25 shows to watch if you like Riverdale

16 of 26

Beverly Hills, 90210

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I consider Beverly Hills, 90210 to be the OG of teen dramas. Shows like Riverdale, with their cast of gorgeous 20-somethings playing high school students who act like adults, couldn’t exist without this show.

The premise: It’s not revolutionary, nor does it have any real gimmicks. 90210 is simply about a group of high school students doing teenager-y stuff. No serial killers, no brewing class war, no mob bosses or evil twins. Just a boatload of melodrama.

The show started as the story of two fraternal twins, transplants from Minnesota, trying to adjust to the culture shock of a new, posh neighborhood. Brandon and Brenda Walsh arrive at their Beverly Hills high school as bumpkins and immediately feel out of place among the sports cars and designer clothes.

Of course they assimilate eventually, and the show becomes more of a group dynamic. In fact, Brenda and Brandon both leave the show in the later seasons, as does Dylan McKay (who is currently Fred Andrews on Riverdale).

Why you’ll love: I mean… why wouldn’t you love it? For some folks (of a certain age) it creates a misty nostalgia of appointment TV; gathering around a television with a group of girlfriends, oooohing and aahhing over Dylan’s eyebrow scar.

For others, it’s a handy origin story about how the teenage soap became an entity of its own. Before 90210, you had very few shows that focused on the “kids” and (mostly) ignored the parents’ problems. It pioneered the idea of raising the stakes of adolescent problems, and none of these shows could have been born without it.

Where to find it: Hulu has most of all the seasons — excluding the tear-jerking series finale. If you want my opinion as a 90210 superfan, you can skip those first couple of seasons altogether. Brenda was still trying to figure out her bangs, and we couldn’t decide if we liked Kelly or not.