235 voters

Teens In Time, The Best Historical Dramas About Teens

Updated September 22, 2021 824 votes 235 voters 2.3k views14 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.


  • Photo: Anne

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

    Anne with an E (Netflix, 2017) 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
    • Actors: Amybeth McNulty, R.H. Thomson, Geraldine James, Lucas Jade Zumann, Dalila Bela
    • Premiered: March 19, 2017
    • Genres: Drama
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  • Photo: Stranger Things / Netflix

    Setting: The 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.

    Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), a police chief (David Harbour), and his friends, must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back....  more
    • Actors: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Cara Buono
    • Premiered: July 15, 2016
    • Genres: Science fiction-Horror
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  • Photo: Derry Girls / Channel 4

    Derry Girls

    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
    • Actors: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Ian McElhinney, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Nicola Coughlan
    • Premiered: January 4, 2018
    • Genres: Dark Comedy
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  • Photo: Freaks and Geeks / 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
    • Actors: John Francis Daley, Linda Cardellini, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, James Franco
    • Premiered: September 25, 1999
    • Genres: Comedy-drama
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