The Teen Shows That Defined The 2000s, Ranked

Photo: Snal Stills/ REX/ Shutterstock.
If you grew up in the 2000s — and by “grew up,” I mean got braces, had your first pimple, and learned to drive a car — then you were hella spoiled when it came to good television. While critics continuously rave that this is the one of the best years of television ("peak TV"), I beg to differ. It's true that today there are more shows with insane budgets (The Crown, Game of Thrones) depicting all kinds of families (Atypical, Mom, black-ish) and that is fantastic. But there's a certain charm to the cheesy-as-hell and wickedly unrealistic television series of my youth. The most iconic of the late 1990s to mid-2000s-era shows have managed to withstand the test of time (though some newbies say otherwise), but one unanimously beloved fixture in the Land of Teen Shows was the one, the only: Dawson's Creek.
As we quickly approach the 20 year anniversary of Dawson's Creek on January 20, I started reflecting on all of the teen-centric shows that both paved the way for DC and also were born because of it. But rather than just collect a list of all of those shows, I took things a step further and ranked them for you. And you can trust my expertise: I was once a teen with extremely great (read: not great) style, and a wildly interesting (read: pretty normal) high school experience. So I feel more than qualified to give you the entire recent history of these teen dramas, ranked from the least definitive of the 2000s to the most. We'll touch on the timeless themes of spiteful townies versus jaded rich kids, exaggerated awkward moments in puberty, bad boys charming daddy's girls, ultimate heartbreaks, and more.
But first, a word. The biggest and most damning conclusion I had while ranking the pettiest, most delicious 2000s teen sagas was that the era was overflowing with white, horny teenagers. And still, in 2018, we still don't have very many depictions of horny kids from all backgrounds. I think that in 2018, it's time for a 90210 or Gossip Girl with a Black cast. Paging Issa Rae!
Alright, alright. In the meantime, I know you're dying for this list, so let's get started and see just how your 00's favorites fared on this valuable cornerstone of television writing.
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