New teen series Euphoria is courting controversy after one single episode featured nearly 30 penises, and themes and scenes so extreme that one star quit mid-shoot.

The new drama offers an unflinching take on teen life including more sex, drugs and rock n roll than we've ever seen in teen television.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first episode alone features the statutory rape of a trans girl, a drug overdose, and a sex scene which involves choking. The episode is reportedly so explicit it sees close to 30 penises appear on screen.

It's also so extreme that HBO chairman Richard Plepler has said it makes Netflix's wildly controversial teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why look "like an after-school special".


Not only that, but while filming the pilot, actor Brian "Astro" Bradley, 22, left the show, with sources saying he was uncomfortable shooting certain scenes. He was replaced by The Hate U Give star Algee Smith who reshot Bradley's scenes, including a sex scene.

While what made it to air is risqué, HBO executives did push back on certain scenes, including one in which director Sam Levinson wanted to shoot a birth scene straight between the mother's legs and into her vagina, THR reports.

The network also pushed back against a scene featuring dozens of naked boys in what was meant to pay homage to the famous locker room scene from cult horror film Carrie.

In the end, only a trimmed-down version of the scene went to air - the original, according to Levinson, included, "like, 80 more" penises.

The US' Parents Television Council president Tim Winter has already spoken out against the series which he says "appears to be overtly, intentionally marketing extremely graphic adult content — sex, violence, profanity and drug use — to teens and preteens".

Levinson wrote the series based on his own struggles with addiction and told the Herald that while he knows it will be shocking, it highlights a very real crisis facing today's youth.

"There are all these charges laid against this generation. They didn't create this world, it was actually built by the previous generation. I can't imagine the pressure on young people to have this constant, never-ending contest of 'likes' and how you have to form a sense of self in relation to a persona that you're creating online," he says.

"There's a reason why anxiety levels are higher, depression is higher, self-harm is higher. It has to do with the pressure that we put on ourselves, on one another, the judgment of it and the inability to talk about it as something that's legitimate and real."


Euphoria is available in New Zealand on Neon from Monday, and SoHo from next Friday.