Fame (1980s) TV Poster Image

Drama about artistic teens at a high school in New York City in the 1980s. Story lines occasionally include drugs, alcohol, violent crime, prostitution, or debilitating disease, but the primary role models -- and messages -- are overwhelmingly positive.

Degrassi TV Poster Image

Superb, socially conscious drama tackles big issues like sex, teen pregnancy, sexual identity, drug use, school violence, hate crimes, and mental disorders in a frank, thoughtful way. Manages a moral tone without coming off as preachy.

Freaks and Geeks TV Poster Image

Stellar teen dramedy explores angst, experimentation. Centers on fringe high school students who smoke, drink, and have sex. Sharp writing and comical but honest portrayal of the uncertainties of teen life. Extremely talented cast.

Friday Night Lights TV Poster Image

Centers on the coach and players of an elite high school football team in small-town Texas. Constant tension between the community's desire to win and the coach's goal to help his players cultivate their inner strength. A well-executed drama for teens and up.

Gilmore Girls TV Poster Image

A single mother and her daughter run an inn in a fictional Connecticut town. The intelligent, well-written show features strong female leads and a diverse cast. Chock-full of pop culture and literary references; material is exceptionally clever.


Common Sense Tips

  • Encourage your teen to try animation, video-editors, and other digital tools to create his or her own shows.
  • Even if you don't like your teen's shows, you can still engage by asking open-ended questions such as, "What appeals to you?" and "What would you do in a similar situation?"