Shows for Teens That Start Important Conversations

Edgy series like Euphoria, which revolves around drug abuse and teen sexual relationships, has created a lot of buzz for the way it addresses complicated issues. However, it's gotten lots of parents and kids talking, which is always a good thing. For families looking to continue the conversation, Common Sense has lots of recommendations for shows that tackle big questions. The shows on this list aren't for every family, and some are more mature than others, but they all thoughtfully address issues such as mental health, sexual assault, racism, immigration, drug use, and other tough topics.

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TV

Andi Mack

age 10+

Heartwarming, diverse coming-of-age story best for tweens.

Network: Disney Channel (2017)
See full review
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TV

Immigration Nation

age 12+

Damning documentary series puts ICE under the microscope.

Network: Netflix (2020)
See full review
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TV

One Day at a Time

age 12+

Worthy update of classic sitcom has heart.

Network: Netflix (2017)
See full review
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TV

The Secret Life of Lele Pons

age 12+

Powerful portrait of mental illness and social media fame.

Network: YouTube (2020)
See full review
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TV

Degrassi: Next Class

age 13+

An edgier Degrassi for the digital age still has heart.

Network: Netflix (2016)
See full review
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TV

It Gets Better

age 13+

Honest accounts of LGBTQ life inspire hope for teens.

Network: Logo, MTV (2012)
See full review
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TV

Little Voice

age 13+

Substance abuse, language, in sweet fable about stardom.

Network: Apple TV+ (2020)
See full review
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TV

Living Undocumented

age 13+

Heartrending true stories in infuriating ICE docuseries.

Network: Netflix (2019)
See full review
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TV

Party of Five

age 13+

Worthy Latinx reboot of '90s classic has drinking, sex.

Network: Freeform (2020)
See full review
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TV

Degrassi

age 14+

Superb, socially conscious drama deals with tough issues.

Network: TeenNick (2001)
See full review
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TV

Everything's Gonna Be Okay

age 14+

Family love and acceptance, lots of romance in sweet series.

Network: Freeform (2020)
See full review
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TV

The Fosters

age 14+

Heartwarming drama about foster teens and their two moms.

Network: Freeform (2013)
See full review
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TV

Freaks and Geeks

age 14+

Stellar teen dramedy explores angst, experimentation.

Network: Syndicated (1999)
See full review
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TV

Friday Night Lights

age 14+

Poignant football drama scores; OK for teens.

Network: Freeform, NBC (2006)
See full review
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TV

My So-Called Life

age 14+

Mature teen angst at its best.

Network: TeenNick (1994)
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TV

Recovery Road

age 14+

Teen-in-rehab drama has realistic plot, great characters.

Network: Freeform (2016)
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TV

David Makes Man

age 15+

Lyrical drama has mature content, great beauty.

Network: OWN (2019)
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TV

East Los High

age 15+

Edgy Latino teen soap raises timely issues in sensitive way.

Network: Hulu (2013)
See full review
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TV

I Love You, Now Die

age 15+

Challenging, unbiased docu about disturbing bullying case.

Network: HBO (2019)
See full review
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TV

Little Fires Everywhere

age 15+

Race and class issues erupt in thoughtful, mature drama.

Network: Hulu (2020)
See full review