the immense success of coming of age shows and movies, we are now seeing several new and upcoming TV series on the streaming giant that would appeal to a teenage audience. Here’s the list of really good teen shows on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
20. Riverdale (2016 – )
We get along with what we can relate, so teenager characters for teenager TV shows couldn’t make more sense. ‘Riverdale’ features an ensemble cast including young actors who one might have not seen before (for the exception of Cole Sprouse and his Disney Channel popularity as a child) but definitely has a chance to now. The characters are based on the Archie Comics youngsters and in a world of high-school drama, new and old relationships and dream-pursuing initiatives, they envelop the audience into their world without ever letting go until the last second of it. However, in between this daily ordinariness lays the mystery of a murder, a crime that won’t leave you still.
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19. Greenhouse Academy (2017 – )
‘Greenhouse Academy’ revolves around two teenager siblings – Hayley and Alex – who enrol at an elite school which is for gifted future leaders after losing their mother in a spaceship explosion, and enter rival houses at the school. Soon, they come to know about a plot which intends to bring earthquakes in different parts of the planet and even though as a part of members of rival clubs, Hayley and Alex, along with a bunch of other teenagers form a secret, close-knit group to lead the investigation. While the plot sounds overly similar to ‘Marvel’s Runaways’, there’s no superhero angle to this one. This is worthwhile only if you’re a die-hard fan of teenage romance television shows.
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18. New Girl (2011 – 2018 )
Let me introduce a highly entertaining sitcom that joins the drawer of feel-good tv shows that one can watch anytime, anywhere and with anyone, with the certitude of laughing and having a great time no matter what. The star of the show, Zooey Deschanel, is brilliant, playing the role of main character Jess, a bizarre and eccentric teacher who moves into an apartment with 3 men after breaking up with her cheating boyfriend. Together they go through their daily ups and downs, bonding throughout their adventures and misadventures. A comedy that is “Simply Adorkable”.
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17. Love (2016 – 2018)
A Judd Apatow brainchild (the director who gave us movies like ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’), ‘Love’ primarily is set around its leading characters Mickey and Gus, who are on an exploratory phase and want to explore all their options before they become committed to a relationship. From meeting each other to sex and to let go of all the inhibitions, frustrations and squabbles surrounding a long-term relationship, ‘Love’ is a winner in most of the areas — be it the performances, humour, emotions or the presentment. Gillian Jacobs as Mickey has been highly praised for her role in this highly entertaining television show.
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16. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015 – )
Touted as one of the greatest sitcoms of the decade, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ begins in a rather darker ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ stylised manner, wherein Kimmy Schmidt is a young woman in her late twenties trapped in a basement for more than 15 years. Kidnapped at a young age by a priest and held captive along with three other women under the false notion of a doomsday, Kimmy finds it hard to adjust to her life in the NYC after her rescue.
After appearing for a television show in the NYC, the rescued women get on with their lives. Schmidt, in an attempt to help a child, is mistaken for a nanny and is hired as one by a woman named Jacqueline, while the former gives testimony against the priest in a court. The stark differences in how life was 15 years ago versus now, along with the slapstick humour that accompanies a former tragedy, form the crux of the storyline.
15. The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)
A love triangle at the outset, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ begins on similar lines as did ‘Twilight’, with two protagonists ending up protecting one human girl against their adversaries. Elena is an orphan teenage girl who has fallen for a century and a half old vampire Stefan. In a strange turn of events, Damon, Stefan’s older brother, returns and much to his disappointment, Elena resembles his ex-lover Katherine, who is also an adversary. As the series progresses, Damon and Stefan dissolve their grudges and fall for Elena while Katherine is a vicious adversary they have to confront together. With various factions and families in the fictitious town of Mystic Falls taking a different course of political and social happenstances, along with mystic careers like werewolves, witches, alongside vampires, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is quite a fantasy adventure to be witnessed.
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14. Jane The Virgin (2014 – )
A telenovela has simply never been this good. With an innovative way of creating comedy, ‘Jane The Virgin’ is a fresh romantic comedy-drama that somehow surpasses the expected cheesiness and turns the story and its characters (even the evil ones) into cherished feel-good totems that one can not let go of. Spiced up with a lot of Latino influence, an off-screen narrator who actively contributes to the storytelling and a layer of satirical connotation, it’s a show that’ll leave you entertained for long with its four seasons, containing around 20 episodes each. Press play and see what happens when Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a Latino 23-year-old religious virgin living with her mother and “abuela” in Miami, is accidentally artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant of the owner of the Marbella Hotel, the place in which she works as a waitress.
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13. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – 2020)
Based on Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack’s comic book of the same name, ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ is a supernatural horror streaming television series that stars Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, and Chance Perdomo. The shows centers upon the titular protagonist, who is a half-witch and half-human. Struggling with the duality of her nature, she also faces the dangerous dark forces that threaten to destroy her family. While fighting the forces of evil, can Sabrina find the right philosophy to guide her through the dilemma of reconciling both her identities?
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12. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017 – )
By backing off from the realistic-type of TV shows that lead us into the city life of drama-filled characters, we arrive in the peculiar setting of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, with one season available and two more on the way. Based on the books of Lemony Snicket, it recounts the adventures of the three Baudelaire siblings who are put in the hands of an evil money-hungry relative, after they’re informed about their parents’ sudden death. With a lot of dark mystery and delicious black comedy, we’re given a handful of episodes that own a style of thier own, with impressive visuals filled with imagination and wild fantasy.
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11. GLOW (2017 – )
Here comes a powerful female-centric TV show, exploding in energy, colour and over-the-top costumes and hairstyles. It’s fun, hilarious and has pretty much all you need to entertain yourself with a bunch of women walking the stairs to fame, or so they try. Inspired by real events and characters of the 80’s, it takes us back in time into the city of Los Angeles, where Ruth Wilder, an actress struggling with auditions, enters a women’s professional wrestling promotion alongside dozens of other participants. Please welcome GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling.
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10. Never Have I Ever (2020 -)
Starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, and Darren Barnet, ‘Never Have I Ever’ is a coming-of-age comedy-drama created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. The show revolves around Devi Vishwakumar, a first-generation Indian American teenager who is struggling at school after losing her father. However, one day she vows to turn her life around and become more popular at school by getting a boyfriend. Her best friends are more than happy to join her in her hilarious and eye-opening quest, but things soon begin to spiral out of control when Devi crosses all the lines, preoccupied with her desire to achieve her goals.
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9. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
A television show essentially chalked out on family and relationships, ‘Gilmore Girls’ is the story of Lorelai Gilmore and her teenage daughter Rori, who was born when Lorelai was single and only sixteen. Tired of her parents’ restrictions, Lorelai moves to a fictional town called Stars Hollow to raise Rory independently. As the series progresses, Lorelai grows in her career and Rory enrolls in the elementary school after loaning the school fee from her grandparents, in exchange of agreeing to meet them every weekend.
While Rory aspires to become a journalist after growing up, Lorelai wishes to set up her own inn in partnership with one of her friends. The Gilmore Girls are also between relationships – while Rory has had 3 boyfriends so far, Lorelai is in a love-hate affair with Luke while having feelings for Chris, Rory’s biological father. With sub-plots, mundane relationship squabbles, parental pressure, financial troubles amidst an aspiring mother-daughter duo, ‘Gilmore Girls’ has everything a wholesome entertainer can offer.
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8. 13 Reasons Why (2017-2018)
For many viewers, the phrase “Welcome to your tape…” often sent a chill down the spine. A Netflix Original, ’13 Reasons Why’ begins with the suicide of Hannah Baker, a teenager who killed herself by slitting her wrists in a bathtub. Before her death, Hannah records 13 tapes with audio recordings of her ordeals and why some of the friends failed to help her while her adversaries took undue advantage of the situations she was in. Clay Jensen, another friend of Hannah Baker’s, is shown as the protagonist who receives the box of tapes and the series progresses from his point of view, with each episode exploring the narrative of one reason why Hannah Baker killed herself.
The second season focuses more on the trials of the accused, primarily Bryce who had raped Hannah Baker while she was at his place. The dark subject and a sensitive issue of suicide remain the core of the series and it was highly praised for its direction and performances, along with the freshness of the premise. More importantly, ’13 Reasons Why’ is a compelling thriller which would often make you hanging by a thread.
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7. The Society (2019)
Created by Christopher Keyser, ‘The Society’ is a mystery teen drama television series that revolves around the wealthy town of West Ham, Connecticut, that goes through a mysterious event. When the local high school students return home, they learn that every single resident of the city is gone, and they now have a challenging task on their hands. The students not only need to create their own society, but they will also have to run it on their own without any assistance from their elders who have so far supported them in every decision of their life.
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6. On My Block (2018 – )
Picture a rough neighbourhood with a bunch of misfits, who belong to varied cultural backgrounds, teenage social stigmas, parental pressures while dealing with high school at the same time — you’re essentially picturing ‘On My Block’. The television series begins with four teenagers — Monse, Caesar, Ruby and Jamal — who belong to two rival factions — Santos and Prophets, respectively. While they’re not directly involved with any rivalry, they still are sometimes caught up amidst gunfire which has sort of become a norm nowadays. Because of Caesar’s belongingness to Santos faction, Monse finds it difficult to express her love for him, for she belongs to the Prophets. Caesar is the apparent protagonist in the first season, with his love interests, relationships, faction inclinations and high school time taking the lead. Who doesn’t like a balanced mix of violence, romance, crime and a bunch of misfit teenagers trying to cope up with worldly problems?
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5. The End of The F***ing World (2017 – )
The most recent Netflix release of this list has a pretty strong and rebellious title, I would say. A title that surely attracts the adolescent generation of today’s world, together with its intriguing premise that gives the impression a lot can happen in this adventure that’s about to begin. This British season features Alex Lawther, who has previously been seen in a pretty disturbing but excellent Black Mirror episode, and Jessica Barden, a 25-year-old English actress. Both bring out a killing performance for roles that fit them like a glove. Alex plays 17-year-old James who believes he is a psychopath and decides to take his animal-killing-hobby to the next level by choosing a human victim. Jessica plays 17-year-old Alyssa, a rebellious and rude teenager who convinces James to run away with her from her unstable life at home. Let the adventure begin.
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4. Sense8 (2015 – 2018)
Coming to the fantasy segment of critically acclaimed television shows with an ensemble cast, ‘Sense8’ definitely stands out as one of the top television shows of its sub-genre. The premise is set around eight individuals – males and females both – who are spread around the world and belong to different cultures but bear a strange psychic connection that binds them together. More often than not, the eight “sensates” share their feelings, knowledge and emotions with each other and it has been depicted at multiple points in this two-season series. As they meet and learn to know about each other, they’re also wary of the antagonist who goes by the name of Whispers and has to fight the attacks against Homo Sensorium – the consortium of Sensates. ‘Sense8’ was praised for the diversity in its premise despite having story loopholes.
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3. Atypical (2017-)
‘Atypical’ is set around a now-grownup 18-year-old Sam, who is also autistic but is ready to face the struggles of life and the charm of relationships and romance. Though he doesn’t gel well with his father, he has grown an infatuation for his father’s 26-year-old therapist Julia, much to his father’s resentment. Sam’s mother Elsa is cheating with a bartender, unbeknownst to Sam’s father and Sam’s sister Casey is all set to go to a distant school, meaning she has to distance herself from her autistic brother.
As the relationships grow more and more strenuous in the family, Sam’s infatuation for Julia soars leading to the latter’s breakup with her boyfriend, only to realise she’s been pregnant. In season two, the conflicts soar even further as Sam’s family breaks apart, yet Sam is recognized at school and applies for a scientific illustration programme as Julia deals with her pregnancy that was uncalled for. Although ‘Atypical’ has a genuine storyline, it was criticized for the lack of actually autistic actors and scientific inaccuracies.
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2. Stranger Things (2016 – )
What better than a sci-fi mystery with a bunch of charismatic kids living in the iconic 1980’s? ‘Stranger Things’, created by the Duffer Brothers, received high praise and enthusiasm once released in July 2016, and after a second season was quickly binge-watched, we’re eagerly counting the days for the next one to come out. Every single performance is admirable and the mood and feel will drown you into an addictive world of misty intrigue and supernatural horror topped with an irresistible comedy that’ll make you fall in love with the entirety of the show and the characters who make it come to life. It all starts with the vanishing of a young boy in a small Indiana town, the strange appearance of a girl with telekinetic powers and the slow discovering of an alternate world called “the upside down…”
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1. Arrested Development (2003 – )
A television series which mostly rests on a dysfunctional Bluth family, their extravagant ways despite the financial squabbles, the borderline incest prevailing in the family and the politically incorrect undertones most of its members has, ‘Arrested Development’ is true to its name. The central character of the show is Michael Bluth, the head of the family in the absence of his imprisoned father. As George Bluth goes to prison after alleged securities fraud, Lucille, George’s wife assumes the role of the CEO while Michael takes up the task of looking after what’s remaining of the family. Identity crises, failing relationships and out-of-the-hand teenagers spell more trouble for the family members to keep everything together. ‘Arrested Development’ achieved critical acclaim and was branded as one of the best running sitcoms which equalled the likes of sitcoms like ‘Scrubs’ and ‘The Office’ – with a lot of dysfunctional yet relatable characters.
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