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Top 10 Darkest Teen Drama Shows

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mersini Karkoulas

It’s not all proms and pom poms. For this list, we’re looking at TV series specifically aimed at an adolescent audience that feature morbid or mature plotlines. Our list includes Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 13 Reasons Why, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Teen Drama Shows.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Darkest%20Teen%20Drama%20Shows Special thanks to our users jaimieroussos for suggesting this idea!

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Script written by Mersini Karkoulas

Top 10 Darkest Teen Drama Shows


It’s not all proms and pom poms. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Teen Drama Shows.



For this list, we’re looking at TV series specifically aimed at an adolescent audience that feature morbid or mature plotlines.



#10: “The Vampire Diaries” (2009-17)




It might be a show about vampires, werewolves, and everything in between, but when it comes down to its core, “The Vampire Diaries” is a show about the darkest of humanity’s moments and the forces that drive people. Following Elena and the Salvatore brothers, Stefan and Damon, the show pushes its characters to their limits, often so far that they become a terrible, primal version of themselves. With blood and gore to the max, the most terrifying thing about this show is how its characters can be good one minute, and evil the next.







#9: “Degrassi: Next Class” (2016-)




The Degrassi universe has been a staple in teens’ lives for several generations, with the show often mirroring real life issues young people were facing at the time. With the newest take on the series being aimed at Generation Z, the show fits in nicely with the trend. “Degrassi: Next Class” tackles things like mental health issues, homophobia, and addiction, there are few things the show shies away from, resulting in a program that people can look to when they come up against similar situations. With such an approach, “Degrassi: Next Class” firmly cements itself as a classic for another era of teens.







#8: “Misfits” (2009-13)




This British program follows a group of young adults who are sentenced to community service for their crimes and who shortly gain superpowers thereafter, so you know you’re in for a ride. It’s a show that teeters on the edge of darkness for so long that when it falls into it, it’s almost a relief. Suspenseful and not afraid of hiding behind niceties, “Misfits” is social commentary about classism and the ways some people deal with issues in their lives, whether it be bullying, or familial problems. Thankfully, “Misfits” has a sharp sense of humor that balances out the heavy themes.





#7: “Sweet/Vicious” (2016-17)




With the rise of the #MeToo movement, there has never been a more relevant time for young adult television to explore sexual harassment and assault. Sorority sister Jules looks like she has it all, but in truth, she lives a double life, dealing out punishment as a vigilante against those who sexually assault women on campus. With Ophelia, a hacker, at her side, the two take on responsibility for the protection (and punishment) of their classmates. Considering how many women will experience sexual violence throughout their lifetimes, it’s a timely reminder that the justice system so often fails those who need it.



#6: “Riverdale” (2016-)




The town of Riverdale seemingly has more secrets than it does residents, and for Archie and his friends, unravelling them is essential after their classmate, Jason, goes missing. It’s a season long mystery that is only uncovered one clue at a time as Archie and co. find out how their lives and the lives of their families intersect with some of the most horrific crimes to ever shake the town. Not shying away from violence or disaster, the show isn’t afraid of putting its characters in positions where they have to reconsider everything they know about the people around them.







#5: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1996-2003)




Where would the world be without “Buffy”? Definitely one of the most iconic shows of all time, it introduced us to the idea of a girl fated to save the world, whether she liked it or not . While the show is remembered for its monster of the week episode arcs featuring vampires, and other demonic forces, the show only really began to tap into the darkness in later seasons where characters had to face their personal demons. With several characters succumbing to evil for brief periods, the series altered audience conceptions of who was “good” and who was “bad”.





#4: “Pretty Little Liars” (2010-17)




When a persistent anonymous stranger threatens to expose all their secrets, four young women have to learn to face their mistakes or risk their entire lives being turned upside down. This is a show about young adults dealing with the disappearance of their best friend while also trying to keep their lives together, and it surprised audiences with the depth of emotion that it touches upon as the characters fight for their right to live normal lives. While never innocent, the four “liars” are nevertheless undeserving of at least some of the horrors “A” puts them through.







#3: “Skins” (2007-13)




“Skins” was one of the first UK shows to put teen issues at the forefront of mainstream pop culture in a way that forced audiences to consider teenagers beyond the stereotypes that surrounded them. Each episode follows one of the characters and deals with issues that range from eating disorders to sexual identity. The show puts characters in positions where they have to deal with the consequences of their actions or inactions. It also proves that adults are not always to be trusted, with characters often coping with neglect or abuse from their parents. Thankfully, while it is quite grim, there is a sense of humour that cuts through what would otherwise be quite depressing.



#2: “The End of the F***ing World” (2017-)




17 year old James thinks he might be a psychopath. With the killings of various animals under his belt - a hobby he’s had since he was a child - James is curious about what would happen if he turned his focus from animals to humans. He decides that Alyssa, one of his schoolmates, will be the perfect victim. But things don’t turn out as he expected and the two of them end up in places that neither had imagined - running from police, entangled with a rapist, and ultimately, responsible for a man’s death. It’s almost more than anyone can handle, and the show is unapologetic about that.





#1: “TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY” (2017-)




It’s not often a show causes as much controversy as “13 Reasons Why” did upon its release. With suicide, bullying, and sexual assault as major themes of the show, it was hailed as being a breath of fresh air for so openly dealing with those issues. But it was also lambasted for portraying them in an insensitive way. In this look into the reasons behind Hannah Baker’s suicide, various characters caught in the aftermath must deal with their emotions as well as how their actions impacted other people, forcing audiences to consider the repercussions of their own lives.
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