10 Best Coming-of-Age Shows on Netflix

Updated May 22, 2024 • Staff

After Netflix found surprise success with Sex Education, the seminal teen drama that kickstarted much-needed conversations about gender and sexuality, the streaming platform has been churning out like-minded shows ever since, albeit with varying levels of success. Some, like Heartbreak High and Never Have I Ever, found the sweet spot between replicating charm and maintaining identity, while others went haywire with duplicates and cliches. 

In this list, we dug through the heap and present you with Netflix’s teen drama wins—the best coming-of-age shows you can stream on the service right now. They’re a mix of original shows and licensed titles, each with its own focus and flavor, but they all manage to capture youth in all its bittersweet and heartbreaking glory.

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10.

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)

This is Breaking Bad meets The Social Network. Based on a true story that took place in Leipzig, Germany in 2015, this show is about Moritz, a high-schooler who starts Europe’s biggest drug market online. He initially does this to impress his ex-girlfriend, who had just come back from the States with new drug experiences.

The transformation of a nerd into a drug kingpin is fascinating. But because it is based on a true story, there is an important nuance to that transformation. Moritz is rarely portrayed as a hero, and his creepy side is always present. This makes for an interesting and exciting plot-heavy show.  

Our staff rating: 7.9/10
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Actor: Bjarne Madel, Damian Hardung, Danilo Kamber, Danilo Kamperidis, Jolina Amely Trinks, Lena Klenke, Leonie Wesselow, Luna Schaller, Maximilian Mundt, Roland Riebeling
Rating: N/A
Go to Netflix
9.

Teenage Bounty Hunters

With the deluge of hyper-stylized teen shows everywhere (but especially on Netflix), Teenage Bounty Hunters comes as a refreshing and welcome surprise. Sisters Blair and Sterling, played by Anjelica Bette Fellini and Maddie Phillips respectively, strike the perfect balance between spiky and endearing, creating a chemistry that’s rare to see among TV siblings. There’s friction but also love all around. 

Their interactions alone make the series thoroughly enjoyable, but their coming-of-age hijinks and comedic timing, especially around their reluctant mentor Bowser (Kadeem Hardison), make it an absolute must-watch. If you enjoyed Booksmart but wished it was more action-packed, you'll surely love this show.  

Our staff rating: 7.9/10
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Actor: Anjelica Bette Fellini, Charity Cervantes, Devon Hales, Eric Graise, Kadeem Hardison, Mackenzie Astin, Maddie Phillips, Method Man, Myles Evans, Shirley Rumierk, Spencer House, Virginia Williams, Wynn Everett
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
8.

On My Block

TV has never been as diverse as it’s been today, but despite the multitude of perspectives, nailing an authentic and enjoyable story that’s outside the realm of the classic white experience continues to be tricky. How do you relay very real dangers like gang violence and poverty without undermining universal teenage concerns like heartbreak and rejection? 

Enter On My Block, a series that manages to stuff many things on its small plate without compromise. It’s funny and charming, but also smart and serious when it needs to be. Unlike a number of teen sitcoms before it, On My Block is in touch with the real world, and it’s unafraid to shove its characters into difficult situations at every and any moment—not just during special episodes. This authentic setup coupled with its very likable and well-drawn leads is sure to draw in viewers of all leanings.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Brett Gray, Danny Ramirez, Diego Tinoco, Jason Genao, Jessica Marie Garcia, Julian Lerma, Julio Macias, Meiyee Apple Tam, Paula Garces, Peggy Ann Blow, Ronni Hawk, Sierra Capri
Rating: TV-14
Go to Netflix
7.

AlRawabi School for Girls

With teen dramas crowding not just Netflix but all of TV, it’s easy to think that the Jordanian series AlRawabi School for Girls won’t be any different. But while it may share a lot of similarities with other coming-of-age stories, it stands out for its willingness to explore dark themes and cultural specificities without a pandering tone. It’s smart, mature, and complex enough to give us a feminist lead who weaponizes misogyny against other girls, for instance, or a fierce bully who eventually earns our sympathy. It’s hard to imagine the treatment being this sensitive, nuanced, and wholly engaging without the all-female cast and crew that AlRawabi thankfully has.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Drama
Go to Netflix
6.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Watching the trailers, and even the first ten minutes, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off just seems like a rehash of the prominent Edgar Wright film, especially since his cast reprise their roles in this new anime. However, when that episode ends, even the most ardent fans of both the film and the original comic book series would have no idea where this would go. It’s a fearless, daring approach, from the original creator Bryan Lee O'Malley, and it’s met with the wackiest, spectacular animation from Japanese animation studio Science SARU, remixing O’Malley’s designs with 8-bit, fighting video game action.

Our staff rating: 8.2/10
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Brie Larson, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Cera
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
5.

The End of the F***ing World

An amazing binge-worthy show that is a mix between a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a crime thriller. It tells the story of James, a 17-year-old who believes he is a psychopath (for some very convincing reasons). James decides he wants the victim of his first murder to be a new schoolmate, Alyssa.  He befriends her and keeps waiting for the perfect moment to kill Alyssa until he finds himself on a journey with her to escape her home. Somewhere near the middle of the show, and without you fully realizing it, it transforms from an original coming-of-age story or odd-boy-meets-odd-girl story to an intriguing view on adolescent insecurities and the role of parents into shaping them. It transforms from a mysterious, almost charming story to an interesting character study.  This is when the show will blow your mind.  It's a fresh, smart, funny yet disturbing emotional thrill ride.

 

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Actor: Alex Lawther, Christine Bottomley, Eileen Davies, Gemma Whelan, Jayda Mitchell, Jessica Barden, Jonathan Aris, Josh Dylan, Naomi Ackie, Navin Chowdhry, Steve Oram, Wunmi Mosaku
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
4.

Sweet Tooth

Sweet Tooth is set in a post-apocalyptic America, where the population has been ravaged by a mysterious virus and the new generation of humans has evolved into animal hybrids. The circumstances are bleak and the things people do to survive even more so. Driven by fear and grief, they both isolate and attack in moves that are eerily reminiscent of the early days of our own pandemic. Sweet Tooth is a robust adventure story then, gritty and reflective and tragic, but it’s also incredibly sweet.

We’re introduced to a myriad of characters, each of them with their own arc, but we mostly follow Gus (Christian Convery), a nine-year-old human-deer hybrid who has yet to be disillusioned by the human race. Gus grounds the story’s many flights of fancy, and along with the other main characters, he gives us timely reminders of the importance of kindness and humaneness without ever being too corny. And to the show’s serious credit, no one plot line overpowers the other; instead, all feel just as vital to the larger story of survival that’s being told. 

The blend of these tales is lovely, the world-building is imaginative, and the technical aspects of it—the color, the costuming, and the cinematography—are all beautiful. Ultimately, Sweet Tooth is a packed a show wrapped in gorgeous layers, sure to delight even the most casual of viewers. 

Our staff rating: 8.5/10
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, Aliza Vellani, Christian Convery, Dania Ramirez, James Brolin, Nonso Anozie, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: TV-14
Go to Netflix
3.

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

On the surface, The Makanai is a simple, slice-of-life show about food and friendship. While it is that, to be sure, it's also a substantial drama that tackles questions about art vs. love, and love vs. companionship, and career vs. purpose. Under the gentle guidance of showrunner Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, Shoplifters, Broker), who generously allows up-and-coming directors to take the helm on certain episodes, The Makanai feels at once light and hefty, comforting and challenging. We're seeing mundane events unfold before us as if we were bystanders, but we also understand that there is so much more happening than what meets the eye. A prolonged gaze, a lovingly prepped meal, an especially sharp wing-eye, all of these have much to say about the state of mind of these girls. 

It’s a supremely gentle and culturally rich show with a tender heart; a truly great watch on all accounts.

Our staff rating: 8.8/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ai Hashimoto, Aju Makita, Arata Iura, Jyo Kairi, Kairi Jo, Kanji Furutachi, Keiko Matsuzaka, Keiko Toda, Lily Franky, Mayu Matsuoka, Momoko Fukuchi, Nana Mori, Natsuki Deguchi, Ryota Suzuki, Takako Tokiwa, Toshinori Omi, Win Morisaki, Yukiya Kitamura
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda, Hiroshi Okuyama, Megumi Tsuno, Takuma Sato
Rating: TV-14
Go to Netflix
2.

Sex Education

Pressured by the feeling that everyone is having sex except him, Otis (Asa Butterfield), like most teenagers, is very uncomfortable with sex, masturbation, and intimacy in general. In addition to the standard-issue teenage awkwardness, to make things worse, he grows up in a sex-positive household under the watchful eyes of his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, who is a sex therapist. Obviously, the subject is omnipresent as are erotic art, oversized dildos, and coitus-craving couples all over the house. The twist comes when he transforms his tribulations into a business model by teaming up with bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to counsel his teenage peers on sexual issues of all kinds. As you can imagine, uninitiated teenagers have a lot to offer in that department. Apart from its raunchy premise and explicit images, this is a hilarious, diverse, and warm teen comedy thanks, in particular, to the writing of playwright Laurie Nunn. Lauded by critics for its honesty, this future comedy classic will surely teach you a thing or two about sexuality yourself.

Our staff rating: 8.9/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Aimee Lou Wood, Alistair Petrie, Anne-Marie Duff, Asa Butterfield, Chaneil Kular, Connor Swindells, Emma Mackey, Gillian Anderson, Jemima Kirke, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Mikael Persbrandt, Mimi Keene, Ncuti Gatwa, Patricia Allison, Rakhee Thakrar, Simone Ashley, Tanya Reynolds
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
1.

Derry Girls

If you’re looking for a funny yet original sitcom, look no further than Derry Girls. 

It takes place in 1990s Northern Ireland where civil unrest reigns. News of bombings is regular. This is a cause for concern for a lot of people, but for one group of teenage girls life continues as usual. Making fun of the first boy at their all girls school and being embarrassed by crushes are unshakable priorities. 

Derry Girls might have been a good show with just the 90s nostalgia and the political undertone, but the sharp and hilarious writing elevate it to greatness. It is truly one of the best sitcoms ever made. If you liked The End of the F***ing World, you will enjoy Derry Girls. They differ in plot but they both carry similar elements of dark and dry humour. 

Watch out for Sister Michael, she is hilarious. 

Our staff rating: 9.1/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Dylan Llewellyn, Ian McElhinney, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Leah O'Rourke, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Siobhan McSweeney, Tara Lynne O'Neill, Tommy Tiernan
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix

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