Fans and critics alike have praised HBO's Euphoria for many things, from its stunning cinematography to its talented cast to its unflinching story to its consistently excellent soundtrack, which is appropriate considering it's such a unique show. (Not much else on TV will give you an Emmy-winning Zendaya performance and a character who writes Harry Styles fanfiction.) The good news is, though, as nitty and gritty as Euphoria is, it's certainly not the only TV series to dive into the rougher side of high school.
After you've watched the special Euphoria episodes (you have seen the special episodes, haven't you?) and while you wait for Euphoria to return for Season 2 -- which still does not have a premiere date, drats -- TV Guide has a list of shows to hold you over. They all capture the most important moments of those cursed high school years, and will either leave you horrified about what teens today are getting up to or remind you, for better or worse, of your own youth.
Netflix's high school series Grand Army is probably the show on the list that's most like Euphoria, jumping feet first into the lives of teenagers at a school in Brooklyn, New York. Grand Army wastes no time letting you know what kind of show it is; the opening scene that takes place in a girls' bathroom is raw. It's one of the few coming-of-age shows that can match Euphoria's tone and subject matter. Sexuality, violence, rape culture, bullying, racism, and more get covered with no filters, and if that wasn't enough, the whole series is set before a backdrop of a terrorist attack on New York City. It's an intense watch and for anyone looking for a teen show that leaves the sugarcoating behind. [Watch on Netflix]
Freaks and Geeks is one of those beloved TV relics with the kind of fan base that only things that were canceled in their prime get. The good news is that it's also very deserving of all the praise it gets, using its lone season to tell the stories of a group of weirdo kids navigating high school in the '80s. In so many ways, it's the quintessential teen show, funny and heartfelt and appropriately awkward, and it's safe to say that we probably wouldn't have Euphoria without it. While Freaks and Geeks doesn't skew as dark, there are shades of Linda Cardellini's Lindsey Weir in Rue as she finds herself leaning into her rebellious inclinations the longer she spends more time with her new friends -- the titular "freaks," played by Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, James Franco, and Jason Segel. It's one of those shows that, even with the many "disco sucks" references, manages to still feel relevant today, a truly rare feat. [Watch on Hulu]
Often imitated (thus the importance of the UK distinction -- I cannot in good faith recommend the American remake), never duplicated, Skins is a must-watch for any Euphoria fan. The 2007 British teen drama was doing the whole "doesn't shy away from tough subject matter" thing years before it became cool to do so, dealing with a whole range of issues that includes mental illness, sexuality, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Because of the show's structure -- each episode typically centers around one character -- you get to know the teens at its center well, from Nicholas Hoult's manipulative popular boy Tony to Dev Patel's goofy Anwar to Kaya Scodelario's mysterious Effy. Much like how we root for Rue and Jules (Hunter Schafer) as they make countless questionable decisions, it's difficult not to love the kids of Skins too. [Watch on Hulu]
HBO loves a teen show. Luca Guadagnino's We Are Who We Are, which is set on an American army base in Italy and centers around two high schoolers trying to carve out their own identities while stuck in such an inherently oppressive environment, definitely came up in Euphoria's image. Both shows feature kids who love abusing substances and yelling at their parents, but We Are Who We Are is its own animal, a quieter, artsier reflection on what it means to be a kid growing up in a version of America that's not really America at all. [Watch on HBO Max]
Élite, the Spanish-language series about three working-class friends who enroll in a luxe private school, is the ideal mix of unhinged camp and actual high-stakes drama. The show centers around the inevitable culture clash between the new kids and their exorbitantly wealthy classmates, but there's also a murder mystery woven through the fabric of the show. Euphoria takes itself, and the issues it explores, incredibly seriously, and while Élite deals with its share of socially relevant topics like homophobia and religion, it leans much more into its chaotic roots. Sometimes the show you're looking for is one that doesn't take itself too seriously. [Watch on Netflix]
Few shows have ever made me feel the full spectrum of human emotion in the way My Mad Fat Diary did. When we meet Rae (Sharon Rooney) at the beginning of the series, she's returning to everyday life after a four-month stay in a psychiatric hospital. She has trouble reconnecting to her friends and grapples so deeply with the reality of her situation that she even lies to her popular best friend (played by a pre-Killing Eve Jodie Comer) about where she was, claiming that she'd instead taken a trip to France. Even after receiving treatment, her mental health proves to be an ongoing obstacle, as does her body image. There's so much of Rue in Rae, and the show similarly has a lot to say about being a young woman just trying to make your way through a weird, scary world. It's something special. [Watch on Hulu]
Genera+ion is the rare teen show of today that leans away from the "gritty" label while still feeling authentic. Like everything else on this list, it's set in a high school, but is less about the plot than it is about the vibes. There are ongoing plot lines, but each episode could stand on its own, as most simply follow the characters getting through the day. Queerness is a major theme, as are the subtle but vast differences between the millennial experience and the Gen Z experience. Its characters have a certain innocence Euphoria's don't, and while watching it, you really get the sense that these characters -- as self-assured as they present -- are still just kids trying to figure things out. [Watch on HBO Max]
If your favorite thing about Euphoria is its colorful cast of characters and all of their giant personalities, Sex Education should be your next watch. Asa Butterfield stars as Otis, an awkward teenager who takes a page out of his sex therapist mother's (played by Gillian Anderson) book by setting up a sex advice clinic at his school despite having little to no experience firsthand (and for much of the first season, literally firsthand). This show could easily slide into "issue of the week" territory, but it manages to avoid that by taking time to flesh out all the members of its ensemble. There are so many characters to love on this show, like Otis' best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), who is openly gay but struggles with his religious family's perception of him, and Maeve (Emma Mackey), the "bad girl" in school who becomes Otis' business partner. Like Euphoria, it breaks away from the traditional trappings of your average high school show while still allowing the teens at its center to come of age. [Watch on Netflix]
James (Alex Lawther) is a troubled kid who has a distinct feeling he's probably a psychopath. He spends his spare time killing animals, but when that's not enough to make him feel something, he decides to graduate to killing humans. Enter Alyssa (Jessica Barden), an angry, brash girl who James decides would be the perfect victim. They don't ever really get there, though, after running away from home to embark on a road trip together and subsequently becoming involved in a number of situations that spiral wildly out of their control. There's a lot happening in this British dramedy series, but the burgeoning, reluctant connection James and Alyssa find in each other grounds the show time and time again. If the best thing about Euphoria is the complex relationship between Rue and Jules, two lonely outsiders who find themselves drawn to each other, The End of the F***ing World gives its own version of that, except with a touch more crime. [Watch on Netflix]