Best Netflix teen movies and teen shows: from Stranger Things to Sex Education

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From light-hearted love stories to hard-hitting social issues and YA adaptations, teen movies and TV shows are as big now as they've ever been. It's fair to say Netflix really understands that – tapping into this sub-genre with an eclectic mix of some of the best teen movies and shows around, and not necessarily just appealing to a single demographic, either. 

Whether you're teenager or just young at heart, these are some of the best teen movies and shows on Netflix right now. We've focused this on Netflix originals, so no matter where you are, you'll be able to stream all of the entries below. 

Sex Education

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The show that’s been on everyone’s lips and watch lists, Sex Education is a hilarious British high school dramedy, following the lives, loves and sexual journeys of the students of Moordale High. The show has an extremely nuanced cast of characters, tackles a lot of complex social issues, and touches on a range of relevant and timely themes. There’s no shortage of laugh-out-loud moments either. What’s more, its third season is currently in production, so there are a lot more heartwarming-yet-insightful developments still to come.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and To All the Boys: PS I Love You

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This high school teen romcom and its sequel have taken Netflix by storm. The films follow the romantic escapades of Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and the love letters she sends to her crushes. The To All the Boys... series is a must-watch for anyone who loves their teen romcoms – it's genuinely entertaining, with winning performances from Condor and love interest Noah Centineo. It also benefits from very striking visuals by cinematographer Michael Fimognari, who also worked on The Haunting of Hill House. To All the Boys... is full of charm and wit, and a third film is on the way.

See You Yesterday

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This time-traveling sci-fi adventure, produced by none other than Spike Lee, packs in lots of suspense, drama, and excitement. It touches on lots of relevant social issues, which feel incredibly timely, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. It's about two teenagers who are trying to perfect the art of time travel, but are forced to travel back in time in the wake of a tragic shooting.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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If you were ever a fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the '90s and early 2000s, then you've probably already heard that it's been rejuvenated with a spine-chilling, horror twist. The horror fantasy series looks at the adventures of Sabrina Spellman as she deals with balancing the duality of her mortal life and her witch life – sadly, it was cancelled earlier in 2020, though a final season is due before the end of the year, and it's still well worth watching.

Stranger Things

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Stranger Things needs no introduction, really – if you've never seen it, you'll quickly learn why this sci-fi drama about a group of kids whose friend goes missing in small town Indiana is so popular. An instant hit when it released in 2016, Stranger Things draws influence from Spielberg and Stephen King. It's a fun '80s period piece, with exceptional production design, a great soundtrack and impeccable costume design. Stranger Things season 4 is currently filming, so there's more to look forward to. 

Warrior Nun

best netflix teen shows - warrior nun

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Warrior Nun is a new fantasy series which will appeal to you if you’re a fan of classic TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer – or if you're too young to know or care about Buffy (side note: this is impossible, Buffy is still worth watching). This suspenseful, superpowered show follows an orphaned teen who, after waking up in a morgue, discovers that she now possesses superpowers as the chosen Halo Bearer for a secret sect of demon-hunting nuns. The good news is that it has been picked up for a second season, so there are more supernatural adventures around the corner. 

The Half of It

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A moving, quirky LGBTQ+ romance and coming-of-age tale, The Half of It is one of Netflix's best original movies released this year. It's about Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), who is tasked with writing love letters on behalf of her classmate, Paul, a boy who harbors a crush for a girl named Aster. The thing is, though, Ellie also harbors a crush for Aster, and it just gets more complicated from there. This is a feel-good heartfelt comedy exploring the complexities of young love and relationships, as well as the overarching theme of friendship.

Work It

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Work It is filled with everything that you could ever hope for in a teen dance movie, with high-octane dance sequences as well as an uplifting story – not to mention a bit of romance and triumphing over adversity. Directed by Laura Terruso, Work It tells the story of a teen girl named Quinn, played by Sabrina Carpenter, who is trying to balance getting into her late father’s alma mater whilst teaming up with a bunch of misfits in order to win a dance competition.

Step Sisters

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Yet another dance movie to make it onto the list, Step Sisters is a witty comedy about a Black sorority leader who agrees to help of group of sisters at a white sorority win a step dance championship. It does follow the formula of a dance movie, but is nevertheless a lot of fun to watch – it's perfect if you're looking for a female-centric comedy, too.

All The Bright Places

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Based on a popular YA novel written by Jennifer Niven, who also co-wrote the screenplay, All the Bright Places is a tear-jerking, emotionally-charged romantic teen drama starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. The movie is about two troubled high schoolers who establish a relationship while attempting to overcome their demons in Indiana. As well as being a mature look at young romance, it's a very powerful exploration of mental health issues among teenagers, and well worth adding to your Watch List.