We’ve all heard about global hits like ’13 Reasons Why’, ‘Elite’ and ‘Sex Education’, but there’s far more out there in terms of teen dramas and comedies. From the Québec series ‘Can You Hear Me?’, also available on Netflix, to the philosophical diatribes of ‘Merlí’, which started out on TV3 and was later developed by Movistar+, we have compiled a list of less-known shows to help you discover generation Z.
The explosion of content on streaming platforms and their firm commitment to niche audiences has enabled the teen drama to occupy a leading position once again among TV productions. Once again, Netflix led the offensive seeking out those digital natives who, failing to see themselves reflected on mainstream TV, had fled to YouTube, kids who have thrown themselves avidly into their arms in recent years. ‘13 Reasons Why’, ‘Elite’ or ‘Sex Education’ are just some of the global successes from the platform. But in an effort to broaden the focus, we’ve selected a few other proposals that may have passed slightly below radar.
Without leaving Netflix, French-Canadian series ‘Can you hear Me?’, is one of the most groundbreaking recent additions to the platform. As the synopsis goes, this series tells how three friends from a Quebec ghetto deal with toxic relationships and truly dysfunctional families. Winner of the best comedy award at the 2019 Series Mania Festival, this series addresses addiction, anger issues, abuse, and sex with humor and, above all, empathy and understanding.
Returning to HBO, if everyone last summer was fascinated with and talking about ‘Euphoria’, a story about generation Z’s anxiety, lack of hope and perspectives, the influence of social media and pornography in the construction of identity or the abuse of drugs to treat mental health issues, this year is the turn of ‘Betty‘. More mainstream than its predecessor, this series follows the story of several girls trying to carve a niche for themselves in the generally male-dominated world of skateboarding in New York. Another tribute to female friendship as a support and response to the insecurity which characterizes adolescence.
From Spain, Movistar+ has spearheaded efforts to win back young audiences with series that speak to them, starting with ‘Skam’. This Norwegian TV series debuted in 2015, becoming a huge hit and has since been adapted for Germany, France, Italy, the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium. Focusing on the homeland version, naturalism is the standard of this series whose format already breaks with traditional drama by being broadcast over the internet, specifically on the show’s microsite, where they publish short videos, Instagram posts or WhatsApp conversations in real time. .. to later condense the content into 30-minute episodes available on demand on Movistar+. The protagonists are also girls, five in this case, who have starred in every season until the fourth and final installment, filming of which has just recently been wrapped up. The issues dealt with include, obviously, social media, but also cyberbullying, dependent relationships, toxic relationships, friendship and Islamophobia.
The same platform has breathed new life into ‘Merlí’ with ‘Sapere Aude’, a sequel to the TV3 series, aired briefly on laSexta and then transformed into another hit on Netflix. In short, if in the original series the philosophy professor of the title managed to inspire his secondary school students to the point of baptizing them the Aristotelians, the Movistar+ series jumps to university following the fate of his most adept student. Both version address issues around identity, including the passage from adolescence to maturity, intergenerational differences, sexual awakening, emotional relationships between partners, mental illness, drug and alcohol use and transsexuality. Highlight: casting María Pujalte as the ethics professor who will challenge the new batch of students to think.
Finally, a future farewell. Netflix renewed for a fourth and final season ‘Atypical’, a comedy centered on the life of an-18-year-old boy with an autism spectrum disorder. This emotional portrait of life in high school speaks of love, rejection, social acceptance, self-discovery, maturity and independence from the perspective of a young person who’s a far cry from the norm to demonstrate that perhaps the concept is overrated at best, a misleading construction at worst. That perhaps it’s a better idea to try walking in the shoes of the other person and trying to understand them instead of judging them solely on their appearance.