Netflix’s newest teen drama series, Heartbreak High, just dropped and it’s already creating quite the buzz on Twitter among fans. A reboot of the popular Australian series from the ’90s, the re-imagined version follows the students at Hartley High. When Amerie takes the fall alone for creating a scandal, she becomes a social outcast and must reckon with her fall from grace while trying to figure out why her best friend since childhood has pulled away from her.
Heartbreak High offers an authentic and gritty look into the life of Gen-Z teenagers that doesn’t shy away from anything. While the subject matter on the show gets deep, it’s also full of laughs and high moments, as is true with most teen shows. With only 8 episodes, Heartbreak High is a fairly easy show to binge which will leave audiences wanting even more messy teen content. Thankfully, there is plenty of other shows to curb that craving.
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Awkward chronicles the life of social outcast Jenna Hamilton whose peers mistakenly believe a freak accident was her trying to take her own life. To cope with the added eyes on her, she starts a blog where she writes about the various issues she and many of her peers are dealing with.
Jenna and Amerie are two teen protagonists that have a lot in common, starting with their peers’ failure to understand who they really are. It would have been easy for them to give in to what everyone said about them, but instead, they buckled down and stayed true to themselves.
Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2015)
Stream on HBO Max
The iconic Degrassi: The Next Generation is one of the most influential shows to offer an authentic take on teen life. With a circulating cast as characters graduated high school and moved on, Degrassi episodes regularly dealt with mundane teen issues like love and heartbreak while also peppering in more important storylines dealing with deep issues like violence and drug abuse.
Like Heartbreak High, Degrassi never tried to sugarcoat things for its predominantly teen audiences. Both shows allow their teen characters to be messy and ultimately and hopefully learn from their mistakes.
Stream on HBO Max
While Euphoria is an ensemble teen show, it does heavily center on the life of Rue, a teenage drug user who has just left rehab and is trying to adjust back into high school life.
While Euphoria is a lot darker and less humorous than Heartbreak High, they’re still complimentary shows. Both Rue and Amerie are a bit lost when the shows begin and go on their own journeys of self-discovery as the shows progress. They also both feature a cast of talented young actors whose characters get their own important arcs.
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HBO Max tried to set itself up as the home for teen shows with the release of Genera+ion but unfortunately canceled the show before it could reach its true potential. The ensemble series followed a group of Orange County high school students as they explored their sexuality in their conservative town.
Like Heartbreak High, sex and accepting oneself are at the forefront of all the storylines in Genera+ion. Both shows are also similar because they offer an authentic look at what it’s like growing up as a member of Gen Z and heavily feature LGBTQ+ characters and storylines.
Heartbreak High (1997-1999)
Stream on Netflix
There = would not be a modern Heartbreak High without the ’90s original. The original centered on an ensemble cast of Hartley High students in the 1990s who, in their final year of high school, were still trying to figure out who they were and who they loved.
While both shows are similar in that they share the same name and take place at the same school, the reboot offers a much more diverse and inclusive cast and storyline. However, if fans love the 2022 version, it’s only fitting that they check out the original namesake to see where the story originates from.
Love, Victor (2020-2022)
Stream on Hulu & Disney+
A television spin-off show based on the movie Love, Simon, Love, Victor follows teenager Victor Salazar who has just moved to Creekwood and is trying to adjust to his new town while also coming to terms with his sexuality in his religious family.
Like Darren in Heartbreak High, Victor doesn’t have the most open and accepting parents when it comes to his sexuality. While it’s clear they’re not mistreated, it’s also clear that their parents don’t really know what to do with them, which can be equally as hurtful. Fortunately, both characters have incredible friends to lean on for support.
Never Have I Ever (2020-)
Stream on Netflix
From the comedic mind of Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever centers on Devi, a young Indian-American teenager who is determined to repair her high school reputation after having the worst freshman year in the history of terrible freshmen years.
Despite being a comedy, Never Have I Ever has a lot in common with Heartbreak High. The first is that both female main characters are flawed, but fans still seem to love them. Like Amerie, Devi doesn’t always make the best choices but they do both try to rectify their mistakes and be better versions of themselves.
Sex Education (2019-)
Stream on Netflix
Netflix’s Sex Education British dramedy series centers on Otis, a secondary student who begins hosting an underground sex therapy clinic after school hours using the handbooks he borrows from his sex therapist mom. Episodes also feature other characters at the school who are dealing with their own problems around sex and sexuality.
Both Heartbreak High and Sex Education revolve heavily around teenagers exploring their sexuality both in theory and in practice. Both shows also feature LGBTQ+ characters in both healthy and unhealthy relationships as they learn their own self-worth.
Stream on Hulu
Set in Bristol, South West England, Skins follows a rotating cast of teenagers as they navigate the halls of their secondary school while dealing with varying personal issues both common (love, heartbreaks) and more serious (Mental illness, abuse, death).
Skins is, perhaps, the best counterpart to Heartbreak HIgh because both are international shows that don’t have to deal with the same American censorship constraints. They both explore the real world teens live in including where they go to parties, have sex, and get into all sorts of trouble. And they both make it a point to be inclusive in all areas of casting and character creation.
13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)
Stream on Netflix
Based on the novel of the same name, 13 Reasons Why‘s first and second seasons centered on the aftermath of a fellow high school student’s suicide and how it affected those she interacted with. The remaining two seasons continued to follow the same characters as they dealt with more trauma and fallouts as they tried to make it to their high school graduation in one piece.
13 Reasons Why is extremely controversial, unlike Heartbreak High, which genuinely is trying to offer an authentic representation of teenage life. However, both shows manage to create characters that fans can’t help but root for. Even on their lowest days, fans want to see Amerie and Jessica Davis thrive.