Who's better? Brandon Walsh or Seth Cohen? Dylan McKay or Ryan Atwood? Dawson Leery, or...a fat pigeon drowning in its own fesces? (couldnt think of anyone as ridiculous as Dawson)

It is constantly debated as to which mainstream Teen Drama's are superior,The likes of Beverly Hills 90210, or today's "The OC". Many will argue that 90210 is the real deal and cannot be beaten simply because it was a revolutionary show, covering all the topics that have simply been reproduced by other TV shows since, each taking a fresh perspective on the subjects. The issues of drug abuse, relationships, alcoholism, affairs, illness and death had been covered during the lucrative run of 90210 which lasted over ten years, but it seems as though teen tv since then has not produced any 100%original storylines, as much as take the ones portrayed by its predecessors and approach them from another angle. However, lately, with the introduction of a new programme named "The O.C", a promise of groundbreaking storylines is evident. Only two seasons into its run, the OC has already covered each topic mentioned above, in abundance, topics which were spaced across the entire ten years of Aaron Spelling's 90210. Because this is the case, one of two futures is possible for the OC, either it will cover new ground and break the mould and revolutionise teen television again, or it will sink after three or four seasons and become remembered for putting yet another spin on topics that have been done to death in the last two decades.

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When we think of 90210 now, does it even compare in terms of nail biting entertainment to the likes of The OC? It was an impressive programme in its day, and i believe that it still holds a lot for the audiences of today to take interest in. If nothing else, people will notice it for its similarities to every teen show this generation has to offer. We can compare the alcoholism of Dylan McKay (90210) to the alcoholism of Kirsten Cohen(The OC), and realise that it is essentially, the same story reproduced with a few minor changes.

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Although we recognise Beverly Hills and the OC as being massively unrealistic and completely disproportionate, combining both an exaggerated idea of teenage life, and an abundance of humour, somewhere in between, two far more realistic and (in the true sense of the word) dramatic shows cropped up. "Party Of Five" and "Dawson's creek", although again, a rehashing of storylines, approached them from a far more dramatic point of view, particularly in the case of Party Of Five, a show thats concept alone places it in a league of its own in that the childrens parents have been killed in an accident six months previous to the first episode, therefore, every problem they are faced with, they must solve amongst themselves without having the safety net of parental guidance in the most difficult period of their lives. The characters in this programme, and in Dawsons Creek face much of the forementioned obstacles as seen in every frickin' teen drama, but the humour is lessened, and due to the fact that the characters in these shows were not rich beyond their wildest dreams, they were in my opinion, more believable, and easier to identify with than the characters from those other two shows. You know the ones I'm talkin' bout....the ones set in California.

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An example of just how different these shows portray similar scenario's can be seen when we compare 1996's intervention episode of "Party Of Five" and 2005's intervention episode of "The OC". In the OC, the fact that Kirsten Cohen may be an alcoholic is avoided by most of the characters for the entire episode, until her husband, Sandy (Peter Gallagher) calls for an intervention. The scene itself took place in the final episode of season 2 and was not half as emotional as you would expect one of those interventions to be. But thats the OC for you. Things happen fast, they go sour fast, and the problems are resolved fast, but thats the beauty of the show. Each episode contains enough excitement and twists to be a short film. "Party Of Fives" creators however (Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman) sought to express the distress that Bailey's (Scott Wolf) alcoholism had caused for his family and friends. Problems had been escalating for almost an entire season, building up to the point of the intervention which made for exciting and dramatic viewing. The intervention scene itself involved a lot more tears and shouting than the OC's, which, ya gotta admit, is a bit more like the image we have of interventions.

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Now that weve got the serious dramatic stuff covered, lets talk about Dawsons Creek. A show that had so much promise when that first episode graced our screens, turned out to be a bunch of moany so and so's crying at each other on tv for an hour every week over their teenage relationships. The problems portrayed in this show were so friggin' miniscule in comparison to the others mentioned. Although the performances from the actors themselves were great, it is the fact that a good 75% of that shows run was based around the Joey and Dawson, will they, won't they thing that was really annoying, especially when they didnt get together at the end. Of course a few small roadblocks were placed in the show for the characters such as Jack ,being gay and Andie, being a manic depressive, with humour provided courtesy of Pacey Witter. Other than this however, the show is just a bland portrayal of ordinary teenage life but I'm sure that many people disagree. I just feel that there was so much youthful talent on display in the show, that could have been put to better use.

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The craze, started by 90210 is still going strong today, and is evident in the likes of the OC. You may argue that the shows have all bettered each of their predecessors, with The OC now being the cream of the crop, and you may be right, but without the existence of Beverly Hills 90210, would the other shows have still been made? It is obvious that they in some way, shape or form, take inspiration from the programme, and the evolution of teen drama's in the past two decades is perhaps partially due to a passing of the torch so to speak from one show to the next. Each show thus far has been some form of modernisation of the previous ones, with party of five being the most original in terms of concept, and now we can look forward to the future of teen drama which will hopefully feature a long run from the OC.

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