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Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens

Updated July 13, 2020 504 votes 139 voters11 items

List RulesVote up the historical dramas and period pieces that feature teens and young people as the primary cast members.

It's not just adults who are the stars of period piece TV series - the best teen historical dramas not only take you back in time, they focus on the particular worries and wonders of being a teen. Whether the characters are living out the eras of their parents' generation, or are part of a more historical period, period dramas focused on characters who are teens offer a fresh way to look at an era.

Several teen period dramas only go one generation back, such as the 1970s-filmed Happy Days set two decades in the past or the late-1990s That '70s Show. Some series use that for nostalgia purposes, but other teen historical series, like Derry Girls, use the relative nearness of the 1990s to highlight that an era like The Troubles that seems like a long time ago isn't as far away as it appears. Anne with an E goes all the way back to the late 1800s but the characters still navigate the problems that plague all teens, like school and fights between friends. Other series like PEN15 only go as far back as the younger creator's childhoods, making people in their generation cringe with delight.

No matter what time a teen historical series is set, the things that remain the same stand out - it can be tough to be a teen. Vote up the best teen dramas set in a historical (even if recently historical) era.


  • Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens
    Photo: Anne with an E / Netflix

    Setting: The late 1800s outside of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island in Canada.

    Anne with an E (2017, Netflix) is a Canadian television series created by Moira Walley-Beckett, based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) is a good-hearted, earnest orphan adopted by Matthew (R.H. Thomson) and Marilla Cuthbert (Geraldine James), who originally wanted a boy.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Lucas Jade Zumann, Dalila Bela
    • Premiered: 2017
    • Genres (Tv): Drama, Coming of age
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  • That '70s Show is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens
    Photo: Fox

    Setting: May 17, 1976, to December 31, 1979 in the fictional town of Point Place, Wisconson.

    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 the fictional suburban town of Point Place, Wisconsin, from May 17, 1976, to December 31, 1979. The main teenage cast members were Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderrama. The main adult cast members were Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Don Stark and, during the first three seasons and a few episodes in the sixth and seventh seasons, Tanya Roberts.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis
    • Premiered: 1998
    • Genres (Tv): Sitcom
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  • Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens
    Photo: NBC

    Setting: The 1980–1981 school year, in the fictional town of Chippewa, Michigan.

    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 her younger brother (John Francis Daley) navigates his freshman year.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco
    • Premiered: 1999
    • Genres (Tv): Comedy-drama
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  • 4

    Derry Girls

    Derry Girls is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens
    Photo: Channel 4

    Setting: The early 1990s, during end of the Troubles in Derry, Ireland.

    Derry Girls (Channel 4, 2018) is a British sitcom created by Lisa McGee. Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland), their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan) and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), and Michelle's English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) navigate their teen years during the end of the Troubles in Derry, where they all attend a Catholic girls' secondary school.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Nicola Coughlan, Louisa Harland, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn
    • Premiered: 2018
    • Genres (Tv): Dark Comedy
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