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The best American teen TV dramas

Feature by Jack Foley

THE British do many things better, but arguably teen dramas isn’t one of them. Americans know their ridiculous drama – we are willing to bank they created it.

Their addictive teen soap operas have kept audiences around the world religiously glued to their television week after week.

The first season of Friday Night Lights – that’s all 22 episodes – is hitting the DVD shelves on Monday (June 25, 2012), and has inspired us to take a look at the show’s finest company.

Here are a few we will always consider a guilty pleasure…

The OC

The OC

Modern day hipsters discovered most of their favourite bands from this show -though they would never admit it. The OC – based on the lives of four affluent teens living on the coast of Orange County, California – will always remain teen drama gem. This is where we first saw the adorable Rachel Bilson take the screen and epitomize a California girl and the lovable Adam Brody play mega-dork Seth Cohen. We learned words like Chrismakuh and discovered Death Cab For Cutie. It will forever hold a place in our California-loving hearts.

Dawson’s Creek

Dawson's Creek

Modern day hipsters discovered most of their favourite bands from this show -though they would never admit it. The OC – based on the lives of four affluent teens living on the coast of Orange County, California – will always remain teen drama gem. This is where we first saw the adorable Rachel Bilson take the screen and epitomize a California girl and the lovable Adam Brody play mega-dork Seth Cohen. We learned words like Chrismakuh and discovered Death Cab For Cutie. It will forever hold a place in our California-loving hearts.

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries

Despite the overkill of the vampire element lately, this one is still keeping viewers glued to the television and maintaining plenty of juicy twists and American drama. Kevin Williamson has done it again with his powerful and addictive love triangles – but this time it centres around a small-town girl being love torn between two vampire brothers. The series has even bred two fierce and terrifyingly passionate fan bases based on which brother they want the heroine to end up with: Team Stelena and Team Delena (the choice for anyone with a heart).

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Based on the novels of the same name, Gossip Girl is a show about the scandalous lives of This Manhattan’s young elite and “it” girls Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen. This show took drama to a new level and always managed to leave teen girls everywhere in a painful fit of anxiety in between episodes Now going into its sixth and final season, the teen drama is leaving TV dramatically and everyone rooting for Chuck and Blair to finally be together – arguably the hottest young couple to ever hit television. I mean how many times can you let a chance with Chuck Bass slip through your fingers?

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars

Whenever an episode of this TV obsession airs, fan commentary from seemingly everyone one knows takes over Facebook and Twitter feeds (hashtag: #PLL). There is just something so addictive and satisfying about watching four young girls band together to secretly solve their friend’s murder while keeping concealed their own dark and haunting secrets. What happened to the good ol’ simple days when young girls wanted to live vicariously through Southern Californians?

Beverly Hills 90210

Beverly Hills 90210

Oh! Here they are. The whole world seems to have one thing in common: their obsessed with the lives of fictional Californians. It could be said that Beverly Hills 90210 started the obsession. After all, Southern California is literally in real life a jungle gym for scandal, drama and the ridiculous antics of the rich – so it’s no wonder so many shows have successfully been adapted to portray the madness. The original starred the likes of Luke Perry, Jason Priestly and Shannon Doherty.

90210

90210

But even the modern version of this show has been wildly successful! Five seasons in and the show is still going strong with a cast that includes Jessica Lowndes, Michael Steger, Jessica Stroup, AnnaLynne McCord, Tristan Wilds and Shenae Grimes. It’s arguably slicker and less cheesy than the original that spawned it… although you can’t help but look back on its predecessor with a certain sense of nostalgia (and teen longing).

Party of Five

Party of Five

This one aired on FOX for six seasons and started the career of the lovely Jennifer Love Hewitt – still one of our favourite acting darlings. The teen drama sucked the TV viewership in with its emotional story about five siblings who fend their way through a life after their parents die in a car crash. Nothing makes the masses more sad than an orphan, and this show had five of them. Combine that with adolescent issues, romance and life-threatening diseases and you have a long running drama.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lightd

Deemed a classic by Entertainment Weekly, Friday Night Lights effortlessly weaves quality drama in with the classic American pastime of football. It’s no wonder teens, adults and the whole family gather around the television every week to watch this one together, it’s also the show that launched the career of teen heart-throb Taylor Kitsch!

All 22 episodes of Friday Night Lights: Season 1 arrive on DVD on June 25, which includes the full length feature film.