Series about teenagers, school, and growing up is a popular genre, which is now experiencing a real renaissance thanks to the development of streaming services. WowCheckItOut has compiled the top ten of them over the past two years, from “Euphoria” and “Sex Education” to “Girls from Derry.”

End of ***cking world

Netflix, 2017−2019

The family-old romantic psychopath James (Alex Lowther) explores the boundaries of his own sensitivity – hurting himself and killing small animals. He despises his narrow-minded peers and has long dreamed of finishing off someone larger, so when the young Alyssa (Jessica Barden) makes acquaintance with him in the school cafeteria, James is not without a second thought goes to contact. Alyssa has two goals: losing her virginity and finding her own father instead of a shameful stepfather, so she knocks James to steal the car and run away from home. And two restless outsiders embark on a journey, breaking into other people’s houses on the way and robbing shops, as in a gas station road movie.

But the further they move along the road to the edge of the night, the more noticeable it becomes as James’s self-proclaimed psychopathy and Alyssa’s imaginary unbridledness fade against the background of real madness and vices in which this **** world has long plunged. Instead of a touching story of growing up, he can generate only a black comedy, where infantiles are not children who have fought off the hands at all but never matured “adults.” This story is not new, but the British have not filmed such series, perhaps, since the days of the already classic “Skins” (Skins) and “Scum” (Misfits) – and in fact, since then a new restless generation has grown.


This series is the dark twin of The End of the **** World, its crazy punk version. It may seem surprising, but a girl named Del and sociopath Wayne are doing much worse than even the antisocial James and Alyssa. To begin with, after the death of Daddy Wayne from cancer, the boy will burn down the house along with his lifeless body so as not to bother with the funeral. And he will start a play to regain his father’s vintage “Pontiac” of 1978 release, which was once taken away by his mother along with a crooked lover.

Although it may not be in the car – just Wayne does not know how her mother could so easily take and leave them with her father. And in pursuit of Wayne and Del will go her evil as hell and impassably stupid daddy with two moron brothers – he has a reason to be angry because when he tried to peel off Del, Wayne bit off his nose. We’ve never seen any like this before. Modern Bonnie and Clyde are a gentle scumbag who goes out to fight for himself and his love every time as in the last, and a timid tear that wears like a trucker and is ready to send her boyfriend to all hell, but then take up a chainsaw for him. They beat us, and we get stronger. Again, the same thought is on the agenda: if adults are people who do not know how to love, do not keep their word, and are not capable of anything at all except to hurt others, then those who will inherit the earth after them are unlikely to be meek.


HBO, 2019

A girl named Roux was born three days after the catastrophe of September 11 and seemed to have absorbed all the neuroses of the world that flew off the coils. In high school, she became addicted to antidepressants to keep herself in check but eventually switched to drugs and, at the age of 17, thundered into rehab after an overdose. We meet her immediately after discharge, intending to take up the old immediately, and she meets a new friend – a transgender girl Jules, who does not look like Rue’s classmates. Jules professes a completely different degree of freedom – not from parental supervision, when you can publicly have sex in the pool and use drugs in bulk, but from the ideas imposed by the adolescent environment about their own and someone else’s steepness. However, this girl has her weaknesses and her skeletons in the closet.

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The plot of the series revolves around how the kids (in larry Clark’s terminology) sleep with each other, post videos on the network, and solve adult problems that they created for themselves, reaching physical adulthood earlier than social. The series was directed by Sam Levinson, the son of Hollywood classic Barry Levinson (“Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Rain Man,” “Tail Wagging dog”). It has many innovative things for today’s TV – and it’s not just sex, drugs, and nudity. The series turned out to be a landmark for our time because it violates the old rules – remember how ten years ago, the star of “Disney” Vanessa Hudgens had to make excuses for leaked pictures in the nude on the Internet. And now the new star of “Disney” Zendaya, plays the main role in the series, half of which is based on such stories. But no matter how detached the rampant schoolchildren behave, their main difference from the same “children” of Larry Clark is the idea of other people’s personal boundaries. However, this does not mean that they do not violate them.

The Politician

Ryan Murphy, the author of one of the most popular shows about teenagers of the previous decade, the musical “Glee,” this year signed a five-year contract with the Netflix platform, which means that “The Politician” will become a long-running show (as if lifelong!) about how an ambitious young man went to success. Several seasons are planned, which means that if we are lucky, we will see how the protagonist of the series, a tenacious and power-obsessed representative of the golden youth (although he is an adopted son in a wealthy family) from the city of Santa Barbara Peyton Hobart, will become president of the United States. Critics dubbed “Politics” “a teenage version of “House of Cards,” but in the first season, Peyton is still only polishing her Machiavellian habits with the help of an elegant adoptive mother – she is played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who managed to get in the show in a family way: a year ago she married Murphy’s co-author, Brad Falchuk.

Peyton desperately needs to go after school, not somewhere, namely to Harvard – the forge of future presidents. But to do it like everyone else, just asking his parents to make a large donation to the university, he can not – he also calculated all his life in advance and knows that this corruption plot will certainly pop up in his past when he already sits in the Oval Office. So he has only one way out: to wipe out other applicants on the waiting list, he must become the school’s president. Of course, playing on the most primitive, unstinting feelings of their current “voters” – for this, you need to take an unfortunate girl with cancer as vice president. By the way, the grandmother of this girl is played by the brilliant and predatory Jessica Lang, whose career was reborn in Murphy’s television projects. If anyone else has questions about what technologies politicians come to power with, the series, where teenagers are little adults who have already understood everything about this life and the opportunity to succeed in it, is one of the best stories on this topic.

Looking for Alaska

As in the eponymous bestseller by John Green, the action in the series takes place in 2005, and a girl named Alaska Young and her friends do not yet have smartphones or social networks. They live in a boarding school camp, read paper books, and feud with a company of children from wealthy families, whom their parents take away for the weekend. To the founder of the company Chip, nicknamed Colonel at the beginning of the semester, settle a newcomer – a tentacle dreamer named Maisle (he is immediately given the nickname Fat Man – “because we have such an irony, dude!”).

This trembling virgin, who before entering Culver Creek school was interested only in the last words of great people before his death, will be taught everything here: smoking, going on dates, and in no case informing the elders, even if you were dragged out of bed at night and thrown into the lake in only shorts. For the brazen schoolboy, whose leisure, according to Alaska, “buffalo and outrage,” looks after a keen pre-prod named Eagle. Catching another couple drinking and sex, he kicks them out of school, and suspicion of knocking falls on Alaska. Now the life of clever people from chip’s company, who felt moral superiority over the “dumb majors,” will never be the same. And obsessed with biographies of celebrities, Fat man will begin with frantic intensity to live his own biography, with first love, betrayal, and not at all book, but real death, which is impossible to reconcile.

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How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)

HOW TO SELL DRUGS ONLINE: FAST, from left: Bjarne Madel, Danilo Kamperidis, Maximilian Mundt, (Season 1, ep. 103, aired May 31, 2019). photo: ©Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

This series is about two enterprising teenagers who started selling pills using the darknet network – there they found all the instructions on how to conduct “business by mail” – Netflix ordered in Germany. It is based on a real story. In 2015, German police found in the apartment of a 20-year-old resident of Leipzig, who lived with his mother, more than three hundred kilograms of various narcotic substances. And before he was caught red-handed, he managed to sell twice as much. Thorough Germans made this story a sitcom in half with the drama of growing up.

Timid geek and learner Moritz, keen on programming, was not going to become a drug lord at all – to embark on all serious he was pushed exclusively by romantic considerations. His girlfriend Lisa returned from America, but their relationship was on pause and got carried away by parties, especially the sassy rocker who got her ecstasy pills. Moritz just wanted to show her that he wasn’t a either. And then save money to escape from the German backwater to the “big world.” Together with his best friend, he converted his online store selling paraphernalia into an underground shop for the sale of Duri, found a nasty dealer named Buba – and everything turned around. This story is shot famously and inventively: the action jumps from Facebook profiles to chats in smartphones, at the tensest moments emerging to the surface and going offline, so that six short episodes fly in one breath.

Sex Education

SEX EDUCATION, from left: Emma Mackey, Kedar Williams Stirling, (Season 1, ep. 101, airs Jan. 11, 2019). photo: Jon Hall / ©Netflix / Courtesy: Everett Collection

A fictional and seemingly absolutely fantastic story about the life of teenagers – about how the virgin Otis began to give paid consultations in the field of sex lumen at the Mordale school – is actually built on very accurate metaphors and assumptions. Othis and his friend Eric, who can’t find a partner because he’s not popular at school, it seems that are the only asstics in the whole of Mordale against the background of universal sexual emancipation. Here is a metaphor for teenage self-doubt, when the whole world around you seems so cool and so alien, and you feel like a renegade and an outlay for any reason.

This world brings into equilibrium only enterprising girl Mave, who lives in a trailer and needs money. Having learned that Otis is strong in theory (his mother is a famous sex guru and author of books on sexology, and she is played on the verge of grotesque by Gillian Anderson), she decides to monetize his talents, and the company succeeds. And the thing is that it’s not about sex, but, excuse me, about love and relationships: Otis’ sexually liberated peers are actually still frightened children who are afraid of being rejected and do not know how to build relationships. And the adults, to be honest, not far from the left.

Derry Girls

The writer of the series Lisa McGee herself comes from Derry, a city in Northern Ireland. In the 1970s, an armed confrontation between Irish Catholics and the British and Bloody Sunday happened. The story of four funny girls from the Catholic school of the Blessed Virgin begins in 1994 when the conflict is already barely smoldering, but people in camouflage still patrol the streets. Even a school bus can be searched — is there a bomb — so hiding vodka for a party in an unidentified bag is fraught: they can “clear” shots.

In the company of blonde Erin, her cousin Eagle, conscientious puff Claire (she is on a diet in the name of starving children of Africa) and interested exclusively in the guys of Dylda Michelle, there is a replenishment. 16 years ago, Aunt Michelle fled to England to have an abortion and returned years later with her son – mumble James. In a regular school, he will be beaten only because he is English, so he will have to study with girls under the supervision of a harsh nun sister Michael, who owns kung fu. Find a fugitive IRA soldier in the trunk, run away from home in Belfast for a Take That concert, take on the exchange of teenagers from Chernobyl – all these stories from the “difficult Irish childhood” wonderful screenwriter McGee tells with black humor – as they say, “without snot.” This is now almost not found in British sitcoms, which have lost their former enthusiasm and cynicism since the blatantly politically incorrect “Little Britain.”

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13 Reasons Why

13 REASONS WHY, (aka THIRTEEN REASONS WHY), from left: RJ Brown, Christian Navarro, ‘The Missing Page,’ (Season 2, ep. 209, aired May 18, 2018). photo: Beth Dubber / ©Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

A terribly socially responsible series, which doesn’t make it boring at all. In the center of the plot is an almost detective intrigue around the past of high school student Hannah Baker. The girl committed suicide – but what was the reason? Unhappy love, school bullying, abuse, misunderstanding on the part of adults and peers? The answers exist and include a whole range of reasons – to learn about them. You need to listen to 13 tapes that Hannah recorded and sent to everyone involved before leaving for another world. The rules of the “game” are as follows: listen – pass on to the next, and so on, until Hannah’s message bypasses everyone on the list. If the rules are broken, one of Hannah’s friends will post the recordings to the public and send a copy to the police. It turns out a kind of story, “10 Negroes in high school”, even though the victim herself is far from a positive and not at all a perfect character.

Hannah’s ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend, and others are terrified and trying to do everything to prevent this story from unwinding. But most of all, Hannah’s recordings amaze the quiet nerd Clay, who seems to have done nothing wrong to the girl, but suffers from a guilt complex and tries to understand what happened. And with him at the same time, and we are trying to understand: what happened? Like the usual relationships in the family and school and innocent teenage practices – all these joint trips to cafes, part-time jobs after school or football, which divides guys into athletes and ass, and girls into cheerleaders and learners – how all this gradually turns into hell, gathered around one person. Or, as it has come to be called, the “toxic environment.” And if something could be corrected in this story, then where is the point of no return, after which it became impossible?


In the quiet town of Riverdale, which vaguely resembles Twin Peaks, mysteriously dies during a boat trip a popular school handsome, the football team captain. Soon his classmates have suspicions that it was a murder. Meanwhile, a new school year begins, and with it, new problems for schoolchildren. Modest Archie Andrews (a character in the same name, which has been published in America since 1942) must choose between music and sports – however, it soon turns out that Archie is not quite a real heartthrob. Meanwhile, a mysterious brunette Veronica Lodge arrives in Riverdale (the fatal who does not allow others to descend). In her family’s past lurks crime, and the opportunity to establish herself in a new place is her chance to build a life from scratch.

The plot also involves Archie’s best friend, a guy with a keen sense of justice Jughead, and a timid and intelligent blonde Betty (type “intimate friend”). There is no social agenda, but there is fabulousness, mystery (and in the third season and mysticism), and shimmering uncertainty of life, which teenagers experience every day, making even the most simple choices. The detective plot with the murder pales before fateful problems: whether they will accept a new one into the company, whether they will take a timid quiet in cheerleaders, who is friends against whom, what the heart will calm down on and how the matter will end – being drawn into this risk-full of teenage existence, it is difficult not to get carried away by its naive charm.


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