Teenagers (often stylized as teenagers) is a Canadian web series created by M. H. Murray and Sara Tamosauskas. With an ensemble cast that includes former Degrassi stars Chloe Rose and Raymond Ablack, Teenagers presents various storylines in the form of vignettes and focuses on social issues such as teen angst, racism, violence, slut-shaming, and sexuality.
The first season premiered on YouTube in early 2014. The second season premiered online July 26, 2015; the first episode of the second season subsequently went viral on YouTube. A third and final season premiered online November 5, 2017.
Since its release, Teenagers has amassed more than 10 million combined views online and has received numerous accolades, including an Indie Series Award, several IAWTV Award nominations, and a Canadian Screen Award nomination.
Teenagers initially attracted media attention because its cast included former Degrassi stars Chloe Rose and Raymond Ablack. Louis Chunovic of Playback published a piece on the series, writing that “the young creators of Teenagers had to have plenty of luck, pluck, talent, and grit to get this far. And that portends a Hollywood ending”.
M. H. Murray—who wrote, directed, and edited the series—began working on the concept in 2013 when he was 19 years old and in film school. When interviewed about his inspirations for Teenagers, Murray said:
I think John Hughes wrote teenage characters so honestly and authentically, but something has gotten lost in translation since then. Today, it feels like a lot of teenage characters are written very clean or flashy and that just wasn’t my reality growing up in the new millennium. Growing up is messy.
Speaking to IndieWire, Murray claimed that he created the series as a response to “white-washed” teen-driven television that he watched while growing up, such as One Tree Hill; he also criticized what he perceived as a lack of people of color and LGBT characters on television that weren’t “evil, damaged, or hyper-sexualized”.
All three seasons of the series were filmed in and around Mississauga on a shoe-string budget. The first two seasons of the series were funded “out of pocket”. Murray approached actor Emmanuel Kabongo with the scripts and asked him to help produce the series, and they subsequently cast the rest of the characters together using actors from Toronto. Sara Tamosauskas co-wrote the first season alongside Murray. Kabongo ultimately served as executive producer for the first season, in addition to acting in all three seasons of the series.
For the second and third seasons of the series, Orphan Black director T.J. Scott served as executive producer. Garrett Hnatiuk, who portrays Porky in the series, co-wrote the second season with Murray. Murray wrote the third season by himself.