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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"The words 'Let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture."
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June 18 2006

The Evolution Of The Teen Drama Series. Article about how teen dramas have evolved since Beverly Hills 90210 paved the way for the genre.

Derf, I was just reading this and when I came over to see if someone had posted...lo and behold...Anyway it was interesting to read how writers and producers began thinking that teen dramas didn't have to turn into soap operas to keep people interested. I admit to watching 90210 but I couldn't stomach it after the second season.

Like the author I too was late to Buffy, but it was mostly because of all of the hype. I didn't think that one tv show could be so good. I thought it would be like 90210 all over again, but I was surprised that it wasn't. It really was BtVS as a metaphor to adolescence life and identity.

Also, like the author I have come late to Veronica Mars, but the first season is in queue on Netflix and I hope that it is a great as everyone says it is.
Samira, change 90210 to The OC, and everything you said was true about me. Although I honestly couldn't give a reason why I avoided Buffy. I never heard much hype; I was probably just assumed it was melodramatic and girly.

A really nice article. I really want to see My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks. I've heard great things about both of them. And I adore Claire Danes.
I can't take BEVERLY HILLS 90 whatever, but I understand why it's on the list.

The rest on the list have great reputations as teen dramas. I have actually watched MY SO CALLED LIFE (which was nearly as upsetting as Angel being cancelled, but not quite) I've heard rave reviews about FREAKS AND GEEKS (although I wasn't aware of the show at the time) and like "BUFFY" I keep hearing the wonders of VERONICA MARS, so I know eventually I'll end up watching it.

I tried Buffy in early seasons, it didn't stick, was prodded and poked in latter seasons and you see where I'm posting at today. I've never loved a show like that one.

Are we fans that bad? Should I feel insulted? ;)
I find 90210 useful whenever I have to register for something online and need to pretend I am living in the States with a U.S. zipcode.
I'm sorry he didn't cover Degrassi High though. Whether in its first or second incarnation, it too accurately reflects teen life. Even more, I think, than the Hollywood shows dare to.

[ edited by Lioness on 2006-06-19 15:41 ]
I think in terms of smartly written dramas about teens the list can't be complete without Gilmore Girls. True Gilmore is just as much about adults as it is about teens, but hey VM has tons of plot about adults also. Gilmore does get a little to soapy at times, but the writing and dialogue is always so clever that I can overlook Luke suddenly having a long lost adolescent daughter.
Lioness, I agree with you about Degrassi. It is really the progenitor for all of these shows - specifically as Aaron Spelling was interested in adapting it for the U.S. market. I'm not sure if he ever bought the rights, but along the way his desire to do a series set in high school became 90210.

Given its lengthy lifespan, 90210 predictably lost a lot of the quality it began with. Its first year (perhaps even two) were quite solid television seasons - which played things on a fairly realistic level.

It wasn't My So-Called Life or Freaks & Geeks - and it certainly wasn't Buffy, but Darren Star always creates good series to begin with that devolve into something else. Except maybe Sex and the City, which improved during its run.
Whedon haters?


Whedon haters?
Yeah, what has anyone got against Joss ? Is it the ginger hair ? Cos hating that is so 1990s ;).

I actually watched 'My so Called Life' when it was first on (in the UK) and even though I wasn't a teenager by some margin at the time I thought it was excellent. Well acted and written.

I remember Degrassi though I didn't really watch it. Like a much more serious 'Grange Hill' if memory serves.

Another one that I enjoyed was 'Popular'. Amusingly surreal in places but still managing to cover a few hot-button issues (even if it did suffer from the perennial teen drama problem of 'most of these people haven't been teenagers for at least 5-10 years'. Lois Lane from 'Smallville', i'm looking at you).

(and i'm tempted to buy the 'Freaks and Geeks' boxed-set even though i've never seen a single episode based purely on the recommendations of people here and elsewhere, truly a well-loved show)
And of course, Sarah Hagan who played potential Amanda was on Freaks and Geeks. Yes, I agree with you, Saje. Should I ever come into an unexpected bunch of money, that DVD set is on my purchase list.
You won't be disappointed.

Anther whedonish connection with Freaks and Geeks - you will recognize Alysson Hannigan's current fiance on HIMYM as the heartbreakingly good-intentioned but dim romantic interest on F&G.

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