The extreme explosion that the world of TV series has had in recent years has led to the formation of real ones subgenres very popular and well structured. The ever-increasing number of productions has triggered a race for differentiation that has declined the main canonical genres in a very important and multifaceted way, creating very easily identifiable microcosms, with their own rules, a reference public and, why not, their own developing tradition. Among these sub-genres we can identify one descending from a main genre of television production, capable of depopulating throughout the 90s and 2000s and evolving according to different plots.
We are talking about the crime teen drama, a descendant of the canonical teen drama, one of the most represented genres on TV, with the addition of the crime element which is predominantly present, not as an accessory component. In recent years the crime teen drama has become a very important reality in the serial landscape, the latest testimony is certainly the success of Wednesday, and is one of those strong sub-genres that can already boast their own tradition. In this sense, therefore, we have tried to draw up a ranking of what have been the best 7 crime teen dramas of the last 10 years, adopting as terms of inclusion those series that present the peculiarities of the classic teen drama, with the addition of a central crime element in their development.
7. Wednesday e I migliori crime teen drama: Cruel Summer
Released in summer 2021, Cruel Summer follows the story of Kate Willisthe classic “most popular girl in school”, who is kidnapped and found a year later, when she accuses another girl, Jeanette Turner, which is his complete opposite, of having witnessed his abduction without saying anything. Made by Freeform and distributed by Prime Video, Cruel Summer plays with some of the classic elements of the teen drama, such as the opposition between the popular girl and the introverted one, but it does so by building a subtle psychological apparatus that makes the narrative extremely interesting.
Kate and Jeanette, who in the meantime has worked to take the girl’s place by becoming the popular girl, accuse each other and challenge each other in a game of references and innuendoes, all expanded by the time managementwhich articulates the plot in three different and consecutive years, from 1993 to 1995. With its peculiar construction, Cruel Summer manages to thicken the mystery, never leaving the viewer with the certainty of having understood how things really went. At the same time, the truth does not seem all that important, but the reactions are more so, which then reveal the true personalities of Kate and Jeanette, which are completely opposite to those they showed before the kidnapping.
2018 is the year in which the world of TV series has noticed the Spain. After the planetary success of paper house, started in the queue of the previous year and consumed in full 2018the Iberian production was enriched in October with the release of Elite, series that had an incredible first season, collapsing over the years until it reached the worn and always the same script that we see today.
Beyond the drift, however, that Netflix production has taken, there is no doubt that Elite has played a major role in the establishment of this subgenre. In particular, the first season of the Spanish series shows great care in its realization, with an intricate, well-constructed mystery and very interesting characters as a side dish. Especially the context has done its part, an elitist and exclusive world of kids who are far too young and too rich. However, the main novelty and strength elements of Elite, over time, yes they are consumed: the series has not been able to update and has practically always kept the same pattern, letting itself be swept up in a vortex of mediocrity that has led Elite to be a dragging production, with continuous recastings from year to year and the sensation of seeing the same story over and over again. A decidedly unexpected epilogue after the great first season of October 2018.
5. Wednesday e I migliori crime teen drama: Riverdale
If there’s a flaw that we can attribute to crime teen dramas, it’s undoubtedly that of not being able to keep going in the long run. The case of Elite is also applicable to Riverdale, albeit to a lesser extent, because the series CW it has evidently dropped already since its second season, but in any case it has not completely lost itself as its Spanish counterpart has done. In its first season Riverdale presents an intricate plot and well-groomed characters, manages to build a high-level narrative, which suggests a product truly capable of being able to mark the scene in the years to come. In reality, that will not be the case.
Se Elite has not been able to reinvent itself, Riverdale it has done it even too much, completely losing sight of its own nature and assuming ever more surreal hues. However, the first season of the series remains one of the greatest examples of this sub-genre, so much so that many subsequent productions were born with the label of “new Riverdale” or in any case they have been called to succeed wherever Riverdale he had not been able: in confirming himself. Indeed, it must be said that the teen drama is already a genre with Expiration date, so to speak, because the main characters cannot remain teenagers forever. The contribution of the crime element complicates everything, so it is also physiological to see drops in series of this type, however Elite that Riverdale they got lost too conspicuously.
Con Thirteen we close the review of series that had an incredible first season, then dropped sharply and inexorably going forward. If we had stopped at the respective first seasons, probably the last three series faced would occupy the podium of this ranking and the first place would be the total prerogative of Thirteen, which in its first season remains not only the best example of this sub-genre, but also one of the most successful productions of recent years.
Thirteen it was a huge illusion. Its impact was incredible, for themes and narrative format it represented a small revolution. Few series have told the adolescent awkwardnesstaken to its extreme, as the first season of Thirteen, but then the story had to go on, when evidently there was no need, and the Netflix production had a vertical collapse. The next three seasons of Thirteen they are what pushed the series down in this ranking and they badly betrayed the great premise of the first season. Taken individually, however, the first chapter of the series is simply extraordinaryas mentioned in all probability the best example of the crime teen drama of the last 10 years and beyond.
You may be wondering why the media phenomenon of the last year has finished only in third place in this ranking, without being able to conquer the first place. The answer is simple and can be found in the previous points analysed. The first season of Wednesday it was crazy, but it remains, in fact, only one first season. In this genre we have witnessed sensational collapses such as those mentioned by Thirteen, Riverdale ed Elite, so it is necessary to keep some reservations on a series that had an extraordinary first season, but which must undergo the examination of the subsequent chapters.
If he will know confirm, Wednesday has all the makings of being the best teen crime drama of the past 10 years. The series, on the other hand, condenses in itself all the best productions of this sub-genre, uniting its constituent elements also that of supernaturalin a combination that is not entirely new, but which we had never seen at these levels. Wednesday was overall one of the best series of 2022 and its success is partly due to the extraordinary performance of Jenna Ortega, which gave birth to an iconic character to say the least. This is one of the founding elements of the teen drama, that of creating loved and identified characters. Wednesday she did it brilliantly, also adding the crime element which, skilfully constructed, kept the pace of the narrative up to the end.
2. Wednesday e I migliori crime teen drama: Pretty Little Liars
If this subgenre exists, it is largely thanks to Pretty Little Liars. All the series mentioned here are enormously indebted to the production conceived by Marlene Kingcapable of becoming a real one in the seven years it aired media phenomenon. Pretty Little Liars it shows us in full the canons of the crime teen drama, combining the mystery of A with the classic adolescent issues of the Liars, between love dramas and complicated parental relationships. The strength of Pretty Little Liars was to show a way when it wasn’t there yet, to force this crime element into the teen drama and become a real template.
Then, like almost all the series on this list, too Pretty Little Liars has fallen inexorably, collapsing evidently in the last two seasons, between the time jump and the umpteenth personification of A. The feeling was that, going forward, the series ended up staying stuck in the intricate plots he had woven, looking for a simple method to solve the skein. A bit like when we try to untie tangled threads, but inevitably knots remain. However, the applause of Pretty Little Liars, especially of the first, innovative, seasons.
1. The End of the F*** World
We therefore arrive at the top of this ranking with a series that will perhaps surprise more than a few, but which absolutely deserves this first place. The big difference between The End of the F*** World and the other series on this list, except for Wednesday of course and for Cruel Summer, it’s in his brevity and, consequently, in not having run into that vertical collapse so typical of this sub-genre. In her two seasons, The End of the F*** World it is done to perfection, thus becoming the best example of a constant and linear narration in this category.
The story told is that of James e Alyssa, two young outcasts, bordering on sociopathy, who together decide to escape their monotonous lives in search of new thrills, which for James means killing someone. Particularly valuable are the performances of the two protagonists, Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden, who perfectly embody the two characters who, with clearly caricatured connotations, exemplify the personification of that adolescent rebellion that leads to wanting to live outside the box and conventions.The End of the F*** World thus, the first position of this ranking is conquered, waiting to find out if Wednesday, or other productions that will arrive will be able to take this scepter away from her.