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May 8, 2009

Teen Screen Time

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

Even in this media-saturated world, it can be hard to find entertainment that's teen-friendly, positive, and--let's not forget--actually entertaining. You've found Teen Ink, so you're on the right track, but we're not presumptive enough to imagine that your media consumption stops with one website and monthly magazine.

All the Top Models, Gossips, and Idols out there can leave teens feeling unsatisfied, bored or even insulted--just read our giant collection of teen-written reviews to find that out! Smart teens demand equally smart entertainment. If you're looking for some better-than-average teen television, we've got your answer in this list. But remember to read all our reviews to get up-to-the-minute intelligent takes on all your favorite shows.

-Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A fun, feminist show with plenty of action (and yes, vampires), "Buffy" tackles high school issues through a fantasy/horror lens. You'll find that nearly every episode, especially in the earlier seasons, is a metaphor for something that real teens face every day--whether it's the girl no one notices actually becoming invisible, or graduation turning into an epic battle between the seniors and a giant demon.

-Project Runway. Unlike so many reality shows out there, the contestants on Project Runway are serious about their fashion design careers, and they're seriously talented, too. If you're looking for some light 'reality' entertainment that won't (usually) insult your intelligence, this is the way to go.

-Firefly. Another show from the always brilliant Joss Whedon (who also created "Buffy"), this flash-in-the-pan series lasted only one season, but gained such a huge cult following on DVD that it eventually spawned a feature film, comic book series, and online role-playing game. It's half science fiction, half western, and it's full of the strong characters and whip-smart dialogue for which Whedon is so famous.

-Battlestar Galactica. Another sci-fi show, but don't discount it based on its genre. At its heart, "Galactica" is a strongly written interpersonal drama that just happens to be set in space. This reincarnation is a far cry from the 1970s original--there are no cape-wearing, cackling villains or monkeys in dog suits here. It can get rather violent and steamy at times, though, so younger teens might want to look elsewhere. Still, the complex storyline, gender equality (the president and the best fighter pilot are both women) and fantastic world-building make this show definitely worth a look for older teens.

It can be hard to sift through all the media chaff, but take heart--there are creative people out there making great entertainment, if you're willing to take the time to find it. Remember to read our teen-written reviews--and you should definitely write your own, too!

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