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The Best High School TV Shows 

Molly Gander
Originally by
Updated February 24, 2020 134.5k votes 18.2k voters 740.4k views 129 items

List Rules Teen television series that focus on the high school years.

The best high school TV shows include fantastic dramas that highlight the ups and downs of teenagers. In some cases, these shows include elements of the supernatural or science fiction. These high school shows are also filled with many social issues that teens face while they're growing up: teen pregnancy, drug use, and, of course, the all-encompassing peer pressure. This list includes some of the greatest high school television shows from several decades, so be sure to vote. If your favorite series about teenagers in high school isn't listed here, please add it.

Any great coming of age high school TV show includes tons of teen angst—just think of shows like Degrassi or Riverdale. That's mainly why so many of the best teen TV shows listed here are dramas, because being a teenager is, well, pretty darn dramatic most of the time. The characters in these great teen drama TV shows experience the highest highs and the lowest lows - a roller coaster of emotions, and we're right there with them for the crazy ride, tissues in hand. And it isn't just American high school dramas that are great, teen shows set in secondary schools in the UK offer just as much of an emotional ride - especially if it's a boarding school.

Is it any wonder that several shows listed here are among the all-time top cult TV shows? Sadly, despite excellent reviews from critics and a loyal cult following, some of these outstanding high school television programs didn't last as long as they should have. Examples of teen TV shows canceled before their time include Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life, Veronica Mars, and Friday Night Lights (though thankfully the latter was picked up and had a decent series wrap-up).Enjoy voting for your favorite high school shows, and don't forget: You can add to this list and/or re-rank it accordingly.

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list ordered by
1
Teen Wolf is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 25

Network: MTV

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Supernatural, Teen drama, Black comedy, Drama, + more

Teen Wolf is an American television series developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. It is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott, who is bitten ...more
2
One Tree Hill is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 187

Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Teen drama, Drama, Sports film

One Tree Hill is an American television drama series created by Mark Schwahn, which premiered on September 23, 2003 on The WB. After the series' third season, The WB merged with UPN to form The ...more
3
Awkward. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff, Jillian Rose Reed

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: MTV

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Awkward is an American teen comedy series created by Lauren Iungerich for MTV. The show's central character is Jenna Hamilton, a Palos Verdes, California, teenager who struggles with her ...more
4
Glee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 88

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Musical, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that aired on the Fox network in the United States from May 19, 2009, to March 20, 2015. It focuses on the fictitious William McKinley ...more
5
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 121

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Drama

Gossip Girl is an American teen drama television series based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar. The series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, ...more
6
The Vampire Diaries is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 89

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Paranormal romance, Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Teen drama, Drama, + more

The Vampire Diaries is an American supernatural drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the popular book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith. ...more
7
The O.C. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Peter Gallagher

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 92

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Comedy-drama, Serial

The O.C. is an American teen drama television series that originally aired on the Fox network in the United States from August 5, 2003, to February 22, 2007, running a total of four seasons. The ...more
8
Boy Meets World is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Ben Savage, Rider Strong, William Daniels

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 158

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Sitcom, Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Boy Meets World is an American television sitcom that chronicles the coming of age events and everyday life-lessons of Cornelius "Cory" Matthews. The show follows Cory and his friends ...more
9
90210 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Shenae Grimes-Beech, Tristan Wilds, AnnaLynne McCord

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 114

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Teen drama, Drama

90210 is an American teen drama television series, developed by Rob Thomas, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, that aired on The CW from September 2, 2008 to May 13, 2013. It is the fourth series in the ...more
10
Pretty Little Liars is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 72

Network: ABC Family

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Pretty Little Liars is an American teen drama mystery–thriller television series loosely based on the popular book series of the same title, written by Sara Shepard. The show premiered on June ...more
11
That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis

Premiered: 1998

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 200

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Sitcom, Comedy

That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from August 23, 1998, to May 18, 2006. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in ...more
12
Riverdale is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes

Premiered: 2017

Number of Seasons: 4

Network: The CW

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery

Riverdale (The CW, 2017) is an American teen drama television series developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the characters of Archie Comics. The series follows Archie Andrews' (KJ Apa) ...more
13
Gilmore Girls is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson

Premiered: 2000

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 153

Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Gilmore Girls is an American comedy-drama series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. On October 5, 2000, the series debuted on the WB to widespread ...more
14
The Fosters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Hayden Byerly

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 5

Genres (Tv): Drama

The Fosters is an American family drama television series that airs on the ABC Family network in the United States and ABC Spark in Canada. The series follows the lives of the titular Foster ...more
15
Buffy the Vampire Slayer... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 144

Network: UPN, The WB Television Network

Genres (Tv): Paranormal romance, Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, + more

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production ...more
16
13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh

Premiered: 2017

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery

13 Reasons Why (Netflix, 2017) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey. Told through a series of flashbacks, the ...more
17
Kim Possible is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Christy Carlson Romano, Will Friedle, Nancy Cartwright

Premiered: 2002

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 87

Network: Disney Channel

Genres (Tv): Animation, Action/Adventure, Children's television series, Adventure film, Comedy, + more

Kim Possible is an American animated television series created by Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle for Disney Channel. It centers on Kim Possible, a teenage fighter who has the task of dealing ...more
18
The Fresh Prince of Bel-... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
wiabux added Will Smith, James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro

Premiered: 1990

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 148

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990, to May 20, 1996. The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of ...more
19
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 64

Network: UPN, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Comedy, + more

Veronica Mars (UPN, The CW, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by screenwriter Rob Thomas. After her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father ...more
20
The Carrie Diaries is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Ellen Wong

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy

Carrie Bradshaw is in her senior year of high school in the early 1980s. She asks her first questions about love and friendship and family while navigating the worlds of high school and
21
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 18

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Drama, Period piece, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig with Judd Apatow as executive producer, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. ...more
22
H2O: Just Add Water is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added H2O: Just Add Water Cariba Heine, Phoebe Tonkin, Angus McLaren

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 78

Network: Network Ten

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Action/Adventure, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film, + more

H₂O: Just Add Water, also known as H₂O, is an Australian dramatic fantasy television programme for children and teenagers created by Jonathan M. Shiff. It first screened on Australia's Network ...more
23
That's So Raven is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Raven-Symoné, Orlando Brown, Anneliese van der Pol

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 100

Network: Disney Channel, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Sitcom, Teen situation comedy, Children's television series, Comedy, + more

That's So Raven is an American supernatural teen sitcom television series. It debuted on the Disney Channel on January 17, 2003, and ended its run on November 10, 2007. The show spawned Disney ...more
24
Degrassi: The Next Gener... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Stefan Brogren, Aislinn Paul, Melinda Shankar

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 149

Network: MTV, MuchMusic, CTV Television Network, TeenNick

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Teen drama, Drama, Children's television series

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian teen drama television series set in the Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. Degrassi is the fourth fictional ...more
25
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 76

Network: Audience Network, NBC

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Teen drama, Drama, Sports film

Friday Night Lights is an American drama television series about a high school football team in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. It was developed by Peter Berg, and executive produced by ...more