Hope your week has gotten off to a great start!
One of my favorite things to do on weeknights is relax in my bed and binge watch some old TV shows.
Lately, my guilty pleasure has been old teen dramas ranging from the late 1990’s to the mid-late 200’s.
All of these are shows I’ve watched before (most of them multiple times) but I still find myself pulled into the drama and I love every minute of it.
I guess, with so much happening during the day, it’s nice to have my mind occupied by something else; plus, it’s a little nostalgic being reminded of the things that we thought were so important back when we were in high school. 😉
Here’s my ranking of 10 of the most popular teen dramas from the 90’s and 2000’s, plus which popular streaming services you can find them on.
10. The OC
This is your typical California teen show, and was also my first exposure to Rachel Bilson, who is currently one of my favorite actresses! It’s a cute show about best friends, boys, and high school and is basically what you’d expect from the early 2000’s, but tapers off a little for me around the last two seasons. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that some of the decisions of the show makers left me confused and focused on what I wished the ending could be, rather than what it was.
You can currently stream episodes of The OC on Hulu!
9. Dawson’s Creek
Ok, so I’m probably going to get grief about putting this one so low on my list, but I just never got into Dawson’s Creek the way a lot of other people did. It certainly had a cute love story and lots of great drama, but it couldn’t hold my interest as much as the other shows of its time for some reason.
This one is also available to stream on Hulu.
8. Laguna Beach
Dubbed “The Real OC,” Laguna Beach was a documentary-style show on MTV that followed a cast of real teenagers throughout their last couple years of high school. I honestly can’t tell you why every teenage girl was so obsessed with this show back in the day, but I still find myself drawn into the episodes whenever re-runs are on. This is another one that got weaker as the show went on, in my opinion. By Season 3, the original cast had all graduated and a new crop of students became the focus; that’s where I lost interest.
All three seasons are currently available on MTV.
This ABC Family (now, Freeform) show was about Greek life at college, and even though I didn’t participate in Greek life myself, I found this show really entertaining. There’s a great on-and-off love story woven throughout all of the seasons, and I found myself on the edge of my seat every step of the way for this couple. Overall, this show is really cute and I would definitely watch it again.
This show is available on Freeform or Hulu.
6. Gilmore Girls
This is another show that many other girls my age would probably put much higher on the list. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into Rory and Lorelai as much as everyone else (even though my sister’s old nickname for me was Lorelai). I did love how into reading Rory was, though, and there were a couple of juicy love stories in this show that caught my interest. I still haven’t, and probably won’t, watch the Netflix reboot.
To help you get caught up for their new show, Netflix has all of the old Gilmore Girls seasons available (in addition to episodes of the reboot series).
5. Friday Night Lights
This show makes me so happy and sad at the same time. I absolutely loved it, but I feel like it could’ve been even better if it wasn’t a victim to the writer’s strike that happened in 2007/2008. I loved all of the characters, the dramatic high school story, and the exciting football scenes. I have a soft spot for any show that combines sports and love stories; and yes, that is a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come in the remaining four TV shows for this post. Getting back to Friday Night Lights, the only reason this show isn’t higher on the list is because I wanted more of it, and I felt that a lot of pieces abruptly cut off.
You can watch all of Friday Night Lights on Hulu and select seasons on Amazon Prime.
4. Degrassi: The Next Generation
In a way, I feel like I grew up with the characters of Degrassi. This series ran for ~14 years and it covered absolutely everything you could possibly have to deal with as a teen: breakups, friend drama, embarrassing moments, and several other more serious topics like rape, drug use, and STDs. It’s kind of odd to say, but I feel like I really learned a lot from this show, and all of the serious issues they included were done tastefully and successfully, in my opinion. I used to watch this with two of my best friends on Friday nights, so thinking back to the show also reminds me of happy, carefree times. This show will always be special to me.
There is a Degrassi YouTube channel with most of the seasons available to watch.
This spinoff of the original Beverly Hills show is another one that drew me in right from the beginning. One of the main characters, Annie, is actually played by a Degrassi alum, which is what originally drew me to the show. This starts off following another class of California teens, but the show expands to many different characters and story lines throughout the seasons. I’ve watched this series all the way through twice, and still follow some of the actresses on Instagram because I grew to love them.
The show is currently available on Amazon Prime.
2. Gossip Girl
So, I actually didn’t watch this show until a couple of years after it ended, but the first episodes I streamed had me hooked immediately. This show is your typical teen drama, but focuses on the elite, super rich side of New York. I love that this show takes place in the city, I love that it is centered on fashion, and I love Blake Lively and Leighton Meester (I also really, really love Chuck and Blair’s relationship…but who doesn’t?). My cousin is obsessed with Gossip Girl, and she’s the one who got me into it. I’m so glad she did because this is a great show to binge, especially if you want to get pulled into the story and forget about your own stress for a while.
All of Gossip Girl is available on Netflix.
1. One Tree Hill
I cannot even begin to describe my love for this show. Yes, I was horrified to hear the allegations against creator Mark Schwahn not too long ago, but this show and all of its beautiful messages still remain unblemished in my mind. OTH starts out as another high school drama, but it goes deeper into the relationships of the characters and who they are as people more than any other teen soap I’ve seen before. The main character’s love for literature speaks to my heart, and there is so much amazing music and art included in, and created for, this show. A really great decision the writers made was to skip over the college years; so we see the cast go through high school, and then jump to them being in their early 20s. It sounds weird, but it worked so well for the story. My favorite thing about this show is getting to see the evolution of each character throughout the 9 seasons (ie, 13 year time span) of the show. The transformation of some key people is not only amazing to watch, but it’s absolutely believable. This show taught me so much about myself and what I want out of the world; it inspired me and touched me deeply, and I would absolutely recommend it to a woman of any age. My husband and I recently watched it together and he loved it, too!
One Tree Hill is currently on Hulu!
What are some of your go-to teen drama shows? I feel like shows in the late 90s/2000s were so much better than they are now, but everyone probably feels that way about a certain period of time that’s special to them.
It’s silly to think that a TV show, especially one that’s made to be over-the-top, could actually have an impact on its viewer; but a lot of these shows stuck with me over the years.
Going back to watch an old series sometimes feels like wrapping myself up in my own teenage blanket, remembering how I saw the world at such a crucial point in my life, reflecting on who I was and who I turned out to be.
Comment below with your recommendations for great dramas I can binge watch at night, or with a special show that means a lot to you.
I love to find out more about you guys, so please don’t hesitate to share!
Thanks for reading, and until next time…<3