The 20 Greatest High School Shows Of All Time: 10-1

by Sara on January 11, 2009

in Features

10. The Degrassi Series

When it ran: 1983 – Present

Starring: Various Canadian Actors….none of which you would probably know! Kevin Smith and Alanis Morissette did both make appearances!

The Plot: We began at Degrassi Junior High, where we followed a group of real-life teens through their everyday teenage problems. After the Junior High was burn down, following a dance, we moved onto High School. Degrassi tackled serious issues, such as a teenager’s decision to pursue an abortion, divorce, homosexuality and AIDS. Several Canadian-episodes were censored in the US, these episodes followed the character Erica to an abortion clinic. Degrassi: The Next Generation still airs with new episodes and truly has spanned to a new generation of viewers. It airs in the US on The N Network. The Series recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

Click here for more pictures of The Degrassi Series

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When it ran: 1997 – 2003

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan and David Borneauz

The Plot: The series follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as she is the current, in a long line of young female vampire slayers. Slayers are chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons and other forces of darkness. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the “Scooby Gang”. Buffy also generated a spin-off “Angel” starring David Boreanaz.

Click here for more pictures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

8. Dawson’s Creek

When it ran: 1998 – 2003

Starring: James Van Deer Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams

The Plot: We follow the stories of Dawson Leery, Joey Potter, Pacey Witter and Jen Lindley as they discover themselves and grow-up with each other. Tormented by her relationship with Dawson, Joey’s constant them was always Dawson or Pacey? The Creek was great until they graduated from high school…then like most high school-based shows it did stall a little. These 4 actors have all gone on to have strong careers…apparently they didn’t want for their lives to be over….Now you can’t stop singing it!

Click here for more pictures of Dawson’s Creek!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

7. That 70′s Show

When it ran: 1998 – 2006

Starring: Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama and Danny Masterson

The Plot: : A group of friends muddle through life growing-up during the 70s. Oh and they live in Wisconsin! That 70s show with a GREAT ensemble cast made us laugh at loud every week! From their fabulous bell bottoms to their infamous show-ending “circle” That 70s show launched its cast into the limelight. Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama and Danny Masterson all became fixtures in today’s PopCulture because of the success of That 70s Show!!

Click here for more pictures of That 70′s Show!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

6. Saved by the Bell

When it ran: 1989 – 1993

Starring: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dusin Diamond, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Lark Voorhies, Elizabeth Berkley, Dennis Haskins

The Plot: Trouble maker Zack Morris made every day comedic at the fictional Bayside High. Set in California, Morris was aided by his buds Screech, Kelly, Jessie, Lisa, and “frenemy” AC Slater in stirring up trouble for Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) in Bayside’s hallowed halls. Saved by the Bell went on to college (Saved by the Bell: College Years) and back to Bayside (Saved by the Bell: The New Class), but fans and ratings proved that nothing would ever top the original! We wouldn’t be doing Saved by the Bell justice if we failed to mention the theme song. How many of you know all the words? One of the BEST TV theme songs!

Click here for more pictures of Saved By the Bell!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

5. Beverly Hills, 90210 (The Original)

When it ran: 1990 – 2000

Starring: Jason Priestly, Shannon Doherty, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Ian Zering, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle Carteris

The Plot: If you were in high school in the early 90′s you wanted your zip code to be 90210! When the series first started we meet Brandon and Brenda Walsh who have relocated from Minnesota to the Sunny-life of Beverly Hills! The series followed The Walsh kids and their close group of friends’ experience all that high school has to offer! You could always count on your 90210 hour to be filled with lots of drama! 90210 did tackle some serious issues along the way and always kept teen themes in the forefront of each episode. In the later years the show become a revolving door for the actors and they did replace some characters but NOTHING will ever take the place of the original, Brandon, Brenda, Donna, Kelly, Steve, Andrea, Dylan and David!

Click here for more pictures of Beverly Hills, 90210!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

4. My So-Called Life

When it ran: 1994 – 1995

Starring: Claire Danes, A.J. Langer, Wilson Cruz and Devon Gummersall

The Plot: A cult-classic that for some reason was canned after only ONE season, My So-Called Life was a GREAT teen drama. Dealing with common issues of the mid-nineties like AIDS and Gay-rights, “Life” also dealt with sex, alcohol and parental relationships. The show portrayed the teen years as difficult, fun and sometimes filled with irrelevant experiences! Great show….not really sure why it was canceled after one season?!

Click here for more pictures of My So-Called Life!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

3. The Wonder Years

When it ran: 1998 – 1993

Starring: Fred Savage, Jason Hervey, Danica McKellar, Dan Lauria, Alley Mills, Josh Saviano

The Plot: Ahhhh…Winnie Cooper? Do we need to say anything else? Set in the late 1960s, The Wonder Years, tackled the social and political issues of its time, all through the eyes of Kevin Arnold. He also deals with the typical family drama of any American teenager! We are granted the wisdom of being older and wiser as the series was narrated by the “Adult” Kevin (Voice provided by Daniel Stern). The Wonder Years was won 22 awards, was nominated for an additional 54 and created the comedy-drama that we know today! Again…like many other shows on the list a GREAT theme song!

Click here for more pictures of The Wonder Years!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

2. Freaks and Geeks

When it ran: 1999 – 2000

Starring: Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Seth Rogan, James Franco

The Plot: Long before Pineapple Express, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel were stirring up laughs. Freaks and Geeks, offered a new twist on the regular adolescent woes, sex, drugs, alcohol, and acceptance. Focusing on two main groups of students, the “freaks” led by Linda Cardenllini and the geeks, led by John Francis Daley, the show was a big hit among fans and critics. After it was cancelled after only 12 episodes, although 18 were filmed, a huge cult following formed!

Click here for more pictures of Freaks And Geeks!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme songs stuck in your head!

1. Friday Night Lights

When it ran: 2006 – Present

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Zach Gifford, Mika Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Gaius Charles, Scott Porter, Adrianne Palicki, Jesse Plemons, Aimee Teegarden

The Plot: Do you love football? Then you SHOULD be watching and loving Friday Night Lights. Based loosely on the Book Friday Night Lights, this fantastic ensemble cast brings to life the town of Dillon, Texas. A small West-Texas town obsessed with one thing and one thing only: Dillon Panther Football. Lead by Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) we have seen the Dylan Panthers be devastated with the loss of their star-quarterback, Jason Street, pick up the pieces with Matt Saracen, run the ball with the phenom Brian “Smash” Williams and drink and party with Tim Riggins!! While these characters are fantastic don’t forget the ladies of Dillon, Tami Taylor hot wife of Coach Taylor, the vixen Tyra Collette, the cheerleader Lyla Garrity and the All-American girl, Julie Taylor. In our opinion here at Sugarslam, there is no better High School show! Remember, Clear Eyes, Full Hearts Can’t Lose!

Click here to see more pictures of Friday Night Lights!

Click here to view the opening credits and get the theme song stuck in your head!

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

LJ January 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Here are a few you missed:
American Bandstand: 1952 – 1989
The Many Loves Of Doby Gillis: 1959 – 1963
The Patty Duke Show: 1963 – 1966
Smallville: 2001 – Present
Route 66: 1960 – 1964
Romm 222: 1969 – 1974
My Three Sons: 1960 – 1972
The Partridge Family: 1970 – 1974
The Waltons: 1972 – 1981

Krissy January 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

You also missed One Tree Hill

Crusty January 17, 2009 at 10:33 am

D’oh! You missed Square Pegs, lame-o!

Tina January 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm

No one ever remembers Boy Meets World!

Kai January 30, 2009 at 6:02 am

NO WAY you missed “POPULAR”!!!…That show was crazy!

xavgum January 31, 2009 at 1:09 am

one tree hill should be the in the no.1 spot
why there’s no one tree hill?

angela February 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Boy Meets World not in the top 10? Puh!
Some of the shows listed above BMW deserve no way to be that high..

Irja February 8, 2009 at 5:19 am


AMy February 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

you missed ONE TREE HILL!

steph February 18, 2009 at 5:15 am

you’ve missed ONE TREE HILL!!! i thought that only i thought of it!!!! gossip girl too!!!

OneTreeHill March 1, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Um…Where are One Tree Hill and Smallville?

aly March 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm

What the hell what about one tree hill

Anonymous March 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Believe me they didn’t miss One Tree Hill…. It was left out for a reason.

skins March 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Best teen drama ever:


It’s british but I will pay anyone who doesn’t fall in love with that show $50.

Lauren March 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

ONE TREE HILL should DEFINATELY be on the list!

kyirraw April 6, 2009 at 2:41 am

Don’t laugh at this! Just do it
Start thinking something you really really want cause this is
astounding the person that sent this to me said their wish came true 10
mins after they read the mail so I thought what the heck
You have just been visited by DrSuess’s Cat in the Hat. He will grant
one wish
Make your wish when the count down is over
Send this to 10 videos within the hour you read this.
If you do, your wish will come true

Ash May 1, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Whoever made this list was on crack. How is FNL #1 get out of here and TSLOTAT shouldn’t be on there. Where the hell is One Tree Hill. It sure is better then The OC that show sucked ass when they killed of Marissa. If you have DC, OC on the list then OTH or Gilmore Girls should defiantly be on there.

Sophiaaa.x;// May 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Where the hell is One Tree Hill? You listen to most of the people here, they feel you’ve missed it.
Go watch some decent television.

Calyn May 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Well, good job with leaving OTH off the list. The show was good in the first season, but has sucked ass since then.

However, Secret Life should have been left off the list (horrible depiction of high school) and Veronica Mars should have been included.

Char May 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm

No….they certainly did miss One Tree Hill!!!!

samara May 29, 2009 at 3:35 am

WHY ON EARTH did you leave One tree hill off?! It is a great show, and unlike the OC it actually survived past 4 seasons…. Secret life is a good show and all, but it has only been on for one season… One tree hill should be on the list instead of secret life.

Brandi June 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm

I’m thirteen and i’ve seen 18/20 of these shows. I’ve seen every episode of degrassi (old and new), saved by the bell, boy meets world, the fresh prince of bel-air, and SLOAAT secret life or an american teenager. They made good selections. They made a good decision by not putting stupid one tree hil, lame smallville, and whack gilmore girls cause those 3 shows suck.

Lauren June 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Why isn’t One Tree Hill there?

I ♥ Taylor Lautner June 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm

I remember Boy Meets world

The Hills July 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm

why the fuck isn’t The Hills on here

Kt July 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm

OMG!!! U people r so crazy. Everybody has there own opionions of what shows they like, so u know what, suck it up buttercup, ur shows r on the top ten of what u like, so shove it!!!

cl July 8, 2009 at 4:22 am

A lot of people hate on One Tree Hill but hey if the O.C was in here why can’t OTH be on the list?!?! O.C was very good in it’s first season but season 2 kinda sucked. No offense to anyone cause I did watch OC until its final season too. I love the quotes they used to have on OTH at the beginning or end of an episode.

I have always known OTH doesn’t work well with critiques so it gets shit on a lot. But critiques does not equal public opinion. Whether you like OTH or not, you cannot argue that a lot of people appreciate it! Why has it lasted all these seasons?Even with that time jump (I have stopped watching though when they did that. It just wasn’t the same anymore).
Ok i have gone on and on. One tree hill should be here

Anonoymouzzz July 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I Think Charmed Should Be On There Too!!!!!

YOU"RE AN IDIOT July 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Whoever wrote this was on crack..

Where the hell is Gilmore Girls??? or One Three Hill??? You’re retarded.

Margit August 5, 2009 at 10:58 am

Hey, you left out One Tree Hill, the greatest High School Tv-series all time!! Come on, when you even listed The OC you should have placed One Tree Hill where it belongs, ON TOP!!!

MAER August 8, 2009 at 12:08 am

I love that 70s show!!!!!! I have all the seasons except season 4 on DVD

Nonie August 23, 2009 at 7:19 am

Skins. One Tree Hill. Charmed. Party of 5. Gilmore Girls. Gossip Girl. FRIENDS. Will and Grace.

LOLing myself when I saw FNL as the number one. Whoever made this was on crack AND is biased.

Liza August 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Some people are being so harsh, wow! I think it’s a good combination of classic and new. Even though I would have put all the older shows at the top, because truth is, there is nothing like a classic and they did pave the way for newer shows, I won’t complain to the author about it. Everyone has their own opinion and they are allowed to have it. My personal faves from this list are Welcome Back, Kotter! Fame, Growing Pains, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Happy Days, Boy Meets World and That 70′s Show. =)

Gina August 31, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Yup, I agree with Friday Night Lights being #1. Its the best and most underrated show on television. I also love Dawson’s Creek and My So-Called Life. But you guys missed Joan of Arcadia, now that was a quality show.

steven September 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Degrassi is from 1986-present. not 1983.
and One Tree Hill should be there for sure.

Lara October 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm

FIRST of all, I agree with whoever said it up there: You missed One Tree Hill!

And second of all, whoever wrote this article didn’t reread it; it has grammatical errors all over the place! It was quite a chore to read it. =P

Aryn November 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

ONE TREE HILL!?!?!?!?!!?!?! what the hell why isnt it on there?!?!!?!

KJ January 5, 2010 at 3:55 am

So again, while everyone is entitled to their opinions, I might want to suggest some alterations.

Never watched One Tree Hill so I really don’t have any input there like the rest of the world. Boy Meets World definitely should have been in the top 10. I’m appalled to see “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” even mentioned anywhere near this list. Same gagging reaction to Friday Night Lights.

Fame is okay, but there are better shows. Same goes for the O.C.

Better options would have been Joan of Arcadia, The Facts of Life, Clarissa Explains it All, Sister Sister…hell even Daria.

lala January 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

where is gossip girl and greek and one tree hill etc.?

loke March 2, 2010 at 3:52 am

You didnt put one tree hill or gossip girl everyone know we all want the guys on their chad micheal, chad crawford nd not to mention look like the girls on them

Duncan May 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

You left off Joan of Arcadia. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer should be number one. While Saved by the Bell was popular it was immensly stupid and should have been ranked much lower.

Hostile17 May 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm

My top ten
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
2. Freaks and Geeks
3 Friday Night Lights
4. Joan of Arcadia.
5. Glee
6. My So Called Life
7. The Wonder Years
8. Square Pegs
9. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
10. Smallville

K June 1, 2010 at 10:53 pm


Top 5 June 25, 2010 at 10:37 am

1. FNL
2. Freaks & Geeks
3. Boston Public
4. Glee
5. The OC

Eric October 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Youtube it.

Todd Pence November 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

Route 66 was not a high school show. It was about two guys who were in their twenties.

However, there is one excellent high school show which belongs on this list from the 1960′s: “Mr. Novak”, starring James Franciscus.

MCKIE November 5, 2010 at 1:34 am

oh my God,hw can u people leave out one tree hill,gossip girl and smallville ,they are the best…

Marcilioclarks November 11, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Wheres Gossip Girl ?! shut up’

Marcilioclarks November 11, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Gossip Girl ?! the best ever

Mercedes November 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm

AWW man iThought One Tree Hill was gonna be number 1 but stupid Friday Night Lights!!But One Tree Hill is still and will always be mu number 1!!<3 *-*

shoshy February 4, 2011 at 8:28 am

DUDE !!!
This list sucks …
Where the F*** is

S . K . I . N . S !!

jair February 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

what!!! you´re kidding, GOSSIP GIRL should be in number 1, and GLEE in number two!!!

Angel March 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

You have comedies and dramas on a single list. It doesn’t fit together. Dramatic works could also include Gossip Girl (2007-present and 3 Teen Choice Awards), Doogie Howser MD (1989-1993 and 8 Golden Globes), and the UK version of Skins (2007-present and a BAFTA) should have been added to the list. Not only does it break new ground with depicting substance abuse and all kinds of personal relationships but it also displays a higher level of acting for the genre.

Angel March 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

These are NOT “TEEN” shows: Boston Public, American Bandstand, The Partridge Family, The Waltons, Route 66, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls.

Teen shows center around teenagers. The supervising adults have limited placement within the stories. Gilmore was a woman and her daughter. The Waltons and Partridges (and the Cosbys) were entire families. One Tree Hill isn’t really a show but a hour-long product placement ad with pretty models. Boston Public was mostly about the school faculty. American Bandstand was a “reality” show.

BooBoo May 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

They most definitely did miss one tree hill. They covered most major subjects in life, in a classy way. Not Saying other shows didnt. but One Tree Hill Was most definitely different. THe viewers connected with them on almost every level. definitely on my top 10(:

Liz June 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Essa lista é sem noção! Sem Gossip Girl,sem Skins (ORIGINAL).
Salva The O.C e 90210.

maddy July 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm

ONE TREE HILL should be number 1!!!! it was amazing during the high school years of the shows

grace August 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

this list is perfect!! especially picking friday night lights as number one. that’s my favorite show :)

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