Watchworthy

The Best High School TV Shows 

Molly Gander
Originally by
Updated June 17, 2020 140.7k votes 19.1k voters 771.4k views 140 items

List Rules Vote up the best shows that frequently feature scenes inside a high school, feature high school students, and showcase themes unique to high school-age adolescents.

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

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

Teen Wolf (MTV, 2011) is an American teen drama series developed by Jeff Davis, and is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name. A teenager named Scott (Tyler Posey), is bitten by a ...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

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Teen drama

One Tree Hill (The WB, 2003) is an American drama television series created by Mark Schwahn. Half-brothers Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James lafferty) trade between kinship and ...more
3
Boy Meets World is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Ben Savage, Rider Strong, William Daniels

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Teen sitcom

Boy Meets World (ABC, 1993) is an American television sitcom created by Michael Jacobs and April Kelly. An adolescent (Ben Savage) with two siblings tests his various theories about life as he ...more
4
Awkward. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff, Jillian Rose Reed

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Comedy-drama

Awkward (MTV, 2011) is an American teen comedy series created by Lauren Iungerich. After being mistaken as a suicidal teen, social outcast Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) starts blogging about ...more
5
The Vampire Diaries is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Drama, Horror, Fantasy

The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 2009) is an American supernatural teen drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the book series by L. J. Smith. In the ...more
6
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Teen drama

Gossip Girl (The CW, 2007) is an American teen drama television series created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. After a mysterious ...more
7
Glee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Musical

Glee (Fox, 2009) is an American musical comedy-drama television series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. A group of ambitious misfits try to escape the harsh realities of ...more
8
The O.C. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Ben McKenzie

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Teen drama

The O.C. (Fox, 2003) is an American teen drama television series created by Josh Schwartz. A troubled youth (Ben McKenzie) becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the ...more
9
90210 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Rob Estes, Shenae Grimes, Tristan Wilds

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Teen drama

90210 (The CW, 2008) is an American teen drama television series developed by Rob Thomas, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, and the fourth series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise created by Darren ...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

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery, Crime thriller

Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2010) is an American teen drama mystery–thriller television series developed by I. Marlene King, loosely based on the novel series by Sara Shepard. When their ...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

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

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

Genres (Tv): Comedy-drama

Gilmore Girls (The WB, 2000) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. In the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a thirty-something single mother ...more
14
Buffy the Vampire Slayer... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Horror, Comedy-drama, Teen drama, Action, + more

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon, based on the 1992 film. Destined to slay vampires, a young woman (Sarah ...more
15
The Fresh Prince of Bel-... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
wiabux added Will Smith, James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro

Premiered: 1990

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
16
The Fosters is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Hayden Byerly

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Family drama

The Fosters (Freeform, 2013) is an American drama television series created by Bradley Bredeweig and Peter Paige. Teenager Callie Jacob (Maia Mitchell) is placed in a foster home with a lesbian ...more
17
13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh

Premiered: 2017

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
18
Kim Possible is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Christy Carlson Romano, Will Friedle, Nancy Cartwright

Premiered: 2002

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
19
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Comedy-drama

Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999) is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Paul Feig. A gifted high schooler (Linda Cardellini) starts hanging out with a group of burnouts, while ...more
20
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery, Neo-noir

Veronica Mars (UPN, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by Rob Thomas. After her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father (Enrico Colantoni) ...more
21
The Carrie Diaries is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Ellen Wong

Premiered: 2013

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

The Carrie Diaries (The CW, 2013) is an American teen comedy-drama television series developed by Amy B. Harris, based on the 2010 book by Candace Bushnell. Before she became a columnist, Carrie ...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

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
Smallville is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Allison Mack

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Adventure film, + more

Smallville is an American television series developed by writer-producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The ...more
24
That's So Raven is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Krmickey97 added Raven-Symoné, Orlando Brown, Anneliese van der Pol

Premiered: 2003

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
25
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best High School TV Shows
Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Gaius Charles

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Sports drama, Family drama

Friday Night Lights (NBC, 2006) is an American sports drama television series developed by Peter Berg, inspired by the 1990 nonfiction book by H. G. Bissinger. A drama that follows the lives of ...more