Like Spain’s Gossip Girl, only deadlier, Netflix’s thrilling drama series Elite became a clear fan-favorite series after the first season’s release in October 2018. The series stars Itzan Escamilla as Samuel “Samu” García Domínguez, a teenage boy who is sent to the prestigious private school in town on scholarship when his public school collapses. He is joined by two other scholarship students, Mina El Hammani’s Nadia Shanaa and Miguel Herrán’s Christian Varela Expósito. Feeling like fish in a sea of sharks, the trio must navigate this new cutthroat world of privilege and influence in order to survive.
The first season unravels on two timelines — one, as Samu and the others first arrive and adjust to the new school and their new classmates, and two, months in the future, as police investigate the death of a classmate named Marina, played by María Pedraza. Combining murder mystery with teen drama, Elite continues to dominate the streaming platform, with Season 4 launched on June 18, 2021.
After bingeing the new season, and while you wait for Season 5 coming next year, you’ll need some new shows to fill the Elite-sized hole in your heart. Here are seven shows within the same vein as Elite that are sure to keep you occupied and obsessed for a while.
An Italian teen drama, Baby is about two teenage girls who go to an elite high school in Rome. One is Chiara (Benedetta Porcaroli), a privileged, rich girl who is bored with her normal life, and the other is Ludovica (Alice Pagani), a loner in need of money who befriends Chiara. Painting it as an adventure, Ludovica draws Chiara into the world of sex work, bringing trouble and danger into both of their lives.
Inspired by actual events in 2013 and 2014 concerning two underage Italian teenage girls who got involved with a prostitution ring, Chiara and Ludovica start a second life as sex workers when they aren’t at home or in school. While Chiara is drawn in by the cash to buy luxury goods and the illusion of what this life could be like, Ludovica is encouraged to do sex work by her mother to help pay for bills and other family needs.
With three seasons total on Netflix, Baby is a practically perfect option if you are looking for something similar to Elite for your next watch. Gritty and dramatic, the show is a coming-of-age tale about two young women’s search for independence gone wrong.
Streaming on Netflix
Who Killed Sara?
Another Spanish-language series, Who Killed Sara? is a mystery thriller from Mexico that stars Manolo Cardona as Álex Guzmán, a man on a mission to avenge the murder of his sister, Sara, a crime he has been wrongfully convicted of and serving time for over the last 18 years. The day of his sister’s death, Álex, Sara, her boyfriend Rodolfo Lazcano (Alejandro Nones), and a few other friends go on the Lazcano family boat. Sara is the first to try out a new parasailing parachute, but the strap snaps while she’s in the air, leading her to fall and suffer mortal injuries. Well, it turns out that the parachute strap is tampered with before she parasails, and the Lazcano family frame Álex for the crime.
Finally released from prison nearly two decades later, Álex starts investigating the Lazcano family, slowly uncovering more and more secrets about everyone in the family, as well as the sister he thought he knew so well. Ximena Lamadrid plays the title character, as the show continually features flashbacks to Sara’s life before her untimely death. With two seasons out so far, it’s still unclear who’s guilty of Sara’s death, but the show consistently reveals more information to create an intriguing story of privilege and manipulation that leaves you wanting more.
Streaming on Netflix
A UK series that started airing way back in 2007, Skins focuses on a group of teenage friends in Bristol, South West England, who have an affinity for getting in trouble. With a unique structure, the show centers around a group of characters for two seasons before switching to another group and another story, with six seasons total. Wrapping up the story of a few fan-favorite characters, Skins also has a pseudo-Season 7, which consists of three two-part movies. Written and produced in part by the young actors themselves and other teenagers, the series presents a relatively realistic portrayal of the dark side of teenage life. It’s definitely ramped up, with Season 4 even having a murder, but overall it’s quite honest, addressing sexuality, drug use, family issues, PTSD, and more.
If you haven’t heard of the series before, Skins happens to feature many British actors who, while relatively unknown at the time (for many it was their first acting role), now rule Hollywood. A few names you might recognize include Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) as Tony Stonem, Dev Patel (The Green Knight) as Anwar, and Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones) as Chris, and Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) as Effie Stonem. Another actor who had a small appearance in early seasons of Skins is Daniel Kaluuya, who just won an Academy Award for Judas and the Black Messiah.
Streaming on Hulu
A USA Network series that was unjustly cancelled after one season and eventually made its way to Netflix, Dare Me is a teen drama created by Megan Abbott, who also wrote the book that the show is based on, and the series is a fitting option for fans of Elite.
Starring Herizen Guardiola as Addy Hanlon and Marlo Kelly as Beth Cassidy, the series focuses on the cheer squad at Sutton Grove High School. When the team gets a new coach in the form of Willa Fitzgerald’s Colette French, once a superstar cheerleader herself who is rising to the same prominence in coaching, Addy is enthralled. Soon enough, Addy and Colette are revealing secrets to one another, and the newfound friendship between cheerleader and coach leads Addy and Beth’s friendship to fracture. Unfortunately, trouble comes for everyone in the form of a murder investigation, which Beth believes Colette has something to do with, but she can’t stop the coach from pulling her best friend deeper and deeper into the controversy.
While it’s definitely from a different angle, Dare Me explores a very similar storyline to Elite, while also satisfying the increasing interest in cheerleading, likely inspired by another Netflix hit, the Emmy-winning docuseries Cheer.
Streaming on Netflix
Starring Zendaya, who won an Emmy for her role as Rue in the series, Euphoria is a mature drama about a group of teens navigating a world of drugs, sex, and relationships as they work through personal identity, trauma, and other struggles of life. The critically acclaimed series is praised for its cinematography, acting, and various other aspects of the show, but in particular, the way it approaches its subject matter so candidly.
Alongside Zendaya is an astounding ensemble cast that includes Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Eric Dane, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney, and more. One true standout (aside from Zendaya, of course), is Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn. Jules is a transgender girl who moves into town and quickly starts a deep friendship with Zendaya’s Rue. A trans woman herself, Schafer’s portrayal of Jules is a key part of the show’s strength of diverse representation.
Like Elite, Euphoria takes on the dark side of late adolescence, as teenagers are desperately trying to define themselves in some way while they transition into adulthood. A little more serious in tone than the Spanish-language Netflix series, Euphoria is a great choice for what to binge after Elite. There’s a reason no one could stop talking about the HBO Max show when Season 1 came out.
Streaming on HBO Max
If your favorite part of Elite is the murder investigation and various other crimes revolving around this group of troubled teens, then another international series on Netflix called Quicksand might be the perfect pick for your next watch. A Swedish-language miniseries, Quicksand is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Malin Persson Giolito. There’s only six episodes, so it’s a quick watch, but expect a lot of emotions.
Starring Hanna Ardéhn as Maya Norberg, Quicksand has a similar structure to Elite, with two paralleling timelines telling the story of Maya’s path from an innocent, sweet teenager, to a suspected murderer involved in a school shooting. Quicksand is a very dark show, so people who can’t deal with intense topics might want to reconsider watching. But if you think you can handle it, the show is definitely worth the dark emotional journey. Throughout the episodes, Quicksand digs deep into Maya’s relationship with a boy named Sebastian “Sibbe” Fagerman, played by Felix Sandman, and how both teenagers’ upbringings and various factors lead to the deadly events at the school.
Streaming on Netflix
Set in some small coastal town of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Outer Banks follows a group of teenagers, led by John B. (Chase Stokes), determined to find out what happened to John’s father, only to discover a much deeper secret involving a legendary treasure. The story is centered around the severe class differences at play in town, with the wealthy residents who live in the area seasonally earning the nickname “Kooks,” while John, his friends, and other working-class local residents are known as “Pogues.” John’s group of friends challenges the class barriers, with Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) and Kiara “Kie” (Madison Bailey) both kids from Kook families who find themselves more at home and welcome with John and the other Pogues. Alongside John, Sarah, and Kie, filling out the group of friends are Pope (Jonathan Daviss) and JJ (Rudy Pankow).
Like Elite, Outer Banks has plenty of murder and mayhem going on. As the Pogues learn more about the treasure, a bunch of gold likely worth around $4 million that they think John’s dad found, their problems only get bigger. As law enforcement and other influential people come looking for the treasure themselves, John and the other Pogues’ desire for the gold only grows, with the hope that one day they can live with the same luxury and power as the Kooks do. It’s another addictive teen drama well worth a binge-watch that will help you get through the wait for more Elite.
Streaming on Netflix
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