Great student-related Netflix movies and shows

“These will be the best years of your life.”  Almost every one of us heard this from our parents. This phrase was a cliche for a good reason: it was true. Becoming a student was a right of passage, a transformative experience that shaped careers and personalities.

Most adults look back fondly at the memories formed during this period, even though they dreaded going to school or college at the time.

However, the recent global pandemic has stolen that joy from an entire generation. During a time when people experiment, form social hierarchies, learn to interact, students are forced into sterile Zoom calls. Also, there is a general air of unease and distancing for the limited number of classes that are held.

Overall, the only way to glimpse even a glamorized version of the student experience is to watch student-themed shows on Netflix. It may not come close to the real thing, but it is better than nothing.


1.    Superbad

For many millennials, saying the word “McLovin” is enough to bring back a few warm memories of watching Superbad.

This movie came out in 2007, and it was at the crossroads between old-school teen comedies and a new generation of weird, vulgar, internet-ish humor that is commonplace nowadays. It was definitely raunchy, but not in the same way as American Pie.

Humor from the late 2000s and the early teens was just easing into place, with unconventional comedies such as Hancock. One could be almost tempted to say that it harkens back to a more innocent time before the random meme-based jokes of the web. However, Superbad is far from innocent.

The movie follows some high school seniors who are trying to get alcohol for a party. Prolific comedic actors such as Jona Hill or Seth Rogen would not be as famous without their roles in Superbad.


2.    Community

It is tough to find a show that portrays flawed, funny characters without mocking them. While Rick and Morty’s fans claim that theirs is the smartest show on TV, Community begs to differ.

This show is witty and filled with meta-humor, pop-culture references, and even social commentary. You never get the sense that Community is trying to be mean, even if you are part of the group that a specific episode is parodying.

Episodes are refreshingly innovative and creatively written. They follow a lawyer who has to go to community college to get a degree. Of course, he tries to “lawyer” his way out of everything, hit on women, and generally uses his wit to take shortcuts. He joins a group of outcasts that form his study group and the show’s main protagonists.


3.    Fresh Meat

For an American audience, it can be strange to watch a show that portrays the student experience from across the pond. Given that America is the world’s cultural epicenter, it is unusual for foreign media to impact US viewers.

Yet, it can also be refreshing not to see the same recycled American comedy tropes.

Fresh meat is a comedic series that goes through the British student experience. Not entirely alien, you will still see the same partying and socialization, with a few real-life responsibilities mixed in. The comedy can be a bit dryer and less extravagant than a States-side series.

There’s a total of four seasons, and all of them can be viewed on Netflix. The experience seen during these seasons is surprisingly relatable, proving that we’re not so different after all.


4.    Bad Neighbors

What if you finally decide to settle down and raise a family. Your partying days are long behind you, and you just want to have a normal suburban lifestyle. And then, a group of loud fraternity students move in next door and start making a ruckus.

This is the basic premise of the movie “Neighbors” or “Bad Neighbors” in some countries. In a way, this movie is exactly what you would come to expect. The family is bothered by the noise, while the frat bros resist any attempt to make them quiet down.

The movie has a powerhouse cast of actors: Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, and Rose Byrne, to name a few.

This plotline has been done a thousand times. A conservative force is trying to ruin the fun of free-spirited youngsters. Yet, the movie is not satisfied with a simplistic representation. You get to see both sides, and both sides are sympathetic in their own way.


5.    Bad Education

Children tend to see adults as hyper-competent superheroes who have things figured out. The truth is that many childish quirks and behaviors linger long into most people’s adulthood.

Bad education is a series that follows a classroom history teacher named Alfie Wickers. Alfie is sometimes more of a child than his students.

This is yet another show from across the pond, and it ran between 2012 – 2014.

You never know what you might start to miss if you lose it. For the most part, school seems like a tedious chore designed as a daycare center for parents and a sorting timesaver for corporations. Curriculums are bloated, most subjects are useless from a practical standpoint, and higher education requires you to bury yourself in debt.

And still, we miss it. The student experience is full of challenges and hurdles, but it is also people’s first taste of life. Back in the 2000s, there was an entire industry built around student-related drama and comedy.

While that trend has mostly faded, you can still enjoy some classics via Netflix.


Laura C Fields was, and is a student. She is passionate about learning even long after finishing school. Most of her content covers paper site reviews, but she also writes about any education-related topic.