10 Best TV Shows For Teens 2018

Photo: netflix
TV shows for teens

If there is one experience that brings every single human being on this planet together, it's the experience of going through adolescence. Being a tween or a teenager isn't something that just happens to us and we forget it.

Even if you had a normal, well-adjusted and relatively happy childhood, the years of middle school and high school are when all of humanity is at our most awkward. It's when we feel the most like outsiders. It's when we're all nakedly looking for our place in the universe, unsure of if we'll ever even find it. 

That's the kind of relatable experience that I look for when I watch TV shows, which is probably why I wind up watching a lot of TV shows for teens or about teens. It's not because I'm immature (okay, maybe it's a little because I'm immature), but it's also because there's a vulnerability we have as people during those years that we lose as adults. It makes for compelling stories, and it reminds us not to think that our past is ever completely gone. 


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To that end, I thought I'd share a list with you of the 10 best TV shows on Netflix or Hulu for teenagers out there right now. Since we're living in a golden age of television, I'm sure there's plenty of names of shows that I didn't put on this list. That's not because I don't like them, it's because there are only so many hours of the day and I cannot be at home watching every TV show, though I wish this were the case.

To that end, check out this list and maybe add a few to your Netflix queue! 

1. Big Mouth (Netflix) 

This may be a cartoon, but it's not your average Saturday morning funny fare. Yes, this Nick Kroll brainchild is funny, but it's also a deeply compelling look at what exactly puberty is like for both girls and boys. One of the most honest shows I've seen in years. 

2. Everything Sucks (Netflix) 

In the town of Boring, Oregon, life is anything but... boring, that is. Boys and girls deal with growing up as social outcasts when they make the choice to be in the AV club in this period show set in the 1990s. It'll get you right in the feels. 

3. Speechless (ABC, Wednesdays @8:30 PM EST) 

 

Minnie Driver is very much at the wheel of this family drama. I love a show that doesn't ignore people who have different abilities, and this show is committed to sharing with the world at large that people with Cerebral Palsy also go through their teenaged years and experience the same highs and lows. Also helps that it's funny as hell. 

4. The 100 (Amazon Prime, Tuesday @9 PM EST) 

Let's get you some sci-fi up in here! God this show, what a wild ride. Okay, so, some kids who were born in space make a decision to crash land on Earth and see if it's habitable. 

Shenanigans (of the Lord of the Flies variety) ensue. See, some teens aren't just dealing with crushes and fashion, they are dealing with leading a tribe of fellow teens in a battle against the very Earth itself. Good stuff. 

5. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) 

After the success of Riverdale (don't worry, I'm hitting that next) it's only natural that Sabrina would be a hit! This mild-mannered teenage girl is more than meets the eyes: she's half witch, half human, and here to take the world by storm! 

6. Riverdale (The CW, Wednesdays @8 PM EST) 

I feel like I shouldn't have to even mention this one because if you're reading this list, chances are you've already watched it and are looking for something similar. This is a gritty, film-noir version of the old Archie comics and it's compulsively watchable. They deal with the normal teen stuff, sure, but they also deal... with murder! 


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7. Stranger Things (Netflix) 

If you're looking for The Goonies but televised and with 100 percent more references to Dungeons and Dragons, get on this already! The world loves this show, and not just because we as a culture dig nostalgia — and this show serves up some 1980s nostalgia well.

We all love this show because of its heart: a band of young teenage friends trying to get through life relatively unscathed. If it weren't for that pesky Demogorgon. 

8. 13 Reasons Why (Netflix) 

This is a dark one, but I felt obligated to put it on the list, particularly because it has seemed to resonate with teens themselves so keenly. A young woman takes her life, leaving a box with "13 reasons why" she did so on the steps of her high school crush. 

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Being a teenager isn't just comedy, and it isn't science fiction or fantasy, it's dark and challenging and sad too. This show acknowledges that and explores it. 

9. Cloak and Dagger (Hulu) 

In post-Katrina New Orleans, a boy and a girl are joined together by events that took place during the storm. They are both dealing with grief and with being suddenly burdened with superpowers. He can vanish at will, and she can create daggers out of pure light. 

Superhero shows for and about teens, the good ones anyway, use the motif as a way to explore the complexity of adolescent emotion. That's accomplished here brilliantly. 

10. Runaways (Hulu) 

Another great, great superhero show! A group of unlikely teenage friends have gone their separate ways when the friend who brought them all together suddenly dies. 

After her death, they are forced back together when they discover that their own parents may be up to something absolutely evil. This one you won't be able to pry yourself away from. 


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.