Class Acts: 20 Best School TV Shows

From "The Wire" to "Welcome Back, Kotter," these campus-set series get an A+

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4. 'My So-Called Life'

If Daria captured the sarcastic diffidence it took to make it through high school as a Nineties alt-teen girl, My So-Called Life nailed the emotional sturm und drang of it all. The show did so by treating its audience with enough respect to not make any of its characters heroes or villains. Its lead, henna-haired Angela Chase, makes hard, even cutthroat decisions about who she gets close to; her beloved, Jordan Catalano, is gorgeous but deeply dumb; Brian Krakow is a proto-"nice guy," convinced only he truly deserves the love of the series' heroine. Friends Rickie and Raylene deal with heavy, heavy shit — homophobic abuse and addiction respectively — that, not incidentally, emphasize Angela's comparative privilege. Its sole season played out amid a wardrobe of flannel and a soundtrack of the Cranberries, but its strengths transcend the time-capsule trappings.

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