Trend Alert: Euphoria

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

HBO’s latest hit TV series is a new incarnation of the teen show for the woke, digital native generation, breaking down taboos and tackling new territory for the genre. Euphoria’s main characters include a recovering drug addict and a transgender teen girl, while topics such as revenge porn, statutory rape and domestic abuse are also on the agenda. The show has opened a debate about whether this is a realistic portrayal of teen life in 2019.

While Gen Z overall is partaking less in drugs and drinking, addiction remains an important issue, especially in a country facing an opioid crisis. Euphoria has also been praised for its representation of a young trans person, and the performances of lead actors Zendaya and Hunter Schafer. However, it has received criticism from the Parent Television Council for marketing "graphic adult content" to a teen audience. This concern around the impact of Euphoria on young viewers follows a similar reaction to Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which was criticised for featuring graphic suicide and rape scenes in its first season.

These hit shows reflect the challenge faced by anyone telling stories for a youth audience today, from TV writers and producers to authors and filmmakers. How do you balance creating work that is engaging and relevant, while being careful not to glamourise issues like suicide and drug use? This is more difficult than ever when young people have access to an endless array of online content, and are often encountering shocking and controversial content from a young age.

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