Are Teen Dramas Dead?


Welcome back to the randomness! The holiday season is over. Everyone is trying to follow through those New Year’s Resolutions and get back to the routine. That is what I am doing this month. So, let’s begin!
Over the course of the holiday season, I have become obsessed with watching Beverly Hills 90210. A teen show that was on the air for ten years. It follows the Walsh family as they try to navigate the 90210 world. The show is much more detailed than that, but it is addicting. Even worse? It got me thinking.

What happened to the teen show?

Watching this show that dominated the 90’s television landscape reminded me of the teen shows that I watched as a kid. To start, I was part of The O.C. generation. The label whoring, rich is better, quirky style type of teen dramedy. I remember watching Dawson’s Creek on TBS in reruns, which was more of the folksy, 90’s complaint rock, and warm type of show. Beverley Hills is a mix of the two with some Melrose Place stingers mixed in. I will not lie; One Tree Hill is in there too but much later on. I did not get into that show until college. Regardless, I remember those types of shows fondly. They were a big part of my childhood, teenage and early twenties.

What do teens have to watch now? This question came up when I was talking with my good friend Jamie. My guess was MTV. Teen Wolf, Awkward and Faking It seemed like a typical teen dramedy. Except they are not. They are genre pieces. They include issues teens are facing today but with a slant.

The CW (former WB) is something my friend threw out there. The CW is the new WB. So, they would be teen show central. Umm…no. Yes, the shows tend to be around teenagers and early 20-something, but again they seem to be genre specific. Jane the Virgin is 20-something with a family twist. I-zombie is genre based (zombies…duh), and The Flash is straight up superhero genre.

The shows on the CW do not reflect what I watched on the WB. The WB was the place that teen went to when regular network television (Cable was not that big yet) was too boring. It reflected what we were going through as teenagers growing up in a turbulent era (every teenager has a turbulent time, but I got to live through 9/11 and the stock market crash of 2008). The CW does not have those types of shows anymore. They are targeting specific audiences and selling to them like mad, and it is working.

Which lead me to ask a new question.

Do we even need the traditional teen show anymore?

Each generation has its struggles. Some never change (pimples, mean girls/boys and SATs) while others do (social media bullying, over-sexualization and constant scrutiny at every turn). There could be teen shows written about the new struggles, but they are not. Which leads me to think that teens do not need that type of show anymore. They do not need to be force-fed lessons the way my generation had. Hiding those lessons through superhero shows or shows about accidental artificial inseminations seems to work better than talking about an issue straight out.

Maybe that works better because constant messaging from brands, their friends and their families has made that teen bracket harder to reach. Television shows have to be subtle and hide the lessons in genre specific ways.

Is that a bad thing? No. Not at all. I just long for the days where I could relate to a character’s struggle flat out. Now I notice that I cannot relate as easily since my time worrying about the pimples on the face was secondary to saving the world.

I guess I long for the simple times since things are not so simple anymore.
What do you think? Do you think the teen show still exists or is it dead? Tell me below in the comments!

Stick around because tomorrow I will be listing the top three teen shows everyone should see once in their lifetime.

Until then, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

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