As great as most teen shows are, you have to admit that they tend to trivialize the plight of the common adolescent. Think about it, the over-sexualization, the irrational rivalries, and off-the-chart stereotypes. That’s what makes Euphoria so appealing, Sam Levinson does not beat around the bush on this one. He gets down to the nitty-gritty, bringing an untethered realness to the characters of Rue Bennett (Zendaya) and Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer) as they face some pretty complex teenage problems. Bottom line, young people have ‘deep’ problems too and Euphoria is here to bare it all.
With the jury still out on the season 2 release date, it's natural to crave some of that grittiness the show brings to the table. You’re in luck! We have curated some awesome titles that embody the great aspects of Euphoria and so much more. Hang tight and get ready to binge on shows like Euphoria to watch while you gear up for Season 2.
For those moments when adults forget how complicated that period between 13 and 19 can really be, shows like Skins are a rude awakening. With little to no supervision and even less direction, the spotlight is on a set of British teens trying their best to take things a day at a time. Do they deal with a lot of adult problems? Very much so, but there’s an almost-childlike confusion they display that reminds the audience ‘these are just a bunch of kids’ despite the incessant partying and the bucketloads of sex. The portrayal of dire issues such as teen sexuality, mental issues, and gender identity, among others is perfect for Euphoria lovers.
It may come off as more squeaky clean than Euphoria, but Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona’s Elite is far from it. Sure it leans into some of those tropes that make teen shows tick, but there’s a whole other layer of grit that sets it aside. Though it encompasses a whole lot, the storyline focuses on Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), Nadia (Mina El Hamman), and Christian (Miguel Herrán) who receive scholarships to study at the prestigious Las Encinas. There’s almost a soap opera-like air to this show, which already makes it decadent. However, it still manages to shed a less dramatic light on the touchy and unflattering topics that dominate teenage spheres.
What do you get when you stick a bunch of hormone-crazed teens in one building between the hours of 8 am to 3 pm? Sex Education, that’s exactly what you get. It may come off as one of those shows that boils everything down to sex. However, Laurie Nunn makes sure this one branches out to touch a wide range of issues. The focal point is socially awkward Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) who uses the information he’s gleaned over the years from his sex therapist mother to run a back-alley sex clinic. The rise in his social status opens up a whole can of worms as these teens stumble through the uncertainty that is young adulthood.
Freaks and Geeks
Say what you will, but life is full of cliques and it all starts in high school. With all its highs and lows, this dramedy explores two major cliques — with a sibling pair at the center of it all — the freaks and the geeks. In a nutshell, Lindsay and Sam Weir (Linda Cardellini and John Francis Daley) belong on different tiers of the social food chain. On one end Lindsay is with the freaks, displaying all the signs of the dreaded rebellious teenage stage, while Sam is, by all definitions, a geek. It's interesting to see the various growing pains they pass through on their road to self-discovery.
End of the F***ing World
This dark comedy carries a deep, potent narrative that just keeps giving. Based on Charles Forsman’s mini-comics, End of the F***ing World opens up with James (Alex Lawther), a self-proclaimed psychopath and all-around awkward teen. Looking for a human victim for his first kill, James is drawn to Alyssa (Jessica Barden) a troubled schoolmate who’s taken with his aloofness. Their adventures take viewers down a dark but oddly relatable rabbit hole, of teen angst, confusion, naivety, and bad choices for days.
13 Reasons Why
Not many teen shows cast such a dark cloud on issues that plague modern teens the way 13 Reasons Why does it. That’s probably why it's such a great pick if you’re hooked on Euphoria. Exploring themes such as bullying, mental health, rape, and teenage grief as a whole, 13 Reasons Why follows the dual narrative of Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) and Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Two weeks after her tragic suicide, a box containing a collection of tapes recorded by Hannah lands on Clay’s doorstep. Listening to each tape reveals all the factors (human and circumstantial) that led to her death. Heads up, there’s a soulful sadness to this one.
On my Block
In this coming-of-age tale, four street-wise friends try not to lose themselves as they navigate some harsh new realities. The show kicks off as they start high school, and a lot has already happened behind the scenes which affects their group dynamic. With budding romances and life-threatening situations to contend with, there is a little something for everyone to get in on. At the very least, it's interesting to watch the group as they confront new romances, dangers, and a few age-appropriate problems along the way.
It may not quite qualify as a teen show, but this psychological thriller melds different timelines into an immersive watching experience. What starts out as an investigation into the deaths of two young girls sends troubled reporter, Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), on a journey into her own past. Moving into her childhood home, she finds herself caught between the beat and her fragile mental state. In a disturbing display of time jumps, she discovers that this particular crime hit a little closer to home than she anticipated.
After an honest accident is misconstrued as a suicide attempt, Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) is launched into unwanted popularity. Though this one does not adopt that gritty, and soulful realness most Euphoria fans have developed a taste for, it's genuine and relatable in more ways than one. In between constantly feeling invisible and dealing with the growing pains most awkward teens have to bear, Jenna decides to make her own luck against all odds. Does she get it right off the bat? You bet she didn’t! However, that’s what makes this a great ride to hop on.
I Am Not Okay With This
As if puberty was not hard enough, 17-year-old Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) has to deal with superpowers she has no clue about. The newfound superpowers are just the tip of the iceberg, she’s equally carrying the weight of her father’s suicide, a mom she cannot speak to, and her growing feelings for her best friend. It may not all be rooted in reality, but there is a strong symbolism here that makes the audience think.
It does not get as real, or as rowdy as Shameless. An adaptation of Paul Abbott’s British series of the same name, the show follows the lives of six siblings who are forced to raise themselves. With their father drinking his days away, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), the eldest of the bunch, takes on the parenting role. Naturally, it is not without its ups and downs, as the siblings end up in some sticky situations along the way.
Based on the much lighter Archie Comics, lovable characters Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), and Jughead ( Cole Sprouse) are brought to life in the fictional town of Riverdale. Through the eyes, relationships, and actions of these teens, the clandestine dealings in the quaint town are dissected and dare we say, exposed. At the core of it all, the show does address a handful of themes Euphoria fans are familiar with.
Pretty Little Liars
Summing up 7 seasons of suspense, intrigue, and danger in a few words — it’s Pretty Little Liars. After Gossip Girl's, A’s identity was one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Woven around that is a potent narrative following a group of friends who believe they are being blackmailed by their missing friend. The culprit leverages aspects of their complicated lives against them including matters of the heart, self-acceptance, mental health, and sexuality. The twists and turns may not be everyone’s cup of cocoa, but it's a thrilling journey all the way to the bottom of this rabbit hole.
One of the most honest portrayals of adolescent struggle, Grand Army is centered on the lives of four high school kids. Here, Katie Cappiello explores the crux of modern-day issues that plague the entire demographic by weaving issues like racism, politics, bullying, and even terrorism into the narrative. Within the broader context of all these issues, the individual plotlines are compelling and relatable which makes it quite an immersive watch. It doesn’t get more Euphoria-esque than that!
We Are Who We Are
If there is any takeaway from this selection of TV shows, it's that being a teenager involves a lot more than dealing with acne and snapping back at parents. We Are Who We Are embodies this on so many levels by honing in on the little things that make adolescents tick. Set on a U.S military base in Italy, the show’s central characters, Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) are on a road to self-discovery and it's a bumpy one. Though it is similar to Euphoria in more ways than one, there’s a certain innocence portrayed here that makes it a welcome palate cleanser.
KEEP READING: 'Euphoria': Hunter Schafer on Her Special Episode, Collaborating with Zendaya, & Season 2 Delays
The new deal will start with the animated 'Ron's Gone Wrong.'
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