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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).