There can never be enough TV about teenagers feeling things. It's a well-known fact. That's why Sex Education on Netflix was a welcome addition to the genre. The show, which follows a young man who opens a sex clinic to help his peers with their problems, is a delightful combination of normal high school anxieties and unique discussions about sex in high school. It's a one of a kind show.
Even so, there are many shows which paved the way for Sex Education. Those shows may have a similar style of humor, a similar setting, or similar ideas on their mind. All of these shows are worth a binge independent of this show, but they're especially helpful if you're looking for more Sex Education. Each one of these shows has something in common with the new Netflix title, and some were almost certainly influences for the show's creators. Here are 19 shows to binge after you've finished Sex Education on Netflix.
British television often has a somewhat different tone from its American counterpart. Sex Education walks a fine line between American and British comedy, but The IT Crowd is much more firmly committed to the latter.
Following a group of IT employees working in the basement of their company's offices, The IT Crowd is a great introduction to the world of British comedy. This show is much more of a straight-up comedy than Sex Education, but the two share a wry sense of humor that's very much a part of British television. Both shows also have incredibly talented casts of British comedians, which American audiences don't see enough of.
There's a certain frankness at the heart of Sex Education. The show is incredibly frank about sex, and the male and female bodies. It also derives some whimsy and humor from the topic. In that way, it shares some DNA with Absolutely Fabulous, which had a very raunchy, no-holds-bar sense of humor.
The show, which debuted in 1992, follows two badly behaved middle-age women who do and say whatever they want. In its own way, the show's central characters were progressive in their awfulness. They paved the way for characters like Maeve to be complex, even if they weren't quite so terrible.
Although cringe comedy is definitely a thing in the U.S., it's the Brits who protected. The Inbetweeners is in many ways a forerunner of Sex Education in that it focuses on a group of high school students muddling their way through adolescence.
The show is more awkward than even Sex Education allows itself to be. Even so, it's still rooted in the difficulties of being an awkward young adult, unsure of how to behave or who to hang out with. It's a show that reveals how terrible and funny that experience can be. It's also one that reminds us why everyone has different feelings about their high school memories.
As it turns out, Fresh Meat is one of many British comedies about young people. This show, which follows six freshmen at a fictional university who live together off-campus, and tracks their lives through college. Although it is British and about young people, the concerns of Fresh Meat are very different from those of Sex Education.
Fresh Meat is focused on the real-world problems of its students. Their financial issues or struggles with grades take center stage. While these things are definitely a part of Sex Education, they get much more emphasis on Fresh Meat. Still, the two shows are united by a wry, distinctly British sensibility.
Netflix has been very good about consistently delivering British comedies to American audiences. As it turns out, Lovesick is one of the very best in the genre. Following a hopelessly romantic young man who discovers he has an STD, the series is laser-focused on love in the 21st century.
Although it's about people slightly older than those at the center of Sex Education, the two shows share an interest in relationships. At their core, they're both romantic comedies. As it turns out, the Brits may be more engaged in that genre than Americans are. Love is still a topic on TV if you know where to look.
Chewing Gum is another British series that comes from a very specific perspective. It follows a 24-year-old woman who wants to have sex for the first time and learn about the world. As she begins to explore it, though, she realizes that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
Because of the show's focus on sex and its interest in defining its protagonist's identity, it has a lot of overlap with Sex Education. Both shows have a keen awareness of how strange the world is, and how much our parents influence the way we see it, no matter what their perspective is.
Sex Education isn't an overtly political show, but it does have progressive ideas about sex. By contrast, Derry Girls typically has politics on its mind, in part because of where and when it's set. The show follows Irish girls in the 1990s as they live out their adolescence against the backdrop of a tumultuous era in Ireland.
Although the show is a comedy, it's never afraid to venture into actual problems these girls often faced. Because it's able to focus on their personal lives and the surrounding political turmoil, it's quite compelling. The show offers proof that political conflicts have ramifications for real people.
My So-Called Life might be the show on this list that has the most in common with Sex Education. Although it was only on for a season, the show had a major impact on how stories about young people were told.
It followed a young girl who was working through young adulthood and was really smart about how teenagers think and feel. The show never talked down to its characters. Instead, it treated them like the intelligent people they are, even as it allowed them to engage in self-discovery. In high school, everyone's still trying to figure things out. My So-Called Life got that.
Although Sex Education is British, Freaks and Geeks is another show that shares a lot of parallels with it. It's a show about the uncool kids, but it has a different idea of what those kids look like. They're nerdier and more apathetic than Sex Education's characters, but similarly complex.
Freaks and Geeks was another show that took being a teenager really seriously. It understood how hard it could be, especially for kids that weren't popular. Instead of engaging in stereotypes or tropes, though, it made an earnest case for why these kids should be admired and loved for who they are.
The Fosters only just wrapped up its run on Freeform, but the show has already established a legacy of sorts. Following an unconventional family led by two mothers, the show became a dramatic and fascinating examination of how teenagers handle their siblings.
Family is the thing you have the least control over as a teenager, and The Fosters embraced that fact. The show is also a great example of how LGBT stories can be seamlessly integrated into a show. They can be the focus or happening in the background. Either way, what matters is that they're handled well when they're depicted on screen.
Jane the Virgin is one of the best-reviewed shows of the decade, and that's because it has such a distinct point of view. It's a satirical take on romantic comedies that understands the genre it's satirizing incredibly well.
The show follows Jane, a young woman who becomes pregnant after she's artificially inseminated. Like Sex Education, Jane the Virgin is incredibly smart about relationships between young people, and the ways they unfold. It can be a very moving show when it wants to be, but it's also great as a straight-up comedy. It can toggle between those modes effectively, which is what makes it so easy to watch.
Sex Education is incredibly smart about the teenage culture that it's depicting. It's specific about each of its character, and that same specificity is what makes Friday Night Lights such a great show. Following a high school football team in rural Texas, Friday Night Lights focuses on the players and the town that surrounds them.
While it's not as laser-focused on sex as Sex Education, Friday Night Lights works hard to capture every aspect of the high school experience. It's a definitive teen show that spends plenty of time on adults as well. That's part of what makes it so great.
Glee was not a consistent show. Sometimes, it was silly and idiotic, putting characters in unrealistic or confusing situations. When it was great though, there was nothing on TV better than Glee. The show had a keen sense of what it was like to be an uncool, unpopular teenager who also felt everything way too much.
It used music as a voice for those feelings, and often found ways to soar. When Glee was great, it pushed its ridiculous plotting to the side in favor of genuine feeling. After all, we watch shows about teenagers precisely because their feelings are such a force of nature.
Dawson's Creek is one of the definitive teenage TV shows. It's also a show mostly about its central characters. Unlike Sex Education, it doesn't really have a central conceit. It's focused on a love triangle and gives each of its characters a chance to develop fully.
While Sex Education may have a slightly more glamorous premise, it is similarly focused on the lives of its characters. Like most great teen shows, Dawson's Creek also effectively mixes drama and comedy in every episode. In doing this, it's able to be more truthful about the hardships of the teenage experience, which can be full of different moods.
On the surface, American Vandal doesn't seem like it would have much to say about being a teenager. It's designed as a parody of true crime documentaries, and it works very well like that. Beneath that parody, and the abundant jokes that accompany it, are interesting ideas about the way teenagers live today.
Although Sex Education is a fairly timeless show, it has similarly interesting things to say about how teenagers exist in the world. Both shows also know how to integrate social media seamlessly into their worlds. For some shows, phones prevent an impediment. Shows like American Vandal know how to handle that, though.
Although Sex Education spends more of its time with teenagers than adults, it has good enough sense to make sure the show's adults are characters as well. On Gilmore Girls, time is divided a little more evenly between a mother and daughter pair.
Still, the show is focused on similar questions about adulthood and the role that sex plays in it. It's also a show about class and gender that's really smart on both topics. The frenetic pacing is a little jarring when compared with Sex Education's more deliberate tone. Even so, Gilmore Girls is the kind of show you definitely don't want to skip.
Although Dear White People focuses on characters who are a little older, it has a lot of similarities to Sex Education. The looks that both shows have -- the way they're shot and the locations they highlight are markedly similar. Dear White People is definitely more visually distinct, but the connection is there.
Of course, the two shows are about wildly different subjects. Still, there's a certain understanding about the awkwardness and sophistication of young adults that both shows seem keenly aware of. The kids at the center of both shows want to act and be treated like adults, but they're also still discovering who they are.
The O.C. is one of the most dramatic, compelling TV shows there's ever been. It follows a young man from a broken home who is adopted by a wealthy family. Often, the show focuses on the cultural clashes that stem from the differences in wealth that the show depicts.
The O.C. is a great follow-up to Sex Education because it's so supremely watchable. The show can be heightened and melodramatic, but it works because it stays grounded in its characters. You can handle any number of ridiculous plot turns as long as they stem from a believable place that's rooted in character.