Any show where the central focus is on teenagers, their angst, pimples, and/or clothes. Best describes shows like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dawson's Creek (or anything else on The WB or The CW, really). Most likely place to find the Very Special Episode.
The kind of show where everyone's too old and too short to be teenagers, they have to bring new people in, the men keep taking their shirts off, there are no more than two non-white main characters, and anyone over a specific age is bad news.
See also Kid Com which also features teenage protagonists and many of the same tropes, but generally in a far more light hearted manner. Young Adult fiction is the rough literary equivalent of the teen drama. Compare Soap Opera and Prime Time Soap.
When the lens is reversed to focus on the flaws of the kids' entire families, it's Stepford Suburbia.
- Seventh Heaven
- Beverly Hills, 90210, both the trope codifying original and the Revival.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl - Even if they are cats and dogs.
- Blue Water High
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Caitlins Way
- Dance Academy
- Dawsons Creek
- All versions of the Degrassi franchise (except the original Kids of Degrassi Street):
- The 21st century parts of The Dreamer can count as this.
- Freaks and Geeks. Made by future comedy overlord Judd Apatow, and stars many actors that went on to be famous through his movies. Lasted only one season, but became a Cult Classic in the process.
- Gigantic: the Teen Nick show about the teenage children of celebrities.
- Gossip Girl
- Greek, although it's set in college.
- Joan of Arcadia's second season, thanks to Executive Meddling that wound up killing the show.
- JONAS L.A. The prequel falls under Sitcom category.
- Khaos Komix is another webcomic example.
- My So-Called Life was a Deconstruction of the over-the-top teen dramas of The Nineties. It is also considered a classic of the genre, despite lasting only one season.
- The OC
- One Tree Hill
- Party of Five
- Patito Feo
- Point Pleasant
- Pretty Little Liars, which started out as a book series.
- Privileged. Although the twins are not the main characters, their actions and crises drive a lot of the plot.
- The Secret Life of the American Teenager
- Shut Up Flower Boy Band
- Smallville was one of these, before the Sci Fi and geeky Comic Book fanservice took over.
- South of Nowhere: A Teen Nick drama. Unusual because it had a 30 running time for the most part.
- The Tribe. A post-apocalyptic teen drama from New Zealand.
- The Vampire Diaries
- Veronica Mars -- Teen Drama meets Film Noir.
- Yu Me Dream is a Web Comic teen drama.
- Brilliantly spoofed in an episode of Stargate SG-1, "200", with a scene showing SG-1 recasted with "younger, edgier actors". See for yourself.
- Moody's Point, the hilariously over-the top Caitlin's Way parody on The Amanda Show.
- Teen Canyon is another Show Within a Show Dawson's Creek-like parody, this time on Disney's animated series The Weekenders.
- The OC had a Show Within a Show called "The Valley". The characters frequently made remarks about it that lampshaded some of the cliches teen dramas (including The OC itself) exhibited.
- Constantly the subject of spoof on sketch shows.
- Mad TV had one memorable sketch entitled "Pretty White Kids With Problems", which was the inspiration for this trope's alternative name.
- Saturday Night Live, during Blake Lively's hosting gig, parodied Gossip Girl with a spinoff set in Staten Island (for those who "hate the sophistication of Manhattan").
- Heavily spoofed, along with teen movie cliches, by Not Another Teen Movie.
- Penny Arcade gave us this gem: what would Star Wars be like if it was a WB TV show?
- Clone High.
- Strangers with Candy was a parody of both this and after-school specials. Most of the usual high school problems ("Am I cool? Should I rat out my friend?") belonged to the forty-six-year-old freshman main character and her teachers, while the teenage students were usually the only sane ones. There's also at least one horrible Spoof Aesop per episode.
- A Penny and Aggie strip parodied social networking sites and online media mergers by imagining them as teen drama characters.
- Sonny With a Chance has Mackenzie Falls.
- In the book Schooled by Gordon Korman, the main character Capricorn gets addicted to a show called Trigonometry and Tears, which, from the descriptions provided, is a very over-the-top relationship show. However, since Capricorn has no TV at his real house, he thinks it's the best thing ever (and tries to talk to the character).
- Total Drama Island parodies both teen dramas and reality shows.
- Parodied in the first episode of Sym-Bionic Titan with "High School Heights", an over-the-top drama where teens are making out in every shot and a character's dark secret is his inability to read, airing on "The WC".
- Family Guy did it.
Teen: Now I'm going to go to a lake and stare meaningfully at the sunset.
Voice Over: [singing] High school is so serious. These problems really matter.