‘Generation’ is a dramedy series that follows the story of a group of high school friends who try to explore their sexuality. Things are not easy as it seems because they have to face social pressures and stigmas. The characters navigate through the conservative community as their sexual orientation challenges the principles of heteronormativity. The show is written by Zelda Barnz (when she was a teenager) and her father, Daniel Barnz. Zelda’s parents are gay, as Daniel’s partner of around two decades is Ben Schwartz—a producer in his own right.
The show resonates with the family’s personal experiences and explores the elements of modern sexuality. We decided to prepare a list of six shows that draw a parallel with the narrative of ‘Generation.’ You can watch most of these shows like ‘Generation’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. Girls (2012-2017)
‘Girls’ is a comedy-drama series that revolves around an aspiring writer Hannah whose parents decide to stop providing financial support. In the aftermath of this decision, Hannah has to navigate her life by measuring every step cautiously. She is aided in the struggles by her three friends who have different personalities. What starts as a journey towards stability inches close to an exploration of relationships, love, and sexuality. The show resonates strongly with the themes of ‘Generation,’ which is produced by Lena Dunham—the creator of ‘Girls.’
5. Euphoria (2019-)
Created by Sam Levinson, ‘Euphoria’ is partially based on the Israeli show of the same name. The premise of the coming-of-age teen drama deals with the lives of high school students working their way through the repercussions of love, friendship, sexuality, and drugs. Sexual insecurities and gender roles are explored in this series with a realistic approach that makes it a must-watch. The series tackles the angst and anxiety of teenagers, which resonates strongly with the central narrative of ‘Generation.’
4. Sex Education (2019-)
A British teenage comedy-drama, ‘Sex Education,’ revolves around Otis Milburn, an insecure and socially awkward high school student who lives with his mother. Moreover, his mother is a sex therapist and Otis is irked by his mother’s interference in his personal and sexual life. Her insightful approach towards sex is the backbone of the show’s social commentary.
Eventually, Otis offers sexual advice in his school by teaming with Maeve, a forthright classmate who lives alone in her own caravan park. Like ‘Generation,’ the show gives an informed outlook on relationships and sexuality ensconced in the world of teenagers. ‘Sex Education’ should be on your watch list if you love the exploits of Gen Z as depicted in ‘Generation.’
3. She’s Gotta Have It (2017-2019)
A Spike Lee creation, ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ is based on his eponymous 1986 film. The series centers on Nola Darling, an artist struggling to define her identity. Nola has to live through polyamory—her relationship with three lovers defines the storyline. Her romantic liaisons make her question her sexuality, a concurrence that we find in ‘Generation’ as well. ‘She’s Gotta Have it’ is a poignant exploration of female sexuality and queerness that brings forth a social stigma. Spike Lee’s credentials give this drama an edge that reflects the need for such a story in the era of cosmopolitanism.
2. Everything Sucks! (2018)
If we place the story of ‘Generation’ in the 90s, we have with us an eclectic yet underrated drama series called ‘Everything Sucks!’ The story follows the lives of teenagers at the Boring High School in Oregon of the 1990s. It is a pastiche of the erstwhile teen culture that saw a paradigm shift at the turn of the century. Despite the change in approach and conditions, the problems regarding teenage friendship and sexuality remain the same. If you want to relive the aftereffects of ‘Generation’ in a different decade, ‘Everything Sucks!’ is the go-to show.
1. Glee (2009-2015)
‘Glee’ is a musical comedy created by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy. It focuses on the exploits of a high school glee club called New Direction. The choir members have to work their way through internal dissonances, especially regarding relationships, social issues, and sexuality. Like the characters of ‘Generation,’ the choir members have to face the prejudices of a conservative worldview and try to accept their individuality without any compromise. The creators of the show drew inspiration from their own experiences to ground the narrative in reality.