There is no denying that Riverdale has received many mixed reviews across its seven seasons. With the first season being a pure teen murder mystery, fans were excited about what was in store for Archie and the gang. It’s safe to say they were disappointed with how ridiculous the show became.
With the release of Season 7 and even more bizarre plot points and holes, it looks like modern teen TV shows are suffering from the reputation that comes with Riverdale. However, there are many more that move out of Riverdale‘s shadow.
10 ‘Heartstopper’ (2022-)
Although attending the same school, Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor) had never spoken before the day they were forced to sit next to one other. They soon become friends, and Charlie finds himself deeply drawn to Nick, despite his doubts about his chances. Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realizes, proving that love often works in unexpected ways.
Heartstopper is a show about devotion, love, and friendship. It covers all the minor stories in Nick and Charlie’s life that add up to something bigger when put together. Praised for its LGBTQ+ representation, fans eagerly await Season 2 of the hit show.
9 ‘Blood & Water’ (2000 -)
Following a chance encounter at a party, a Cape Town girl sets out to determine whether a private school swimming champion is indeed her sister, who was kidnaped when she was a baby. As she digs deeper, she learns more about her family’s mysterious past and learns how to survive in the challenging environment of a South African high school.
With beautifully portrayed aspects of South African culture regarding the dialects, music, political affairs, and more, Blood & Water is the perfect mix of high school drama and deep mystery. It’s definitely a show with twists in every episode, but not those that distract from the integral storyline.
8 ‘The 100’ (2014-2020)
This dark teen sci-fi series follows the lives of 100 teenagers sent down to earth to test if the world is viable 97 years after a nuclear war that wiped out almost the entire population. Those who survived escaped to the stars in a space shuttle named “The Ark.” But with the oxygen running out, these teens are the only hope for the continuation of man.
The show received criticism for having exaggerated scientific claim plot points. With that being said, The 100 manages to create storylines that hook the audience and keep a steady stream of suspense throughout its seven seasons.
7 ‘I Am Not Okay With This’ (2020)
A year after her father’s suicide, Sydney (Sophia Lillis) still struggles to navigate all the highs and lows of high school. With a family she can’t connect to and the question of her sexuality up in the clouds, Sydney makes a startling discovery that threatens to upend her life further: she has superpowers.
Audiences were heartbroken afterI Am Not Okay With This got canceled after just one season. Fans related to multiple characters as the cast brought a level of vulnerability and comedy to the show. Along with being a great coming-of-age story, the show also has plenty of laughs to keep you busy.
6 ‘Heartbreak High’ (2022-)
This remake of the same-named Australian television series from 1994 shows what it’s like to be a teen in Australia today. It’s Hartley High all over again, over 20 years later. Amerie must mend her reputation with the help of her new friends, the outsiders Quinni and Darren, as she navigates romance, sex, and heartbreak.
The main thing that stands out about Heartbreak High is its fresh comedy. The show even makes fun of itself by exposing how cringeworthy teenagers can be. With groundbreaking representation, Heartbreak High has a range of unique characters that any watcher can relate to.
5 ‘Outer Banks’ (2020-)
Outer Banks is a coastal town with a strong social divide between the wealthy residents, “Kooks,” and the working-class locals, “Pogues.” The show follows John B (Chase Stokes) and his friends, all Pogues, as they try to figure out what happen to his missing dad. Along the way, they’re swept up into a struggle to find a legendary treasure that John B’s father was after.
Outer Banks‘ episodes are full of action-packed adventures, treasure hunts, and criminal pursuits, all of which take place in exotic locales and come with some romantic entanglements between the cast as an added bonus. What is there to dislike, then?
4 ‘Grand Army’ (2020)
Where Riverdale fails to be an accurate portrayal of high school life in America, Grand Army succeeds. The drama series follows five high school students battling economic, racial, and sexual politics in their quest to succeed and make it big.
With five different perspectives, there are tons of different stories to get lost in. With gripping topics discussed and even better acting, Grand Army is a show that actively shows teenagers that people understand how difficult life can be when you’re young. Given the setting, it is presented from an American point of view, but a lot of its themes are universal and undoubtedly relevant to many viewers in some way.
3 ‘Sex Education’ (2019 -)
Otis (Asa Butterfield), a socially awkward and unpopular high school kid, has no experience with sex and doesn’t want any. But living with his sex therapist of a mother means he gets all the advice he never asked for. When his classmates learn what he knows, Otis teams up with resident bad girl, Maeve (Emma Mackey), to run an underground sex clinic.
Sex Education doesn’t lack in laughs. Not at all. As one of the most comedic teen shows to come out in recent years, Sex Education has one of the best effects on teenagers worldwide. It actually teaches them about sex and what comes with it. Yes, this is usually a taboo subject, but the show deals with it in a comedic and light way that allows young minds to truly understand sex.
2 ‘Yellowjackets’ (2021-)
When their plane goes down deep in the Canadian wilderness, a high school girl’s soccer team finds themselves stranded in the wild. The (un)lucky survivors of the crash learn to live by any means necessary, with plenty of ups and downs along the way.
Yellowjackets charts their transformation from a complex but successful team to a group of savages, as well as the lives they have tried to put back together nearly 25 years later, demonstrating that what started in the forest is far from over that the past is never truly past.
1 ‘The Society’ (2019)
A storm causes busloads of high school students from Connecticut to return home after leaving on an extended camping trip. The teenagers discover that every adult in the town has vanished when they arrive back. At first, their newfound independence is exhilarating, but it soon turns deadly. The kids must create order and develop alliances to survive as they try to understand what has happened to them and how to return to the “real world.”
Arguably one of the best teen mystery shows out there, The Society had fans addicted to the core mystery of: What happened? Where are they? Why did this happen? Even four years after they announced that the show wouldn’t be continuing for another season, fans are still yearning to know the truth about the show.
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