21 Teen Dramas We Couldn't Get Enough Of

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You're never too old for a little good 'ol fashioned drama.

It doesn't matter if you're 16 or 46, no one is immune to a show's soapy-goodness when teenagers are the focus. Whether you were a teen, or just reliving your glory days, these 21 shows were most definitely on your guilty pleasure television list! 

This Throwback Thursday, take a trip down memory lane (and down the halls) with some of your favorite teen dramas that have since graduated from television!


1. Dawson's Creek

Dawson and Joey were BFF's, who talked fast, loved films, and had a vocabulary that even English majors envied. Pacey had an affair with his teacher, and fell in love with his best friend's best friend (Pacey + Joey Forever!) Jen was the mysterious girl from another town who shook up all of their lives. Tuning in to Dawson's Creek each week to see what was happening in Capeside wasn't optional, it was a must... you knew that if you didn't watch it, someone would ruin it for you in gym class the next day.

3. My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life is often hailed as the most realistic teen drama of all time, mainly because it's the only drama that never felt like a typical afterschool special. There were never heartfelt hugs and warm mugs of cocoa. Angela Chase behaved like a girl in high school, just trying to figure out who she was. Both the dialogue and the family dynamic were all-too realistic. Most importantly, the drama was real. Angela's friends were realistic people you went to high school with, both the friend she ditched, and the new eclectic group of people she befriended. Every girl had a Jordan Catalano, and dreamt that he would write a song for them. My So-Called Life was gritty teen TV, and we couldn't get enough!

4. Beverly Hills, 90210

Beverly Hills, 90210 changed the landscape of the prime-time teen soap opera when it premiered in 1990. The show centered around Minnesota twins, Brandon and Brenda Walsh, as they navigate their new lives in sunny Beverly Hills. With new challenges in friendships that included sex, drugs, alcohol, theft, anorexia, guns, pregancy scares, gangs, and rape (just to name some), the wholesome Walsh twins were fish out of water. The stories were racy, and there were many "very special episodes", but 90210 remains, to this day, the gold standard in teen drama on television.

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy Summers wanted to hang out at the mall, talk on the phone, and be a cheerleader. Unfortunately for her (but fortunate for Sunnydale) she had to save the world...a lot. With her librarian watcher Giles, her super hot vampire boyfriend Angel, and her Scooby gang of friends, Buffy's weekly work toward ridding the world of vampires, demons and the forces of darkness was not only entertaining, but somehow felt relatable. While girls everywhere wore their love of Buffy as a badge of honor, it was the guys who thought of Buffy as a guilty pleasure...until they realized everyone was on board, and there was no shame in loving our heroine. Buffy Summers, you were the class protector of every class, around the world.

6. Everwood

Ephram Brown's dad chooses to move the family from NYC to Everwood after his mom dies, and it seemed like the worst case scenario. Ephram barely even knows his dad. Everwood was a feel-good family show, where every episode felt like a "very special episode" and many left you in tears, but who doesn't love a good cry? If you watched Everwood, you shipped Ephram and Amy (no Madison love here!) and you love to tell everyone that you knew Chris Pratt first as Bright, the jock who accidentally put his best friend in a coma, and had an epic romance with Hannah. Everwood was the feel good teen drama that you needed, and just couldn't bear to turn off, because of all the feelings.

7. Degrassi

Degrassi has been a CTV institution for over 30 years, making its way to the US in the 80's on PBS as The Kids of Degrassi Street, and now on Teen Nick under it's newest iteration, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Degrassi never shies away from any and every topic, mixing stories that were edgy with stories about everyday teen issues. In the 80's, Spike gave birth to her daughter Emma at the age of 14, Tess had an abortion, the Zits were the hottest boy band in school, Melanie embarrassed herself while shopping for bras in front of her crush Snake, and Caitlin dealt with hiding her epilepsy at a sleepover. When the show re-launched in the early 2000's with Spike's daughter Emma as the main character, Degrassi didn't skip a beat, bringing its same mix of heartwrenching, edgy, and everyday stories, updated to involve current issues like school shootings, internet bullying, and sexting. The drama was uncomparable, the cast was hot, and they always kept it real.

8. Freaks and Geeks

Lindsay was a freak. Her brother Sam was a geek. Sam's crew was tired of being put down and egged for being nerds, but they knew their place in the high school food chain, and just tried to survive. Lindsay experienced an identity crisis, and befriended the misfits of her class, all of whom were troubled, and needed a friendship with Lindsay to learn more about themselves. Freaks and Geeks helped you relive high school on the cusp of the 80's, but was timelessy relatable to everyone, which was why we were hooked. After all, aren't we all one or the other, in some shape or form?

9. Friday Night Lights

High school football was life in Dillon, Texas. Drama followed the team everywhere, whether you were the quarterback in love with Coach's daughter, or the misunderstood bad boy who stole his paralyzed best friend's girlfriend. If you watched Friday Night Lights, you were almost definitely in love with Tim Riggins, you wished Mrs. Coach was your mom, and you wanted to see Tyra get it together. You didn't need to love football to get hooked on Friday Night Lights; you just needed to love a good story, good-looking teens, and keep a box of tissues handy for the big emotional moments, which the talented cast delivered with ease weekly.

10. Kaya

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a young rock star? MTV gave us that answer with Kaya. Kaya was a young girl struggling with the seemingly overnight success that her band, Coldwater Crossing, is suddenly receiving. As they adjust to fame, Kaya and her bandmates relationships were tested, singles were leaked, fights broke out, and drinks and one night stands were had. Drama never sounded as good as when Kaya (Danielle Savre) sang about it.

11. Life As We Know It

Following the lives of 3 guys who'd been best friends forever, Life As We Know It gave viewers a look inside of a teenage boy's mind, and told girls what guys REALLY talked about. Dino had it all, star athlete with a hot girlfriend (oh, hey Missy Peregrym!) and while you'd think his only thoughts were about hooking up, he was more focused on the demise of his parents marriage. Ben was sleeping with his English teacher, and struggling to keep it a secret. And poor Jonathan had to keep sitting through awkward conversations about sex with his girlfiend's mom. When all was said and done, these guys were there for each other, and melted our hearts each week.

12. Greek

Being in a sorority or a frat looked like an insane amount of fun on Greek, which followed the members of Zeta Beta Zeta, Kappa Tau, and Omega Chi, and the never ending drama that the three houses supplied. Casey, ZBZ president, loves her boyfriend, Evan, Omega Chi's main man. The problem was, she loved her ex boyfriend Cappie, Kappa Tau's leading ladies man, more. Friendship between sisters was tested almost weekly, and brothers learned valuable lessons about begrudging loyalty, all while partying, drinking, hooking up, and throwing in some philanthropy for good measure. Greek was addicting because it was just plain fun, something you turned on every week knowing you'd laugh and cry (and hopefully see the infamous 'Cappie's Butt' boxers).

13. One Tree Hill

Lucas and Nathan's brotherly rivalry was complicated. It started with competition to join the Tree Hill high school basketball team, but became even more tangled when girls got involved. Brooke loved Lucas, Nathan loved Peyton, Hayley loved Nathan Lucas didn't love that Hayley loved Nathan, and then Peyton decided she loved Lucas. The phrase "drama" doesn't even begin to cover the stories of these teens in North Carolina. With a teenage love entanglement this complicated, you wouldn't dare to miss an episode.

14. Summerland

Fashion deisgner Ava Gregory's sister died and left her three kids in her care. Ava has to break the news to her three housemates, Johnny, her ex-boyfriend (who weirdly, never moved out?), business partmner Susannah, and surfer Jay (future True Blood star Ryan Kwanten!) that three kids are moving in! The foursome do their best to be mentors and friends to Braden (remember Jesse McCartney?), Nikki, and Derek, who each mourn their parents in their own ways. Summerland was a hipper version of 7th Heaven, just as family friendly, but with a lot more edge.

15. Party of Five

Charlie Salinger became an insta-dad to his four younger siblings when their parents were killed in an accident. Charlie was 24, in his prime womanizing years, and struggled with his sudden responsibility. Adding to his exasperation, Charlie found himself raising 3 teenagers, when he'd just barely escaped his teen years himself. Party of Five almost always ended with a tearjerking moment, and with stars like Matthew Fox, Scott Wolf, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Neve Campbell, and future Mean Girl Lacey Chabert, there was something for girls and boys alike who shamelessly watched every week.

16. Roswell

Max, Isabel, and Michael are just regular teens, navigating high school...who happened to also be aliens. Liz, Maria, and Alex are their respective girlfriends and boyfriend, and help keep their secret while also keeping them out of trouble and teaching them how to be a little more human. Stuff starts getting real once the FBI is on their trail, alien clones are introduced, and our teen aliens need to choose their new lives, or their destinies. This sci-fi soapy teen drama was undeniably addictive.

17. The O.C.

Ryan Atwood left Chino (ew!) and moved to Newport, turning every teen's world upside down; he helped his best friend Seth get the girl of his dreams in Summer (Captain Oats + Princess Sparkle = Love), he broke up longtime couple Marissa and Luke and claimed Marissa for his own, then saved Marissa from creepy stalker Oliver, lit a model home on fire, hooked up with Seth's future grandma, befriended Luke (whose dad was gay, and Ryan was the only one who knew), and all of that was just the first season. Welcome to the O.C., Ryan. There was never a dull moment in Newport, and The O.C. was always the topic of conversation the next morning, which was why we never missed an episode.

18. Hollywood Heights

When high schooler Loren Tate won a songwriting contest that gave her the chance to work with Eddie Duran, she knew her life would never be the same. She never guessed that it would include supermodel Chloe, Eddie's awful fiance whose jealousy made her thwart everything Loren did. Chloe never guessed that her ex, and childhood friend, Tyler would re-enter her life, hell bent on sharing her secret with Eddie...not only was she lying about her identity, but she was also the one who killed Eddie's mother in a car crash. This Nick at Nite soap was everything a soap should be, the guiltiest of guilty pleasures.

19. Popular

Brooke and Sam were on opposite ends of the high school spectrum. Brooke was popular, and Sam was not. Brooke was a cheerleader, Sam a quiet reporter. So when their parents announce their engagement, it obviously wasn't cool with either of them. They teamed up to break up their parents, and in the process, they grew to like each other... kind of (come on, you had to know it wasn't going to be THAT easy!)

20. Sweet Valley High

Based on the best selling books that every teenage girl owned in the 80's and 90's, Sweet Valley High followed the Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth and their friends through their high school years. Jessica was focused on boys and popularity...let's just get real, Jessica was a bratty snob. Elizabeth, on the other hand, worried about academics, and her boyfriend, Todd, so basically she was the nice one. Though they couldn't be more opposite if they tried, the twins had a deep bond, and no matter the circumstance, were always fiercly loyal to, and protective of, one another through every scenario they faced. Sweet Valley High was, at its best, cheesy drama that you couldn't bring yourself to turn off.

21. The Secret Life of the American Teenager

This one time, at band camp, nerdy french horn player Amy slept with the class bad boy Ricky, and got pregnant. That was just the beginning on this ultra-cheesy ABC Family drama that we couldn't help but get sucked into. Amy's pregnancy was the focus of the first season, and her struggle with her boyfriend, Ben, handling her relationship with Ricky. As the show went on over the next 4 seasons, we watched our cast of characters get engaged, get married, get divorced, move in together, go off to college, and get pregnant, again (seriously, every season, SOMEONE was pregnant). Secret Life was the show you didn't tell ANYONE you watched, but the second someone else brought it up, you couldn't help but join in the conversation.

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