With Labor Day in the rearview, it’s that time again, when nervous students are typically assembling their coolest new outfits, crowding into freshly painted hallways and finding their places in the cafeteria-table hierarchy. But 2020 is no typical year. As COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across the U.S., some kids are starting the school year from home, others have seen their first days delayed and still others have, perhaps ill-advisedly, been ushered back into classrooms that pose unprecedented risks. Is high school even worth the effort if you can’t get within six feet of your classmates?
It’s enough to make any student (or adult regressing back to adolescent behaviors in quarantine, no judgment) long for a dose of teenage normalcy. Thankfully, there’s plenty on offer via our most convenient portal to the Before Time: television. So it seems like a good time to count down the medium’s all-time greatest teen dramas. These are series that transcend their generations and settings, capturing something timeless and universal about the experience of growing up. And they’ve distinguished themselves from so many other big names in the genre—Gossip GIrl, Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars and the massively influential Beverly Hills, 90210 among them—by remaining vital throughout their runs, however long or short, rather than jumping the shark after a few strong seasons. Even better, the vast majority of them are available to stream.
10. Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2014)
Degrassi has been a staple of Canadian childhoods since 1979, having generated four decades’ worth of programming that can seem kind of overwhelming for anyone who didn’t grow up with it. The franchise began as four specials from former Toronto public-school teacher Linda Schuyler that evolved into a show called The Kids of Degrassi Street, which then begat Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. A decade after the latter series wrapped, in 1991, came the best installment of all—Degrassi: The Next Generation. At 14 seasons, it’s also by far the longest. While a few adult characters carry over from the ’80s, viewers who start with TNG shouldn’t find it hard to get into the warmhearted and progressive new story.
Less glossy and frivolous than many of its U.S. contemporaries (see: the 90210 extended universe), Degrassi never fully strayed from the after-school special path, with real teen actors playing teen characters and lightly didactic story lines tackling such issues as abortion, suicide, rape and substance abuse. Dip into early episodes for vintage turn-of-the-millennium internet anxiety and the presence of a young Aubrey Graham—now better known as Drake. Starting in season 10, with the student cast fully refreshed and an updated slate of topics including a Peabody-winning episode focused on a transgender teen, the series feels significantly more modern. Should you require even more Degrassi, the four-season Gen Z reboot Degrassi: Next Class is available on Netflix.
Stream it for free on: Pluto TV or YouTube
9. Skins (2007-2013)
Father-and-son creators Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain let teens write their own drama for youth-focused UK network E4, and the unsurprising result is some of the angstiest, horniest, druggiest stuff ever committed to video. Rotating through three casts in six seasons (the skippable seventh revisits a few fan-favorite characters as adults), the show follows students in the years leading up to their university entrance exams. It can get pretty melodramatic, but you don’t have to be 17 to find the emotional intensity of the story lines exhilarating. No wonder Skins made such an effective showcase for the talents of a young cast that included Dev Patel, Nicholas Hoult, Kaya Scodelario and Game of Thrones standouts Hannah Murray and Joe Dempsie. Sadly, the American version that ran for a single season on MTV wasn’t nearly as strong.
8. On My Block (2018-present)
What does it take to become Netflix’s most-binged original series, as On My Block was in its debut season? The recipe goes something like this: recruit a diverse cast of charismatic young actors, place their characters on the precipice of their freshman year of high school, season with equal parts sweetness and grit, then pour the resulting mixture into a believable facsimile of an East Los Angeles neighborhood. It all cooks up into a dramedy that’s sensitive to the realities of growing up in a place where gangs, drugs and mass incarceration are facts of life, without robbing the brainy clique at the show’s center of their youthful innocence. Sierra Capri holds it all together as the singular Monsé Finnie, a tomboy coming of age in all-male milieu.
Stream it on: Netflix
7. My Mad Fat Diary (2013-2015)
After decades of perfect-looking mean girls and “ugly ducklings” who transformed into knockouts the moment they put a comb through their hair, teen TV got serious about inclusion in the 2010s. Along with diverse casts and characters from across the LGBTQ spectrum, a few shows even made room for female protagonists who weren’t rich, didn’t look like supermodels and sometimes struggled with mental health. E4’s ’90s-set My Mad Fat Diary, adapted from author Rae Earl’s teenage journals, is a gorgeous example. Fresh out of an institution after attempting suicide, Sharon Rooney’s working-class Rae loves Britpop and boys but hates her big body. Bonus: Killing Eve breakout Jodie Comer has a supporting role as Rae’s best friend.
Stream it on: Hulu
6. My So-Called Life (1994-1995)
The quintessential Gen X teen drama—emphasis on drama—was over almost as soon as it began. But in just 19 episodes, creator Winnie Holzman (thirtysomething) captured the particular experience of growing up in the early ’90s, when youth culture was leaning into fashionable messiness, resulting in an explosion of oversized flannel, alternative rock, third-wave feminism and experimentation with drugs and boxed hair dye. In easily parodied but genuinely moving voice-over monologues, pensive, moody, romantic Angela Chase (Claire Danes, in the first of so many great cry-face performances) gave voice to a new type of teen—one who ran around with soft boys and bad girls, mooned over long-haired burnouts and brooded in bed blasting the Cranberries but still loved her annoying family. Groundbreaking in its sympathetic depiction of a queer teen (Wilson Cruz’s Rickie), My So-Called Life is also notable, in retrospect, as one of the last artifacts of pre-Internet adolescence.
Stream it for free on: IMDb TV and ABC. com
5. David Makes Man (2019-present)
Peak TV never stops churning out teen shows, and with good reason. It’s only by winning over young viewers, after all, that new platforms can expect to sustain themselves for decades to come. A lot of these shows are (or were) fantastic: Dare Me, Never Have I Ever, Sex Education, In My Skin, The Society, The End of F***ing World, Betty, PEN15, the recent Party of Five reboot. OWN’s Peabody-winning David Makes Man, a lyrical drama from Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) about a gifted 14-year-old Black boy (newcomer Akili McDowell, transcendent) who lives with his single mom and little brother in the South Florida projects, is the very best of this impressive bunch. With his future riding on his academic performance, his family struggling to make ends meet and local gang members determined to recruit him, David is under an immense amount of pressure. Yet McCraney also makes space in this beautifully shot story to revel in the joy, fantasy, friendship and fun endemic to youth. Instead of insisting that David must escape his neighborhood to thrive, he honors the community striving and sacrificing around him.
Stream it on: HBO Max
4. Veronica Mars (2004-2007, 2019)
So ahead of its time that last year’s Hulu revival felt like a no-brainer, neo-noir dramedy Veronica Mars chronicles the adventures of a precocious California teen (the irresistible Kristen Bell) who banters with her disgraced, former-sheriff dad (Enrico Colantoni); searches for the mother who more or less abandoned her; solves crimes at her economically polarized high school; and struggles to heal from her own rape and the murder of her best friend. It’s a heavy backstory. But Bell, in her first starring role, keeps Veronica charming and quippy while still honoring the trauma that has defined her life.
Stream it on: Hulu
3. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
Creator Paul Feig and executive producer Judd Apatow greeted the turn of the millennium with this one-season wonder set at the dawn of the ’80s, which was simply too good for network primetime. Into a teen-TV landscape populated by jocks, mean girls and coastal rich kids came the middle-class, suburban-Detroit Weir family: angsty sophomore Lindsay (Linda Cardellini), her nerdy freshman brother Sam (John Francis Daley) and their embarrassingly square parents (Becky Ann Baker and Joe Flaherty). Equal parts rude comedy and poignant drama, the show displayed little curiosity about the top of the McKinley High social heap. And while Sam and his naive, geeky friends provided the kind of goofy laughs Apatow and Feig would bring to the big screen a few years later, Lindsay was the show’s true masterpiece—a smart, sardonic teenage girl with a wild side and zero interest in being crowned prom queen. Despite its short run, Freaks and Geeks had an indelible influence on the more diverse, idiosyncratic teen programming of the 21st century. It also featured one of the strongest young casts ever assembled, surrounding the wonderful Cardellini with Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Philipps, Martin Starr and Jason Segel—many of whom would go on star in Apatow’s blockbuster movies.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
High school can seem like a carefree time from the distance of a few decades. But when you’re living it, with hormones coursing through your veins and every fiber of your youthful being yearning to break free from parental control, every day is a battle with monsters hidden in plain sight. Hence the central metaphor of this instant-classic supernatural teen drama, which made creator Joss Whedon a household name. Adapted from the fun, pulpy 1992 movie Whedon scripted about a cheerleader who learns she’s her generation’s Chosen One—the one human in the world endowed with the power to slay vampires—Buffy cast the charming Sarah Michelle Gellar in a more serious but still witty take on the character. With her mentor Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and gang of misfit friends, including Alyson Hannigan in the pioneering role of lovable lesbian witch Willow, by her side, Buffy spent seven seasons falling for the wrong men, making vampires go poof and learning something new about how to be a person with every kill.
Stream it on: Hulu
1. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
High school football has an outsize presence in small-town Texas: it’s a source of entertainment, local identity, community pride—and, for the boys who spend hours every day honing their skills, a potential ticket out of such often-claustrophobic environs. With high stakes come unique tensions, and they’re navigated with stoic elegance in this wrenching TV adaptation of the 2004 feature film by the principled Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his bright, empathetic wife, Tami (Connie Britton). Although the Taylors are its core, its conscience and perhaps the all-time best televised representation of a functional marriage, the show gets its urgency from the teenage characters. Players like Jason Street (Scott Porter), a star quarterback struggling to cope with a life-altering injury, and Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), whose Texas good-ol’-boy veneer conceals aimlessness and confusion, are more haunting than hunky. And it was their emotional performances in Friday Night Lights that paved the way to adult careers for such singular young actors as Michael B. Jordan, Jesse Plemons and Jurnee Smollett. You don’t have to enjoy football to fall in love with what is, in my humble opinion, easily one of the best TV shows ever made. All you need is clear eyes, a full heart and a couple dozen boxes of Kleenex.
Stream it on: Hulu or NBC.com
Disney Plus Mulan Fails to Make an Impact
Disney Plus’s most anticipated movie of the year was Live-Action Mulan, the infamous remake of the 1998 version of the Disney classic Mulan. With a budget of almost $200 million and alot of hard work involved, the film release’s expectations and excitement were at an all-time high. Disney’s marketing team left no stone unturned in promoting the film throughout the world as Mulan was one of the most influential female protagonists in a Disney movie.
Mulan was known for her power and courage to take a step towards change and create a name for herself instead of becoming a burden for her family. She brought them honor but not through finding a compatible suitor, but through her bravery in fighting amongst the opposite gender when it was considered a taboo.
But did the real Mulan walk in the footsteps of the animated one? Did it create an impact as strong as the classic version, which people love and adore even after 23 years? Sadly, no. The live-Action Mulan was nothing like the 1998 Mulan because it was not supposed to be that way.
The old Chinese folklore inspired the Live-Action Mulan. The Balad of Mulan, which was different, more serious, and portrayed a much more feminist approach by eliminating any romantic or cartoonish elements or characters from the remake.
The elimination of the character of Mushu came as a surprise for all the die-hard Mulan fans who were anticipating the voice-over of Eddie Murphy in a better-animated dragon who is by Mulan’s side, aiding in tough times. We did see a dragon, but it was a silent companion only coming in need. The remake also got rid of all the eventful songs which were hummed as we watched the animated version all the time.
Another setback was the mediocre release of Mulan during the Pandemic, which basically ruined the official March release. Mulan eventually made the screen on September 4 on Disney+ Premier Access, a pay-to-view for $30 across the US. In contrast, countries where Covid-19 was under control, saw a theater release like China. But that hardly made 50% of the total movie budget. Disney hoped to make some dollars in China by accurately depicting the Chinese culture and actors, but that didn’t happen either.
Viewers with access to Disney+ also did not venture enough on the Premier Access service. What further disappointed the release was Mulan’s availability on multiple torrents and platforms for free in HD quality on its release. VPN users worldwide watched the movie for free without paying a whopping amount of $30 for a single film, while the whole service along with other streaming services cost ⅓ of the price.
Live-Action Mulan was also under scrutiny for shooting in the Xinjiang, the region of China where Uighur Muslims were detained and imprisoned in concentration camps. This sparked outrage over the entire social media, where Muslims worldwide protested against the Chinese government’s actions. Disney+ did not state an official apology on their platform, nor did they acknowledge their wrongdoings, probably to stay clear of the Chinese government’s atrocity.
Meanwhile, even within China, Mulan failed to impact the Chinese audience as they have a much better take and approach to recreating any Chinese epic or myths. Their cinema is far more advanced in portraying their culture with local actors and a local production house. As we all know, China has a strict censorship policy on international content, and they have an alternate of their own. It applies here as well.
Lastly, the ill-natured tweet of the lead actress Liu Yifei, openly supporting the Hong Kong Police’s atrocities when China was implementing new security policies on Hong Kong, claiming it as a part of the Chinese government. The Hong Kong police came under fire for mistreating peaceful protestors and using harsh means to disperse the crowd. This tweet leads to #boycottmulan across the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Liu Yifei made no outright apology.
Despite so much anticipation, live-action Mulan came under alot of controversy and failed to make a solid impression on the audience, despite holding a strong message for its feminist audience. Wrong timing and a few wrong decisions cost Disney millions of dollars and somewhat tarnished the reputation of their remake sagas.
5 Underrated Shows on Netflix USA You Must Watch Right Now!
American Netflix is home to hundreds of TV shows across multiple genres. Still, it could be hard at times to find something binge-worthy on it. Now we all have that one friend that’s perfectly content with re-watching their favorite TV series, but the rest of us normies find it a tad boring. We’re on a never-ending hunt for the next big show hoping to inject some excitement into our otherwise mundane existence. However, with so much to choose from, it’s only natural that a few gems go unnoticed when scrolling through the recommendations.
Don’t sweat it! After spending endless hours of research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 underrated shows on Netflix USA that are definitely worth your time.
Can’t access US Netflix in your home country? There is an easy way around. Just download a Netflix VPN, connect to a US server, and start streaming.
Season(s): 1 season; 5 episodes
Year of release: 2019
1994 is a modest 5-episode docu-series offering the perfect guilt-free, binge-watching experience. The show revolves around a promising presidential candidate in Mexico who stands to threaten the status quo. Seen as a threat by the powerful elite, he gets shot during one of his televised political rallies. If the events of the first episode seem unusual, then what follows is downright bizarre.
Viewers are in store for surreal events backed by actual interviews and real-life footage that ups the ante with each passing episode. 1994 is a fascinating, informative, and rich account of one of the most turbulent times in Mexico. It not only gives viewers a glimpse of the past but also a story that follows a narrative very close to what we’re seeing in our present political climate.
- Rise of Empires: Ottoman
Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes
Year of release: 2020
Following the wildly popular show Ertugrul—at least in the eastern part of the world—Rise of Empires: Ottoman features a historic mix of immaculate production value and dramatic re-enactment of the 1453 fall of Constantinople. A Turkish production, the show is entirely in English and revolves around the life of a young Ottoman Sultan named Mehmet. It shows how the 21-year old leader risks everything to conquer a city his father and so many others failed to take before him.
This point marked a crucial juncture in history: The fall of the Roman Empire and the transition of a local regional entity to that of a global superpower. While the show does have its set of drawbacks (such as the frequent History Channel-type flashbacks), the appeal of our protagonist is sure to have viewers in for a memorable ride.
- Wild Wild Country
Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes
Year of release: 2018
The mere mention of Wild Wild Country in front of veteran Netflix viewers is sure to garner you some respect points. Based on a true story, Wild Wild Country tells the tale of an Indian cult that’s decided to relocate to Oregon. What ensues is a series of unusual events as the locals struggle to come to terms with the new inhabits and in particular, the eccentric leader of this cult: Bhagwan. This mini-series manages to capture and re-tell a significant—albeit unusual—event in American history and media and retell it in a way that’s sure to leave some viewers scratching their heads!
- Lenox Hill
Season(s): 1 season; 9 episodes
Year of release: 2020
For those looking to embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, look no further than Lenox Hill. While we do recommend this docu-series especially if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or ER, Lenox Hill is not your average watch. It’s a far cry from what you’d call a feel-good series as it reveals the brutal reality associated with people diagnosed with really bad things.
Set in New York, the show follows the story of an ER physician, an OB-GYN, and two brain surgeons that are part of a small-time hospital competing with bigger establishments. It lifts the curtain from the otherwise romanticized emergency-ward that we’ve grown accustomed to and accurately depicts the struggles of both patients and doctors.
This highly emotional series might not sit well with everyone but if you want to watch a story about individuals that sacrifice everything to save others then this one’s for you.
Season(s): 2 seasons; 12 episodes
Year of release: 2016
The Office is the most viewed show on Netflix according to Chicago Tribune which is a pity because its contract is set to expire on January 1, 2021. Enter Borderline, a British comedy series and ‘mockumentary’ of sorts that follows a similar pattern and humor as The Office. Set in the fictional Northend Airport instead of an office, viewers are quickly introduced to a slew of funny and ridiculous personalities.
The best part of the series is that it has its own version of Pam, Dwight, Jim, and a Michael type-boss. It also doesn’t try too hard to resemble its more popular counterpart and a few episodes are enough to make you wonder why more people aren’t watching it!
Agree with our list? Know of some underrated shows that need more love? Let us know in the comments section below!
The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses
When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.
What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?
As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.
- It saves your money
Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.
- It allows you to try several games
Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.
- It will make future gambling more profitable
Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.
Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.
We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.