HBO’s “Generation” is One of the Most Realistic Teen Dramas

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Warrick Page/HBO Max

In one of the promotional release images of “Generation,” the young ensemble cast stands strongly together.

Ever since the release of “Euphoria,” HBO has been producing a wide variety of teen dramas including the long-awaited “Gossip Girl” reboot; however, one new HBO drama that has caught my eye is “Generation.”

Created by Daniel Barnz and his 19-year-old daughter, Zelda Barnz, “Generation” is a show that not enough people are talking about. This show focuses on a group of high schoolers as they discover who they are in the world. It captures a glimpse into their different lives, and any teenager that lives in a suburb can easily relate to any of the characters.

One of the actresses on the show, Lukita Maxwell, tells W Magazine the powerful impact this show could have on teenagers: “I didn’t have that support to be able to talk to any of my friends about queerness or how I felt in my racial identity…‘Generation’ is for kids out there like me; I needed this show when I was that age, just to know that there were kids going through the same thing.”

“Generation” is also a breath of fresh air compared to other shows that constantly sexualize young teens. For years, many critics and viewers have called out the adultification of high schoolers on TV. Whether it is the grown adults who typically play sophomores in high school like “Riverdale” or the casual display of nudity like “Tiny Pretty Things,” both adults and teens alike have expressed concern over many teen dramas.

This is the reason why Zelda Barnz felt inspired to start writing “Generation” at only 17. She originally planned this story as a novel; but after talking to her father who is a director and screenwriter, they realized this story had greater potential and took it to HBO.

Barnz tells The Hollywood Reporter, “We wanted to make sure with casting that our kids looked young and looked like real high schoolers. Watching a lot of teen shows, it can make a lot of teenagers self-conscious because the casting does tend to be people in their late 20s playing teenagers.”

“Generation” is a prime example of why it is necessary to get real teenagers’ input when creating a show revolving around them. Being a teenager herself, Zelda Barnz knew exactly what teens hated about dramas and what they loved about them. There are still iconic fashion moment, beautiful visuals, and top tier acting; however, the realistic portrayal of teen life is the icing on top.