1 ‘13 Reasons Why’ (2017-2020)
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in ’13 Reasons Why’
13 Reasons Why is a Netflix original series that is based on a novel by Jay Asher. The series tells the story of Hannah Baker, who died by suicide. Before her death, she recorded a series of cassette tapes, each dedicated to a person she felt was a major influence in her ending her life.
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Each episode takes on a different tape; all listened to by her friend Clay Jensen. As he uncovers the truth leading up to her death, dark secrets are revealed. The show takes on some very intense topics, including mental health, self-harm, bullying, and even sexual assault. 13 Reasons Why has received a lot of criticism as well for its wide array of heavy topics.
2 ‘Grand Army’ (2020)
Characters from Grand Army
Grand Army is another Netflix series based on a stageplay. The show is set in a diverse public school in Brooklyn, New York, and follows a group of students as they navigate their teenage years. The show tackles racism, the school-to-prison pipeline, sexual assault, sexuality, gender, and cultural differences.
It is a shame that a show that opened the door for discussions about power dynamics in education and injustice was canceled after only one season. Nonetheless, the show is a must-watch for a truly raw and gut-wrenching night.
3 ‘Euphoria’ (2019-present)
Zendaya as Rue in season 1 finale of Euphoria, Rue’s relapse
Image via HBO
Euphoria is one of the most popular HBO shows of all time and stars Zendaya. The series follows a group of high school students as they all deal with their own troubles in adolescence. The show has quite a bit of intense and downright provocative content in terms of drugs and drug addiction, mental illness, graphic violence, and sex.
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Euphoria, in every episode, is like a piece of art—the show uses a stunningly mellow aesthetic to show the complexities of teenage life in the rapidly changing present world. Anyone looking for a show should consider watching Euphoria if they can handle it.
4 ‘Elite’ (2018-2021)
Guzmán, Anfer, and Rebeka sitting together in Élite.
Image via Netflix
Elite is a Spanish-language series that gained a huge following in English-speaking countries. The show follows a group of students at a wealthy and prestigious private school in Spain as they attempt to fit in. The show centers around a murder mystery and follows each student who could’ve been involved as they try to solve the crime.
While solving a literal murder, the students have to sort through their personal and emotional issues with themselves and each other. The show highlights cultural and economic differences and the dynamics that follow suit. Elite is a great watch for anyone looking for something fresh and exciting.