Amerie, Darren, and Quinni standing at their lockers in Heartbreak High
(Netflix)

Get Emotionally Wrecked by the 9 Best Shows Like ‘Heartbreak High’

Teenage feelings! Sexcapades! Dramaaaaaa! Heartbreak High gets messy. Are you craving more fictional humans with complex inner lives to become emotionally invested in? Join the club.

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Luckily, television has the answer! Here are the ten best shows like Heartbreak High, to break your heart and rebuild it again.

1. Euphoria

Euphoria Rue Zendaya via HBO
(HBO)

Heartbreak High is PG-13. Euphoria is R. Responsible for launching the careers of Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, Zendaya, and countless others, the HBO teen drama on steroids has made a permanent mark on pop culture consciousness. What’s the plot? There really isn’t one. It’s just beautiful young people making increasingly bad and horny decisions.

The story is based around an ensemble cast of high schoolers, each dealing with the rigors of growing up. They cheat on each other, throw up in pools, and have emotional breakdowns in front of the entire school. It’s a total mess. The show is more of a music video than an actual drama with heavy plotting. It’s an unending bombardment of stunning visuals and harrowing situations that are impossible to look away from.

2. Sex Education

Sex Education Season 1
(Netflix)

Otis is a high schooler whose mother is a famous sex therapist. He finds that many of the teens at his high school are experiencing sexual problems, and he decides to create an on-campus sex therapy clinic in order to help his classmates out. The show is a comedy with a ton of heart, showing the messy ins and outs of young love and sexuality with graceful hilarity.

It shines especially bright due to its queer representation, with LGBTQ identities all across the spectrum being highlighted. Gay, lesbian, nonbinary, asexual, bisexual, trans—every identity is masterfully weaved into the show’s drama. It’s adorable, heartwarming, funny as hell, and may extract a tear or two.

3. Gossip Girl

Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Taylor Momsen, Leighton Meester, Jessica Szohr, Chace Crawford, and Ed Westwick in Gossip Girl (2007)
(CW)

Are you pining for Y2K drama? Flip phones? Indie rock? The blisteringly beautiful lives of Manhattan prep school kids? Gossip Girl is your answer. The show was easily one of the most successful teen dramas of the ’00s and centers around a group of Manhattanites and their messy, messy lives. Being 20 years old, the show is certainly dated. Don’t expect queer representation here, as the times that the show was made in came before the blossoming of queer identity on TV. As a time capsule piece about a bygone era, the show is second to none. If anything, it shows how far TV has come. And it’s just fun drama, just a glorious disaster.

4. Skins

The cast of "Skins" sitting on a sofa with arms around each other
(E4)

Skins walked so Euphoria could fly. Gossip Girl was manicured teen drama, but Skins was unafraid to get really, really ugly. The series centers around a group of kids in Bristol, England, each one dealing with their own trials and tribulations. Mental health problems, substance abuse, broken homes, messy relationships … Skins gave a raw, unfiltered look at it all. Each episode is shot from the point of view of one character, whose experiences tend to overlap with the rest of the cast, making the show a tapestry of angst, heartbreak, and bright burning youth.

5. Riverdale

Camila Mendes and K.J. Apa in Riverdale (2017)
(The CW)

You ever hear your parents talk about those old Archie comics? Riverdale is the dark, sexy modern interpretation of the relatively tame source material. Set in the titular high school, the series begins with the untimely death of a student, leading teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Jughead Jones to deal with the fallout. Their seemingly quant small town harbors dark secrets, like all teen drama towns do. I’m talking local government conspiracies, secret societies, cults, the works. You want a spooky teen mystery filled to the brim with relationship drama? Look no further.

6. Heartstopper

kit connor and joe locke in heartstopper
(Netflix)

It’s time to get warm and fuzzy. Heartstopper is one of the most adorable teen dramas on TV right now. The story centers around the budding relationship between the sensitive Charlie Spring and the popular star rugby player Nick Nelson. It is the ultimate friends-to-lovers arc and explores the early days of the pair’s platonic relationship to the blossoming of something more. The show has a more optimistic tone than the dark and brooding Skins and Euphoria, but still manages to remain emotionally grounded without being schmaltzy. If you just wanna watch a sweet story of two young men slowly falling in love, Heartstopper is your show.

7. Yellowjackets

1996 and Present Day Natalie on Yellowjackets (via Showtime)
(Showtime)

Yellowjackets and Heartbreak High are both landmark queer TV series, but the similarities end there. As far as messiness goes, Yellowjackets is a downright display of grime. The series revolves around a high school girls’ soccer team whose plane crashed in the remote wilderness. At first, the girls band together in a struggle for survival, but as their hopes of rescue dim, they soon begin to turn on one another à la Lord of the Flies. As food sources become scarce, they being to rely on each other for food. Literally …

8. The Summer I Turned Pretty

belly and jeremiah in season 2 of the summer i turned pretty
(Prime Video)

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a coming-of-age story about Isabel “Belly” Conklin and the summers she spends living at her mom’s best friend Susannah’s beach house. Things would be simple if Belly were alone with her surrogate aunt, but the lady just HAD to have two beautiful sons who make up the two other points of Belly’s love triangle. Belly tries to navigate the delicate situation as best she can, but the drama ensues regardless. Oh Belly, don’t you know not to shit where you eat? I suppose that all young lovers must learn that lesson at some point.

9. Bridgerton

Kate and Anthony as married Viscount and Viscountess in the third season of Bridgerton
(Netflix)

Do you love messy relationship drama but wish it wasn’t all so damn modern? Bridgerton is your answer. The hit TV series centers around a cast of young Regency-Era aristocrats in England, all looking to succeed in love and marriage. Whispered words. Rendezvous in the garden of the estate. Torn-open petticoats. Every single parlor room romance trope makes a glorious appearance, leading to a series that feels like a mix of the best of Oscar Wilde and Jane Austin. While no queer romances have been featured so far, the upcoming fourth and fifth seasons are slated to rectify that fact.


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.