10. “Sex Education” (2019-present)
What Moordale Second School lacks in decent sexual health education it makes up for with off-the-charts romantic chemistry and some of the most outright likable teens on TV today. Netflix’s “Sex Education” kicks off with Otis (Asa Butterfield), the son of therapist Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), unwittingly taking on the role of sexual health counselor for the entire student body. Soon, Otis’ best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatway) and the broody Maeve (Emma Mackey) agree to help with the booming business, but a nonplussed administration and seemingly endless misunderstandings among peers spell hilarious, heartfelt trouble. —AF
9. “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007)
While Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) wasn’t the typical teenager (see: her love of heavy tomes and hanging out with adults), her mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham), who gave birth to her when she was a teen, never seemed to stop smelling like teen spirit herself. Well, you catch our drift. Equipped with a sugar-filled ability to never stop speaking at breakneck speeds and see the pop-culture absurdity in any situation, Lorelai ushered her daughter into the world off the page. Filled with first loves, major mistakes, silly hijinks, and big dreams, “Gilmore Girls” was anchored by the relationships Rory had with her family and occasionally her friends, when they weren’t being the worst. The series existed in a strange plane that welcomed all quirks (and Kirks, including Cat Kirk), and in a way, that’s the most nurturing environment of all for teens. The series was so beloved, it inspired a four-part limited series sequel on Netflix that left audiences with even more questions than before.
8. “Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)
They just don’t make them like “Boy Meets World” anymore. Creators Michael Jacobs and April Kelly imbued endless love into the life story of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage): a witty neurotic who grew from a slacker sixth grader into a full-on family man across the series seven seasons and 158 episodes on ABC. With brother Eric (Will Friedle), best friend Shawn (Rider Strong), love interest Topanga (Danielle Fishel), and the cranky-yet-wise Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) by his side, Cory explored a multitude of victories, losses, and problems while staying true to himself in a world we’re all just getting to know. —AF
7. “Reservation Dogs” (2021-present)
FX Networks/Everett Collection
Created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, “Reservation Dogs” tells the coming-of-age story of four Native teenagers living in Oklhaoma. In the wake of their friend’s death, Elora (Devery Jacobs), Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Cheese (Lane Factor), and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) decide to leave Oklahoma for California.
IndieWire’s Kristen Lopez writes in her review of Season 1: “Harjo and Waititi concoct a show just as accessible for the TikTok generation as their parents, filled with movie references any film lover worth their salt can spot as well as a story that feels original and relatable.” —AF
6. “Never Have I Ever” (2020-present)
Creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher deliver an adolescent comedy masterclass in “Never Have I Ever”: Netflix’s sparkling dramedy about an Indian-American teen facing high school’s many challenges in the wake of her father’s death. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is instantly likable as Devi Vishwakumar in Season 1 and her performance grows only more endearing in the installments to follow. Kaling and Fisher imbue Devi’s quest for love and purpose with inspiring specificity, daring to consider the thorniest aspects of reinventing yourself. —AF