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    10 Shows To Watch If You're As Disappointed By, Yet Oddly Obsessed With, "Cruel Summer" As I Am

    Why, Jeanette? Whyyyy?

    If you've clicked on this post, that means that you've either spent the last 10 weeks watching (read: obsessing over) Freeform's newest teen drama Cruel Summer...or you've at least heard of it.


    And if you're in either of those two categories, you might know that the season finale, which just aired, was full of some earth-shattering plot twists, particularly the one in the last two minutes of the episode.


    It was just announced the show has been renewed for Season 2! But that means waiting a whole year before engrossing ourselves in Skylin, Texas circa '93-'95. Here's a list of shows that might keep you satiated between now and then:

    1. Dare Me (2019–2020)


    Two girls in high school. A high school faculty member who is becoming maybe a little too close with one of them. One small town mystery. And. lots. of. secrets. Sound familiar? Available on Netflix, this is one teen drama that has enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.

    2. Veronica Mars (2004–2019)


    This one is a little less dark than Cruel Summer but it has the same mystery vibe and pre-2010s setting. Plus Kristen Bell and three seasons of snarky greatness (I pretend Season 4 didn't happen). Available on Hulu.

    3. Pretty Little Liars (2010–2017)

    HBO Max

    This one might be a little too twisty for Cruel Summer fans. But, if you're into it, you're in for seven seasons of one of the most iconic teen mysteries of the 21st century. It should at least be enough to keep you satisfied until Cruel Summer Season 2. Available on HBO Max.

    4. Finding Carter (2014–2015)


    An MTV original, this drama is about a girl who spent the last decade of her life believing her kidnapper was her mother. And when her actual family finds her, she doesn't know what to feel, or who to trust. Plenty of drama, mystery, and teen angst reminiscent of Cruel Summer to keep you interested. Available on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

    5. Riverdale (2017–Present)

    The CW/Netflix

    Based on the classic Archie Comics, Riverdale is a modern teen drama that requires a smidge more suspension of disbelief than Cruel Summer. With five seasons (and counting) to keep you busy, it'll be hard not to get sucked into this undeniably fictional world full of murders, betrayals, and lies. Available on Netflix.

    6. Gossip Girl (2007–2012)

    The CW

    The Upper East Side might seem a bit removed from Skylin, Texas, is. But what this show has in common with Cruel Summer is the secrets, the drama, and the mysteries. It will also have you constantly guessing who are the victims and who are the villains. Available on HBO Max.

    7. One Tree Hill (2003–2012)

    The CW

    This eight-season long classic teen drama isn't a mystery at its core in the same way Cruel Summer is, but it does have its fair share of dramatic plots, and storylines that keep you guessing. Also a love-to-hate villain of cast of characters that will constantly have you wondering who to side with. Available on Hulu.

    8. Tell Me Your Secrets (2021–Present)

    Amazon Video

    Chiara Aurelia, who plays Jeanette Turner in Cruel Summer, plays in this thriller/mystery. In this performance, Aurelia plays a completely different character just as realistically, and keeps you interested from the moment she appears on screen. Available on Amazon Video.

    9. Friday Night Lights (2006–2011)


    Also takes place in Texas. Also pre-2010. Something a little lighter for your palette assuming you've watched even half of the above shows on this list. However, if you're looking for a drama fix, it still has enough to keep you watching. Available on Hulu and Peacock.

    10. The Sinner (2017–Present)

    man yells "i am oon the fcking edge out here"

    Like Cruel Summer, The Sinner is directed by Jessica Biel. It's also an anthology like Cruel Summer is rumored to be, with a whole new storyline starting Season 2. It also includes gripping plot twists and imperfect, complex characters for three seasons that will have you wishing each one was just a bit longer. Available on Netflix.

    If you have any other recommendations for shows similar to Cruel Summer, let me know in the comments!

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