“The world is full of magic. You just have to believe in it. So make your wish. Do you have it? Good. Now believe in it with all your heart.”
It will take years for One Tree Hill fans to forget these words. Throughout nine seasons and 187 episodes, we have laughed, cried, and loved along with Lucas, Nathan, and the others. For almost a decade, we watched the group grow before our very eyes. As we learned precious lessons about friendship, loyalty, and responsibility from them, they are no longer television characters but companions in our journey to manhood.
Hence, when the series was canceled on April 4, 2012, many couldn’t bear to say goodbye. Though it is irreplaceable in our hearts, there are several shows like One Tree Hill that can also take you on a drive of emotions. If you are looking for another coming-of-age series to heal your nostalgia, this post is what you need!
What Makes One Tree Hill So Fascinating?
In case you need a refresher (all nine seasons of One Tree Hill are now available on Netflix, just so you know!), One Tree Hill tells the story of half-brother Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) Scott. Aside from a villainous father, the two share nothing in common. Through basketball, they grow attached and eventually become family. Yes, the plot does sound stretched at times, but it has done a great job in illustrating the vicissitudes of high school and college life.
The series is full of intricate, complicated, and perfectly imperfect relationships that anyone can relate to. The characters go so quickly from loathing to madly loving and not being able to separate from each other in just a few seasons – but that’s youth.
I wouldn’t be so surprised if you say that you were drawn to the love triangle between Lucas, Peyton, and Brooke. Peyton and Brooke, being besties, both end up dating Lucas at some point, some cheating does occur, but their bond is unshakable. Then there is the admirable friendship between Hailey and Lucas. The two have been there for each other since they both were children until they have their own children. Through many ups and downs, they face it together in every way.
One Tree Hill Trailer
Another thing that makes One Tree Hill a must-watch is that it doesn’t try to sugarcoat school life. The series exposes all the dark sides, from school shootings and love affairs to pregnancy scares and even psycho stalkers. It makes One Tree Hill relatable and gives it all the drama a good television show needs. Every episode is filled with engaging plots, surprising storylines, and unbelievable twists you can’t look away from!
Surviving high school is a stage everyone has to go through, and this stage was depicted painfully real in One Tree Hill. No matter who or where you are, you will still see a part of yourself in this series. That’s the reason why it still remains one of the best films for millions of viewers.
Top 13 Shows Like One Tree Hill
Now, though, as this cult phenomenon reached an end, it’s time for us to pay homage to similar series. If you are charmed by the story in One Tree Hill, I’m sure these shows below will attract you from the beginning!
Though it ended for a long time, The Wonder Years still holds the position of the “it” show. It tells the story of the strange and awkward kid Kevin Arnold who was on an adventure to find his own identity. He lived with a diligent father who held family values close to his chest and a mother with a strong sense to protect her family and her children.
The Wonder Years – Source: RollingStone
Written from a 13 years old teenager’s perspective, The Wonder Years delivers a great life message and will help teenagers prepare for their future love life. Even if you are an adult now and just want to feel a bit of nostalgia, this sitcom still can have you shed tears. After many years, the lessons and values The Wonder Years features are still relevant.
The show is rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.3/10 on IMDb. It is available on iTunes and Hulu.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Party Of Five (1994 – 2000)
Though less popular than most shows in this list, Party Of Five is considered “a smarter teen drama”. The show surrounds five siblings whose parents passed away in a traffic accident. That turns their lives upside down as they have to figure out their life paths.
Party Of Five discusses controversial topics such as domestic or substance abuse while addressing the mental effects of parental loss. It receives positive reviews from critics yet is not welcomed by many audiences. The series only gained attention when it won the Golden Globes for the Best Television Series. Party Of Five’s popularity significantly increased from that point onwards, continuing for three more seasons until the last episode in 2000.
The series is rated 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.8/10 on IMDb. If you are into tear-jerking and intense drama, Party Of Five is available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.
Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007)
Similar to One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls has intriguing characters that are neither good nor bad throughout the show.
The series is set in the small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Young Lorelai gave birth to her daughter, Rory, at the age of 16 and tried to raise her daughter alone. When the story begins, Rory is now 16, the same age as her mother when she was born. She just receives admission from a prestigious high school in Hartford but couldn’t afford the tuition fee. That forces Lorelai to seek help from the people she ran away from, her parents.
Though the series does discuss complex topics like sex and cheating, its approach is not as aggressive as One Tree Hill. Therefore, viewers who are looking for a show to chill would find Gilmore Girls more comfortable. Perhaps that’s why the series gained a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.1/10 on IMDb. The strong bond between Rory and her mother Lorelai and their relationship with other people in the town, though, is just as dramatic as One Tree Hill.
Gilmore Girls – Season 1 Recap
All 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls, plus the four episodes reboot, are now streaming worldwide on Netflix.
Degrassi: Next Generation (2001 – 2015)
Following the life of youngers living on Degrassi street, ‘Degrassi: Next Generation’ is another TV series that addresses the dark side of teenagers like racism, eating disorders and depression.
This Canadian television series was created by Linda Schuyler, who happened to be a school teacher before realizing her true passion for film production. Her knowledge about school life soon proved its value as Degrassi received much positive review shortly after being aired. The series was premiered in its hometown Canada before being adopted by MTV and introduced to American audiences.
This show is very suitable for you to binge-watch as it lasts for an excellent long forty seasons. After being canceled in 2015, a sequel called Degrassi: Next Class was featured on Netflix. If you are searching for heart-warming shows like One Tree Hill, you can watch Degrassi on Hulu or Netflix.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Veronica Mars (2004 – 2007)
What will you get if you combine high school angst and crime sleuthing? The ultimate result is Veronica Mars! Set in the fictional town of Neptune, Veronica Mars is all about a teenage girl who was once queen bee before the murder of her best friend turned her into an outcast.
Following her father (who is a sheriff), the girl starts familiarizing herself with the art of crime investigation. She assists her father with his cases while lowkey investigating the death of her friend.
If you look for Veronica Mars on search engineers, you will see that it scores 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.4/10 on IMDb. People only complain about one thing: It didn’t run long enough for them to enjoy. If you are tired of cheesy love stories, this blend of teen shows and mysterious drama is for you! Veronica Mars is now available on iTunes and Google Play Store.
Friday Night Lights (2006 – 2011)
Based on a 1990 book by Buzz Bissinger, Friday Night Lights tells the story of a high school football team and its coach. While bringing many sensitive topics to the table, such as domestic violence, racism, drugs, and sexuality, the show is still filled with heartfelt moments that touched many audiences.
Friday Night Lights – Source: US Weekly
Judging by the theme, some might assume that Friday Night Lights is only for sports fans to enjoy. However, the lessons in this show apply to everyone. A rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 8.6/10 on IMDb are proofs for that. As a Reddit user wrote, the world in Friday Night Lights is the future for those making it to high school.
The final episode of this series was aired in 2011. Friday Night Lights is no longer available on Netflix, but you can binge-watch all five seasons on Amazon Prime.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Greek (2007 – 2011)
What’s so fun about frat house life? Watch Greek, and you will find the answer! Starring Jacob Zachar and Spencer Grammer as Rusty and Casey Cartwright, this comedy series depicts the life of university students as they take part in fraternities and sororities under the “Greek system”.
In several teenage series, sororities are often an object to make fun of. The best thing about Greek is that the movie doesn’t create a ridiculous image of a Greek organization. Though having stereotypical sorority and fraternity, everything is depicted in a humorous and likable fashion. Just as user Booksrbest13 wrote on IMDb, this show has given many individuals great respect for Greek life as a whole, regardless of whether or not they are a fan of the system in real life.
The series receives a rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 7.5/10 on IMDb. All four seasons are now available for purchase on iTunes.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Skins (2007 – 2013)
If you are more into light-hearted teenage shows, Skins might not be the right choice. This British show follows a group of high schoolers who deal with their daily troubles, struggle with school, and face issues that can plague their youth.
In each episode, you shall be introduced to an individual, delve into their problems and possible ways out. In six years, Skins lasted for seven seasons before finally delivered a glorious ending in 2013. With many awards and nominations, the show was a success in Britain and became a part of British pop culture. The introduction to the US audience wasn’t as fruitful, though, as it was canceled shortly after one season.
The series receives a high rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2% on IMDb. It is now streaming on Netflix.
Beverly Hills 90210 (2009 – 2015)
Starring Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Ian Ziering, and Shannen Doherty, Beverly Hills 90210 centers around a group of eight teenagers whose parents’ wealth is at their disposal. However, their life is not all about luxury cars, penthouses, and endless travels. The topics they discuss are things ordinary teenagers today are going through. From pregnancy and suicide to drug abuse, there is no problem in Beverly Hills that is off-limit.
Beverly Hills 90210 Cast – Source: Chicago Tribune
At the time it was aired, Beverly Hill was considered a strange show. The concept of authenticity wasn’t familiar for teenage dramas in 90s teen dramas, and it is safe to say that this series was the first one to address the issue. Some comments on Reddit and Quora acknowledge Beverly Hill 90210 as the one who sets the standard for a brand new wave of iconic teen dramas.
The series ran for 10 seasons, each of which consists of around 32 episodes. You can download all of them on Apple iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Video.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Glee (2009 – 2015)
It will be a mistake not to include Glee in this list! 2009 to 2015 is the golden period for high school musical fans as Glee ultimately ruled the television. Set the background at the fictional William McKinley High school, the series tells the story of a group of students who formed the singing Glee club.
Interestingly, the show was heavily criticized when it was first on-air. Most reviews talk about Glee’s racy photoshoots of its stars playing high schoolers, about its relatively realistic portrayal of teen sex and drinking. Starting from season 2, though, it gradually gained rapturous applause and many loyal fans across the globe. If you are keen on teen dramas full of songs and dances, I highly recommend Glee all the way!
Stereo Hearts – Glee Cast
The show receives a rating of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.7/10 on IMDb. Glee has gathered nineteen Emmy Awards nominations and four from the Golden Globe, and fifty-seven other awards throughout six years. That’s an awe-inspiring achievement for a coming-of-age TV series. You can always purchase it on iTunes or Google Play and enjoy one of the best music series!
Parenthood (2010 – 2015)
If you are looking for shows like Friday Night Lights or One Tree Hill, Parenthood is a must to watch! Jason Katims produced both Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Therefore, they share one similar topic: Issues from multiple generations in a family.
Set in Berkeley, California, the series revolves around a family of three generations: Grandparents, their children in the 40s, and the children’s kids ranging from college-aged to younger. Though following a big family, the show doesn’t miss out on any of them. Viewers will familiarize themselves with each member of the Braverman and discover their secrets: Asperger’s, alcoholism, and relationship issues like cheating.
The show earned a rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2/10 on IMDb. If you are interested, you can purchase Parenthood on iTunes, Google Play, Or Amazon Prime.
Shows Like One Tree Hill – Faking It (2014 – 2016)
Faking It follows two high school girls who were mistaken as a lesbian couple by their classmates. When the confusion’s gone, they decide to go with the flow to boost their school popularity.
For the first few episodes, they considered the show mediocre. As it progressed, though, audiences began to realize that there was a lot more to Faking It than superficial teenagers. One of the girls is actually a lesbian, with genuine feelings for the other.
If you are adding this series to your list, prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride of sexualities! After two years of delighting, educating, and providing viewers with the most sexually and gender-diverse cast in recent movie history, Faking It gloriously ended in 2016 with a rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.4/10 on IMDb. It is now available on iTunes and Google Play Store.
American Vandal (2017 – 2018)
American Vandal Trailer
In American Vandal, you will follow Peter, a passionate student documentarian, and his buddy Sam as they try to discover the culprit who sprays penises on the teachers’ cars. Yes, you are not reading it wrong! Using the mockumentary style of filming, this unique 2017 series takes a jab at true crime documentaries by adding a touch of parody.
With a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2/10 on IMDb, the series receives compliments for its originality and quirkiness. According to users, American Vandal is “funny and dark at the same time”.
If you are not into long shows and only find something to binge-watch during the weekend, you might be glad to know that American Vandal only lasts for two seasons. Both are now streaming on Netflix – the platform that canceled it.
A Final Thought
Best Shows Like One Tree Hill – Source: Digital Spy
There you have it, the list of 13 best shows like One Tree Hill! Of course, nothing can replace this legendary since it has become iconic in our pop culture. Still, to fill the void and relive your nostalgia, these series are worth trying as well. Just choose one of them, grab your popcorns, and enjoy a pleasant weekend with your family or friends!
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