Let’s be honest, TV was just better back then. Remember how connected you were to the members of The OC? You basically felt like you lived in California with them, while wishing that Sandy was your dad and Seth was your boyfriend, but not in a creepy way. Same with Dawson, Joey, and Pacey’s endless love triangle, the aliens on Roswell, and the Scooby Gang. The connection was so strong because you had to schedule your life around them. There was no Hulu, and parents never could quite figure out how to record on the VCR.
They just don’t make TV like the WB anymore, and the CW is not cutting it. Plus, you’re supposed to watch smart shows like Game of Thrones now, not shows like Reign. While teen dramas are misconstrued as guilty pleasures now that we’ve reached “adulthood,” you should feel no guilt whatsoever about binge watching your old favorites on Netflix.
1. Dawson’s Creek
Everything about this show is perfection, and if you disagree it’s only because you haven’t checked back in with Dawson and his creek lately. This show was, and had, everything. DC had it all before having it all was a thing. Pacey’s bowl cut, a million affairs, 20-somethings masquerading as hormonal 15-year-olds, and a bad girl from the Big Apple in town to tear it up (and die, RIP). Dawson gave us unrealistic expectations about everything. I don’t know anyone who actually fell for their neighbor, and I know very few boys who can express their feelings like Dawson Leery. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of Dawson (I was always Team Pacey), you have to love him for bringing us the crying gif, which can be used for all occasions.
I always imagined aliens as creepy green creatures, but Roswell re-invented them as hot 20-year-olds teenagers. I love that they made them all young, because it would’ve been so creepy to have a bunch of ancient aliens creeping around a high school, much like if vampires actually aged. Like most people on WB shows, the cast was obscenely attractive. They took it to the next level, as far as smoking hot goes. The only drawback was that it introduced the world to a young Katherine Heigl, our generation’s Sarah Jessica Parker. Unfortunately, Brendan Fehr has not aged well, but luckily Jason Behr is still looking good, albeit in a boy-next-door serial killer kind of way. The WB was stellar at choosing actors who looked at least 20 years older than the characters they were playing. If Max was supposed to be a high schooler, then I could probably parade around pretending to be a toddler. The point is, who’s down to take a trip to Roswell to go (hot) alien hunting with me?
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy is the ultimate badass. Scandal and Revenge can try to compete, but they will never be Buffy. She was the most iconic heroine of our generation, according to me. Now Joss Whedon’s finally getting the love he deserves, but it all started with Buffy (the weird movie with Kristy Swanson, of course). We watched her fall in love with Angel, and we watched him literally turn evil after getting it in. I can’t think of a better metaphor for a guy going rogue post business time. Buffy showed us that high school is the worst, but with the help of a crew of strange, pop culture loving friends, we could survive, despite the evil lurking in the hallways.
4. One Tree Hill
Like most WB shows, OTH was great, until it became obscenely weird. it started with a basic enough premise– one sleazy dad has two sons within months of each other, with different ladies, of course. There was intrigue, basketball (boring), Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, and most importantly, loads and loads of teen angst. I know we were supposed to root for Peyton, but her emo attitude really did me in. Plus, even though Brooke was a total slut, she knew that in the end it was clothes over bros. While I get saving yourself for marriage (in theory), I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count if you tie the knot when you’re 16, but that’s just me, because Haley Scott and Courtney Stodden disagree. Over the years, One Tree Hill became more about creepy stalkers and murder than preppy white boys becoming professional b-ball stars, but in its golden days, it was truly incredible.
5. The OC
While The OC wasn’t on The WB, it might as well have been. It had drama, drugs, and (SPOILER ALERT) Marissa Cooper’s untimely death. Why do all the bad girls die young? It’s like TV was punishing them. There was Phantom Planet, Chrismukkah, and former Abercrombie models. The OC kids were basically living my dream life. They wore tons of Juicy Couture, were always at the beach, and got to party in TJ, which looked like a blast, minus the whole overdose thing. My bartender the other night looked exactly like Seth Cohen, so maybe dreams do come true? I almost asked him if he was into roleplaying, because he looked like he was born to be the Seth to my Summer.