The Rundown: The Best TV Shows About School

I’m going to be totally honest: I kind of miss going to school everyday, especially at this time of year.

Sure, summer is usually pretty awesome, but there was always some cool about the first couple days of the school year, where you catch up with old friends, learn about the new kids that moved to town (usually me) and dive head-first into your initial crush of the year.

And so in honour of kids returning to the classroom this week, here’s a look at some of our favourite shows set in and around school.

Saved By The Bell

Why not start with one of the all-time greats right off the bat? The students at Bayside taught us a ton of lessons on Saturday mornings (and then again in syndication weekdays after school) and have become a treasure trove of post-SBTB Internet awesomeness since moving on.

Welcome Back, Kotter

Hey there, Mr. Kot-ter! It’ll be too old for some reading this list, but Gabe Kaplan and his classroom full of Sweathogs are legends in the “shows set in schools” genre. I think one of them even went on to become a famous star and eventually butcher some ladies name at an awards ceremony or something.


No matter what version you’re talking about, this Canadian gem has to get mentioned. Whether you watched Joey Jeremiah or Wheelchair Jimmy (who now calls himself Drake), the point is you watched. Everyone has watched Degrassi at some point in their lives and that makes it an automatic for this list.

Gossip Girl

Yes, the show revolved around the lives of mostly spoiled, elitist New Yorkers, but they were high school (and eventually college) kids and a lot of the story arcs tied into how their actions impacted their lives, including at school. Plus, you have to admit that Gossip Girl had some of the best character names around: Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Rufus Humphrey, Chuck Bass.


Speaking of a show about the lives of teens starring non-teenage actors… Seriously, how old was Luke Perry when he was cast? 30? 35? He was actually only 24. Anyway, 90210 gave us rapping David Silver, sultry Kelly Kapowski, crazy Emily Valentine and future Sharknado star Ian Ziering. What more could you ask for?

21 Jump Street

On the plus side, this show introduced Johnny Depp to the masses. Working against it, however, is the fact that it has spawned one good and one awful feature film, with another, which I can only assume will be horrible, in the works.



Veronica Mars

What happens when you drop a detective series into a high school and have Kristen Bell play the lead? What happens is something magical, Marshmallows.

Freaks & Geeks

Honestly, with all the garbage remakes and reboots and second chances being handed out in Hollywood these days, how have we not gotten Freaks & Geeks back yet? On second thought, having just one magical season is something to hold on to and cherish and it can never be sullied. This show was perfection.

Friday Night Lights

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose! Go Panthers!

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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