5 Nostalgic TV Shows To Get You in the Back-to-School Mood

Temperatures are cooling down, the leaves are hinting at change and the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on menus. This can only mean one thing -  It’s Back-to-School season, or as I like to think of it, pre-Fall! So get those book orders in and your planners out, because we are taking this semester head-on!  

I don’t know about you, but the last four months have felt a bit like the scene in the Twilight saga where Bella sits in front of her window unphased by the months passing before her. So I must say, I’m excited to get back to the routine of school, even if this semester looks a little different than we’re used to. I get a little bit of a thrill looking over the syllabi, buying notebooks, and highlighters and planning for the semester, but I can’t pretend this semester is anything like what I would have expected for my final year of university. I miss my classmates, and crowded school hallways (well, not that much), and grabbing a coffee from Tim Hortons on the way to a morning lecture. 

So if you’re struggling to get in the back-to-school mood, feeling a little nostalgic, or just need a little comfort, these shows should do the trick!

  1. 1. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007, Netflix)

    GIF of Gilmore Girls

    Where to begin? Gilmore Girls has been my go-to show for so long that I can recite lines verbatim and refer to any given plot. Whether you’re like me and you regularly return to this show, or you haven’t seen it, I recommend looking to Gilmore Girls this fall to boost your spirits. 

    Stars Hollow pulls out all the stops when it comes to fall decorations, and will instantly put you in the mood for chilly weather and changing leaves. And if the fall aesthetics and small-town charm are not enough, the witty banter and non-stop pop culture references of Lorelai and Rory will certainly win you over. Their mother/daughter relationship is both heartwarming and comedic, which is why it’s the perfect watch when you are stressed and in need of something light-hearted and uplifting. 

    So what are you waiting for? Pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and start streaming Gilmore Girls!

  2. 2. Freaks and Geeks (1999, CBC Gem)

    GIF of Freaks and Geeks

    Forewarning! Freaks and Geeks was infamously canceled after 18 episodes, but don’t let that sway you from checking out the TV show that introduced the world to the likes of James Franco, Seth Rogan, and Jason Segel (also Linda Cardinelli and Busy Phillips! I know, what a cast.) This show is set in 1980, so there are multiple layers of nostalgia here! 

    If the cast alone doesn’t inspire you to hit up CBC Gem (free streaming service!), perhaps the 1980s school aesthetics and legendary theme song (check it out on YouTube, you won’t be sorry!) will get you in the Back-to-School mood. 

  3. 3. Everything Sucks! (2018, Netflix)

    Moving onto the contemporary TV shows. This show focuses on an assortment of young teens, from the freshmen geeks and the principal’s daughter to the over-the-top drama kids. Everything Sucks! is great because you get all the 90s nostalgia you’ve dreamed of without the outdated and problematic jokes of 90s sitcoms. (What more could you ask for, really?) 

    They lean hard into nostalgia with all the right clothes, lingo, and incredible soundtrack. But what I really loved about this show was the way young teenagers were depicted - the freshmen look like high school freshmen. For example, the representation of a young girl struggling with her sexuality is huge! It’s all about teenagers having normal teenage problems in a way that brought me back to my highschool years!

  4. 4. Stranger Things (2016 -, Netflix)

    GIF of Stranger Things

    You’ve seen it, you say? Well since season 4 of Stranger Things is currently on hold, there’s no harm in a rewatch in the meantime! To ease into all my usual fall films, I’ve started rewatching Stranger Things. It’s the perfect combination of scary and weird to transition into Halloween-time next month, and the 80s high school aesthetics to get you excited about Back-to-School. 

  5. 5. Sex Education (2019 -, Netflix)

    GIF of Sex Education

    Does hinting at 1980s aesthetics count as nostalgia? I hope so because Sex Education is my biggest recommendation for getting in the Back-to-School mood, if you’re looking for a more contemporary teen show. It’s comedic and quirky, but also extremely empathetic and affirmational to the diversity of identities that make up the Moordale high school population. And unlike the four previous shows mentioned, Sex Education is able to be expansive in its breadth of identities because every episode introduces new characters with different issues, and it is protagonist Otis’ (Asa Butterfield) job to help them out figure it out!

Enjoy these quirky, fun shows for all their nostalgia and autumn vibes, and I hope they can get you psyched for this new and strange semester ahead of us! For me being able to switch on these TV shows when I am stressed and need comfort, or just letting them play in the background while I finish busywork, has been extremely helpful in warding off feelings of isolation right now, so I hope they can do the same for you.