A teen drama is a type of drama series with a major focus on teenage characters. The genre was relatively non-existent for the first 45 years of television. It came into prominence in the early 1990s, especially with the popularity of the series Beverly Hills, 90210. After the show became a success, television writers and producers realized the potential for this new genre to reach out to a previously ignored demographic. In the past, most series with a focus on teenagers had been sitcoms, while adolescents in drama series were usually part of a larger ensemble that included adults and children.
Teen dramas, more often than not, have soap opera elements, with one or more ongoing story arcs spanning several episodes. The young characters must deal with the dramatic ups and downs of their friendships and romances while facing an array of issues thought to be typical of adolescence. There have also been many successful teen-based series with major themes of science fiction, fantasy, and action/adventure. Most of these shows have a substantial amount of comic relief.