In the annals of television history, certain shows stand out not only for their compelling stories but also for the lasting impact they've had on the art of screenwriting.

Today, let's look at the best coming-of-age TV show ever.

My So-Called Life, a beloved teen drama that graced our screens in the 1990s, is one such gem. Beyond its relatable characters and authentic storytelling, its pilot episode offers a masterclass in the craft of screenwriting.

The only season of the show is currently on Hulu, check if out if you've never seen it.

My So-Called Life: Complete Series - DVD

Read and download the My So-Called Life pilot here!

3 Screenwriting Lessons from the 'My So-Called Life' Pilot

Claire Danes as Angela Chase leaning on lockers in 'My So-Called Life'

'My So-Called Life'

Credit: ABC/Hulu

The pilot of My So-Called Life is considered a classic in the realm of teen dramas, offering viewers a realistic portrayal of the challenges and complexities of adolescence.

Let's go over the lessons you can learn from this 90s hit here.

  1. Authentic Characterization: My So-Called Life excelled in creating authentic and relatable characters. Angela Chase (Claire Danes), the protagonist, is portrayed as a complex and multi-dimensional teenager. The writing allows viewers to see her inner thoughts and struggles, making her feel like a genuine teenager trying to navigate the challenges of high school and self-discovery. This authenticity in characterization is a crucial lesson for screenwriters. When developing characters, it's essential to give them depth, flaws, and relatable traits that resonate with the audience.
  2. Subtext and Inner Monologues: This show had an unique voice that popped off the page. One of the distinctive features of the pilot episode is the use of Angela's inner monologue, which provides insights into her thoughts and emotions. This narrative device allows viewers to connect with the character on a deeper level.
  3. Great Dialogue: My So-Called Life is celebrated for its realistic and authentic dialogue. The characters speak in a way that feels natural and unscripted, capturing the essence of how teenagers actually communicate. This naturalistic dialogue enhances the overall realism of the show.

From the art of crafting authentic characters to the power of subtext and realistic dialogue, the My So-Called Life pilot episode remains a touchstone for screenwriters seeking to create meaningful, relatable stories.

Read it and learn from it!

Remember, this is for educational purposes only!