One of the influential teen dramas of the early 2000s, The O.C. served as an inspiration for numerous other dramas of a similar nature over time. The show is set in an affluent Orange County beach neighborhood, where adolescent troublemaker Ryan Atwood is taken in by the wealthy Cohen family and must adjust to a new reality.
The show had a long-lasting influence on popular culture, from Chrismukkah to Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts, and romance in a 2000s-inspired style. Despite the sudden conclusion of Season 4, The O.C. was able to give its characters a happy ending.
Teen dramas with comparable forbidden loves, seductive summer locations, and underdog protagonists became popular when The O.C.’s cast became well-known. So, we are here with 8 such similar recommendations to watch next.
1. Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007)
Stream on Netflix
Gilmore Girls, one of the greatest female-driven television programs of the 2000s, gives its older characters narratives that are as compelling and rich as those of its teenagers. Amy Sherman-Palladino has created this amazing show featuring actors like Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham.
Rory, the daughter of Lorelai Gilmore, is the main subject of Gilmore Girls. Rory was Lorelai’s 16-year-old daughter, whom she raised by herself. Their everyday lives are followed on the show as Rory navigates the demands of high school and Lorelai pursues her work as a hotel manager.
Both programs successfully maintain the distinct narratives’ level of interest, bringing different viewpoints on the same issues together into a single struggle. Gilmore Girls, like The O.C., strikes a nice mix between comedy and drama.
2. Surviving Summer (2022 -)
Stream on Netflix
Summer Torres, a disturbed adolescent who finds herself living in a seaside village and learns about surfing, is the protagonist of the show. Summer Torres played by Sky Katz, bears a striking resemblance to The O.C. owing to her careless actions. Summer is forced to live in a small Australian town with family friends, where she makes a lot of new acquaintances and develops a love for surfing.
The idea of a stranger in paradise is taken from The O.C. and used to create an intriguing sporting scenario in Surviving Summer. This storyline ultimately impacts the main character. Surviving Summer is a must-watch for fans of The O.C.’s Johnny and its summertime setting.
3. One Tree Hill (2003-2012)
Stream on Hulu, HBO Max, Apple TV and Prime Video
The O.C. and One Tree Hill both debuted around the same time, which explains why they have a lot in common. The plot focuses on half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott and develops as they work through their differences in the real world and on the basketball court.
The primary characters struggle with their problems as they mature in this small town setting, where it is difficult to maintain secrets. Characters on One Tree Hill are handled similarly to those on The O.C.; they are introduced as simple targets for hatred but go through amazing transformations that completely change them.
Similar shifts lead to the emergence of beloved characters, such as Brooke from One Tree Hill and Summer from The O.C. One of the main things that made the 8th season of One Tree Hill so successful was the unique plots that many of the protagonists had.
4. 90210 (2008-2013)
Stream on The CW
In 90210, two siblings migrate from Kansas to Beverly Hills and adjust to the notoriously high-class way of life. Ryan’s journey in The O.C., where he moves from a low-income, violent area to an opulent, luxurious home, related very much to 90210’s deft handling of the cultural shift in a high school setting.
While 90210 concentrates only on the wealthy lifestyle of Beverly Hill residents, allowing viewers to experience life happily via its attractive characters, The O.C. offers an intriguing perspective into the class struggle by fighting the problems of disadvantaged students against the upper classes.
Again, an interesting and engaging series to watch, making the audience realize the cultural difference between the lower class and the upper-class community.
5. Riverdale (2017 – 2023)
Stream on Apple TV, Netflix, and Prime Video
The entire cast of Riverdale is made up of characters from the vintage comic book Archie, and each episode has conflicts and collisions among them. Its characters and plot are quite diversified and geared toward the future. It makes extensive use of current pop culture and has multiple protagonists who are LGBTQ+.
Riverdale gained notoriety in its early seasons for its central themes of mystery, adolescent angst, and the shabby underbelly of a picture-perfect small town. The show frequently looked at issues like family, relationships, secrets, and the fallout from the decisions made by the characters.
Without a doubt, the characters of Riverdale inspire us. The character Archie is always there for his friends whenever in need. You can surely add this series to your wishlist if you like The OC.
6. Outer Banks (2020 -)
Stream on Netflix
Beyond the remote beach village backdrop, there are a lot of parallels between The O.C. and Outer Banks. Even though they are both teen dramas, the story mostly focuses on the protagonists’ personal lives, with the high school environment left out of the frame.
The main character in Outer Banks, John B, is comparable to Ryan in many aspects because he is a nuisance who feels alienated in the neighborhood. He also develops feelings for a beautiful local girl, and the two embark on a wild, ups and downs relationship which is similar to the story of Ryan and Marissa, the most endearing pair on The O.C.
7. Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)
Streaming on Prime Video, Hulu, HBK Max and Apple TV
The show Dawson’s Creek served as a platform for series such as The O.C., presenting an ensemble of central characters coping with puberty: Jen Lindley, Pacey Witter, Dawson Leery, and Jen Leery. Although Dawson’s Creek is an average town, there’s a fascinating contrast between The O.C.’s lavish homes and cars and Dawson’s Creek’s little coastal town. The connections to The O.C. go further than that.
Because its people and stories are more real than those of The O.C., Dawson’s Creek is superior in several aspects. However, the interactions between the four major characters in both series are distinct and go beyond the conventional high school setting. The story is pushed in an inventive and captivating way with worries about the future, the necessity for change, and accidental romances.
8. Ginny & Georgia (2021 –)
Stream on Netflix
After The OC, check out this fantastic series. This American dramedy show by Sarah Lampert features a 30-year-old woman, her daughter, and her son. Their struggles are promptly shown in this series.
The story revolves around the main characters, Georgia Miller, her teenage daughter Ginny, and her son Austin. The real-life struggles begin when Georgia’s husband dies, and they escape a dark past and make a fresh start in an affluent neighborhood called Wellsbury. However, one cannot run away from their problems and that’s the main motive of the series. Ginny & Georgia is an amazing series that has few similarities with The OC.