HBO Max’s new series, Generation, expertly displays the capstone of being a teenager


The main poster for HBO’s newest alt-teen drama, Generation.

Up until quite recently, I struggled greatly with my teenage identity. While my sophomore self enjoyed time spent wasting away in music-filled rooms and turning all her work in on time, the person I’ve become is far different. She likes pushing things to their due date and hanging out with her friends.

Nevertheless, no matter who I am at a certain moment, I find myself constantly questioning if I’m “high schooler” enough. Am I enjoying the unadulterated freedoms of this time as much as I should be? When I’m older, will I look back on this with contentment instead of guilt for not doing more?

This mentality was unquestionably enforced in me by my early exposer to teen dramas, a sub-section of content that can be so inconceivably inaccurate to the true lives of teenagers. It is no question that my 13-year-old self should not have been indulging in programs such as Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, these being the polar opposite of the life of a high schooler, or any life for that matter.

Yet, series such as these still serve as such a comfort in my life. Moving past my skewed self-image, the inaccuracies often ease my many questions and anxieties. They are guilty pleasures, plain and simple.

And, as I’ve aged, shows such as these have grown with me. Programs such as Grand ArmyI Am Not Okay With This, and Euphoria claim the spots as some of my favorite shows due to their adapted similarities to my comfort genre. However, instead of portraying many untruths, they instead contain a depth of writing and roundness of character that makes them so much more appealing than those from my late adolescence.

I found it fascinating that the colors and settings of these separate scenes paralleled so exactly with the progression of the plot.

So when I discovered that HBO Max was releasing a new series under this refreshing genre, I absolutely knew I had to check it out.

Generation follows a group of eight high schoolers navigating their sexualities and personalities within a tumultuous social and political climate, all while building new relationships with one another. Each episode jumps from perspective to perspective and through time, as the plot funnels into one climactic event near the end. While hints are slowly dropped throughout, the story strays from one character to the other as the story builds on top of itself.

One fascinating part of this series was the usage of camera angles and colors. Like its HBO sister series, Euphoria, wide panel shots were utilized to embody the energy of certain scenes. On top of this, different hues were sprinkled throughout to further the plot.

A primary example of this can be seen when Greta (Haley Sanchez), Riley (Chase Sui Wonders), and Chester (Justice Smith) all go to the aquarium together. As they drive through the streets and spend time with one another, the prominent colors are tones of yellow and orange, while their destination and certain realizations signify a switch to blues and aquamarines.

While warm colors often mean joy, youth, and optimism, cooler tones resonate with trust, compassion, and clarity. I found it fascinating that the colors and settings of these separate scenes paralleled so exactly with the progression of the plot. And within these colors, many of the conversations that characters share can feel so real. From sharing struggles to giving advice or having a laugh, there is an aspect of mine, and I assume many other’s experiences, within the main eight personas.

To boot, this show is no exception in the soundtrack category compared to its fellow coming-of-age shows. I found myself identifying certain tracks in each episode, feeling grounded by the presence of music that I can vibe with.

Overall, Generation is just another step in redefining the teen drama category. Relatable characters, friendships, struggles, and conversations help shows such as this to single-handedly save the genre that I have found so much comfort within. Not only that, but they help it grow to newly admirable heights.