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Best Ever Teen Dramas: Friday Fiver

By and Catriona Wightman
The O.C

© Rex Features / c.Warner Br/Everett

It's back! Skins returns for its sixth series on Monday, so we couldn't help but revisit some of our favourite teen dramas for this week's Friday Fiver.

The only problem was that it turned out to be harder than we thought. Maybe we just watched too much television in our adolescent years, but it turns out that actually there's a whole host of fantastic teen TV out there - how on Earth could we narrow it down to just five?

Well, we've given it a go, so read on to find out what we picked... and then let us know whether you agree!

Dawson's Creek (1998-2003)
The teen show to beat - Dawson's Creek become notorious throughout the late '90s and early '00s for its emotionally fraught young characters, each of whom boasted a vocabulary far beyond their years. This show had it all - love triangles, nervous breakdowns and 30-something actors playing teenagers.

But Dawson's wasn't really about James Van Der Beek's title character. It wasn't even about Katie Holmes's unfeasibly perfect Joey Potter. No, the real star was bad boy Pacey Witter, played by the brilliant Joshua Jackson. Throwing punches, hooking up with older ladies and spitting in the face of abusive teachers - Pacey was far more fun than the drippy Dawson.

Check out a famous moment from the Creek below - skip to 4:54 to get to the good stuff.



The O.C. (2003-2007)
The show that, for many, stole Dawson's teen crown. An altogether glossier take on the teen drama, The O.C. was slick, fun, sunny entertainment. Again, the star of the show - Ben McKenzie's brooding Ryan - wasn't really the lead. His partner in crime, Seth Cohen - played with geeky perfection by Adam Brody - stole every scene he was in, as well many a female viewer's heart. The character became an icon for any male nerd watching.

There's so much to love about The O.C. - Rachel Bilson's amazing Summer, the cheesy-but-you-love-it theme tune by Phantom Planet, the snappy dialogue and, of course, the Greatest TV Dad Everâ„¢ Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) and his epic eyebrows. Let's just forget that final season. Trips to an alternate universe? No thanks.



Sugar Rush (2005-2006)
We've already waxed lyrical about Sugar Rush in a previous Tube Talk Gold, but there's a reason for that - it's blooming brilliant. It's hard to capture the sense of teenage life, but Sugar Rush excelled at doing just that - all whirlwinds and candy floss and despair and first love. It was fast-moving and exciting, and yet still pointed out that being an adolescent could be downright disappointing.

What's more, it practically paved the way for Skins. Not only did the show focus on a teenage girl discovering her sexuality - which was tabloid-baiting enough - but viewers were treated to all sorts of controversy (one character ran a sex shop, a whole episode revolved around an outbreak of pubic lice... you get the idea). But the show wasn't scared of dealing with issues like attempted rape or drug use either. Exhilarating, colourful, vibrant and exciting, Sugar Rush was perfect teen TV.



Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
Often named as one of the shows cancelled way before its time, Freaks and Geeks was a wonderfully sideways look at high school life. Set in the 1980s - giving the show something of that Breakfast Club feel - it focused on the various cliques at a high school near Detroit. Bittersweetly funny and pretty insightful about those tricky teen years, it's not surprising that it became a cult hit.

Just looking back at the Judd Apatow show now, it's stunning to realise how many stars passed through William McKinley High School's corridors - everyone from Seth Rogen to Busy Phillipps to Jason Segel had major roles, while guests included stars like Lizzy Caplan, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Joanna Garcia and even Ben Stiller. It's cruel that it was taken from us so early - if you've never given it a watch, it's definitely worth seeking out.



My So-Called Life (1994-1995)
One of the originals, and still one of the best, My So-Called Life is another show cruelly taken from us far too early. Starring a young Claire Danes, the series was all about the life of the students at Liberty High and dealt with all kinds of issues facing teens - not just stuff like drugs, alcohol and sexuality, though those were all dealt with, but also the idea of forming a new identity as a young adult.

My So-Called Life didn't shy away from showing teenage life as a bit, well, rubbish, making it easy for viewers from across the country to relate to it. Of course, there were also the standard romantic storylines, too, as we watched the captivating relationship between Andrea and Jordan (Jared Leto). Being left on that cliffhanger is something some fans might never recover from.



Did we include your favourite teen drama? Let us know below!

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