All the young dudes: The most lit teen TV shows of 2018
Generation Y aren’t just the future of our society – they’re also the future of our TV shows. And if the current crop of young-adult programming is anything to go by then they may just be the generation that shakes things up for the rest of us.
The TV shows of the 00s were ruled by the rich kids and moral teachings of Beverly Hills 90210, the rich kids and immoral backstabbing of Gossip Girl, and the rich kids and emo-grandstanding of The O.C. – not exactly a breeding ground of fresh ideas.
However, judging from the teen TV shows coming out in 2018, young-adult programming is getting a much needed facelift. The shows look darker and more experimental in narrative tone, feature a more diverse set of characters, and look set to explore issues and ideas which go way beyond the usual tropes of the teen shows generation X or older Millennials grew up with. Take a look at these ten upcoming young-adult shows and see for yourself:
Life Sentence (7 March)
Sounding like a teenage version of Breaking Bad (minus all the crystal meth and grisly murder) Life Sentence follows Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) as Stella – a young woman who starts living life large after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. However, when she’s informed her cancer has been miraculously cured, Stella faces the (hopefully hilarious) consequences of living like there was no tomorrow.
Heathers (7 March)
As a TV reboot of the 1988 beloved cult classic starring Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), this black-comedy series has already managed to upset some of its target audience with a controversial first trailer that appeared ignorant of identity politics. Starring Grace Victoria Cox (Under the Dome), Jasmine Matthews (Sweetbitter), Selma Blair (Hellboy), and Shannen Doherty (Mallrats), it remains to be seen whether the series can win back the teen market and become worth its weight in recycled corn nuts.
Rise (13th March)
Inspired by a true story, Rise comes from the producers of Friday Night Lights, Hamilton, and Parenthood and focuses on a working-class community awakened by the arrival of a new high-school drama teacher (Josh Radner). The show has come under fire for rewriting the lead closeted-gay character as straight, but if you can get past that, the first trailers suggest Rise will be a feelgood viewing experience.
On My Block (16 March)
A coming-of-age comedy about four inner-city kids as they navigate life & high school in South Central, Los Angeles, On My Block looks set to be one of the most diverse teen shows ever aired. Co-created by Lauren Iungerich (Awkward), the series also shows a great deal of comedic promise.
Krypton (21st March)
Picking up the baton of red kryptonite left by Smallville in 2011, Krypton is ditching the caped crusader’s story in favor of his grandfather’s. Following the character as a young adult fighting to save his family’s honor (while also trying to save the world from chaos), this Superman prequel has great potential for young comic book fans looking to delve deeper into the DC canon.
Alexa & Katie (23 March)
Following two lifelong best friends as they deal with the immense challenges of being freshmen in college, this Netflix show also tackles the realities of a teenage cancer diagnosis. Katie’s (Isabel May) friendship helps Alexa (Paris Berelc) as she undergoes treatment in this sitcom that offers a fresh take on teen angst.
Siren (29th March)
Set in Bristol Cove – a small town full of mermaid folklore – Siren follows the sudden appearance of mermaids vying to reclaim their right to what they say is a “stolen” ocean. Considering generation Y’s obsession with everything mermaid in the past few years, this one could turn out to be a major hit.
Cloak & Dagger (7th June)
Created by Joe Pokaski (Heroes), this upcoming superhero love story is based on the Marvel comic series of the same name. Following two teenagers (Olivia Holt & Aubrey Joseph) grappling with their newly-acquired superpowers while falling in love, Cloak & Dagger combines the most magical of young-adult tropes: angst-ridden love stories and supernatural forces.
From the twisted mind of Riverdale’s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa comes the next dark reboot of the Archie Comics universe. Starring Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) as the spellbinding lead alongside a strong supporting cast including Miranda Otto (War of the Worlds), Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman), and Michelle Gomez (The Book Group), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is one of Netflix’s most anticipated upcoming teen shows. A premiere date hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s thought to be landing sometime in 2018.
Marvel’s New Warriors (TBA)
This high-anticipated young-adult show is currently seeking its network, but it’s still ready to premiere in 2018. Starring Derek Theler (Baby Daddy) and Milana Vayntrub (as fan-fave Squirrel Girl), the show is a superhero comedy in which six characters learn to cope with their newfound abilities “in a world where bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.”