8 Addictive TV Shows like "Breaking Bad"

Updated on July 6, 2018
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Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all-time favorites are 'The Wire', 'Breaking Bad', and 'The Sopranos.'

Breaking Bad is one of the very few popular shows with a rating of 9 or above on IMDB.com. That alone speaks volumes about the quality it had during its five seasons. It was addictive right from the get go, making you pay attention to every little detail and line of dialogue. There is no doubt that it's going to be a favorite for some time before anything else comes along to topple it. AMC recently started airing Better Call Saul, a spin-off of Breaking Bad. While it's good, comparing it with the latter will not do it any justice.

Ever since this incredible show has come to an end, fans have been looking for other shows to fill the gap left in their hearts. Being a huge fan, I compiled a list of some shows that should keep you occupied for a while.

Eight Shows Similar to Breaking Bad

  1. The Wire
  2. Boardwalk Empire
  3. The Sopranos
  4. The Shield
  5. Weeds
  6. Homicide:Life on the Streets
  7. Sons of Anarchy
  8. Deadwood

8. Deadwood

Have you ever wondered what life must have been like during the Wild West? Look no further. If you ever wanted to experience it first hand, Deadwood has you covered. The story takes place during the post-Civil War years in a lawless mining town, which is famous for attracting outlaws, whores, and gold diggers—people who're willing to risk everything to make it big. They have murky moral standards at best, which is needed to live in a place where life holds no value. In normal circumstances, you’d love to hate them. Not here. They're all just trying to survive out there.

If you can stomach tons of profanity and nudity (pretty much what you'd expect from a show that takes places during those days), you would like what Deadwood brings to the table.

It's one of the best TV shows to revisit the Wild West we have come to know from legends and myths. If you are not easily offended, give it a shot.

7. Sons of Anarchy

TV shows have their ups and downs regarding the quality of content. You get some incredible seasons and then there comes a horrible one that you just want to skip. Thankfully, the creators of Sons of Anarchy found a successful formula to keep it consistent over the course of its seven seasons. Yes, it takes a couple of episodes to get going, but then it begins a roller coaster ride with twists, turns, and cliffhangers.

Created by Kurt Sutter, the story mostly revolves around an outlaw motorcycle club in Central Valley, California. They're involved in legal and illegal businesses, dealing right under the cops' noses.

Sons of Anarchy is one of those shows where you can't wait for the next episode just because you want to know what happens next.

You'll root for those gang members all the way through. They are villains, but they would die for their family and friends. They would do anything to protect their loved ones and their resolve to stick together through thick and thin is what makes this a pretty addictive show. Don't miss out on it.

6. Homicide: Life on the Street

Created by Paul Attanasio, Homicide: Life on the Street is a procedural cop show filled with drama, suspense, and humor. I’d go as far as to say that it's better than HBO’s The Wire in some regards. While The Wire is spellbinding till the very end, it lacks the humor and pacing of this show.

With the least attractive cast on the TV, they totally depended on the script and the talent of the cast to succeed. And a series of well-paced stories from the beginning until the end is proof that you don’t need eye candy in a show for it to be a hit with the audience.

Unfortunately, the chances it took never paid off. Not enough people watched this show, leading to its cancellation well before it could flourish. Nonetheless, it’s still a great piece of drama that deserves your attention. If it somehow went under your radar, now is the chance to redeem yourself.

5. Weeds

I'm not going to summarize the plot since It's a much better experience when you don't know much about the story before committing to it. But I can tell you that Weeds is thought provoking at so many levels. It's so good that I watched all the episodes within two weeks.

It could have been a lot better. You'll find that characters make some stupid decisions, which might annoy you. Still, you can’t help but fall in love with the characters and story.

As we see characters struggle in dealing with their daily life issues, the show leaves it up to us to judge their actions. Often, they end up making wrong decisions, but you’d still be rooting for them knowing that you’d have done the same thing.

Weeds is a serial that shows us how everyone can be pushed to the limit and forced to walk down a dark path. With moments you'd not easily forget, It's definitely as captivating as Breaking Bad.

4. The Shield

One should never trust user reviews. It seems that when a few people criticize a show, others blindly follow suit. While some shows get lucky and manage to get on the right side of the audience, others like The Shield fall prey to the online mob.

If it weren't for all the negative reviews on IMDB and Metacritic, I would have watched this show a long time ago. I don’t know what they were watching, but it certainly blew me away.

Over its run of seven seasons,The Shield raised a lot of questions. When does good and bad begin to blur? How far can one go and still be on the right side? It’s more like The Wire in regards to the violence on screen. While the action is always on, character development is given some time as well.

The Shield has everything you need—corrupt cops, violence, drugs, hot chicks, and some good detective work. Go for it.

3. The Sopranos

The story revolves around Tony Soprano, a mobster with a good heart. James Gandolfini plays a grumpy, likable mobster living two lives—one as a caring father and husband and the other as a ruthless, old-school mobster who knows how to get business done. I can’t think of any other show where people rooted for an anti-hero so much throughout the show.

He loves to be who he is—a horrible human being and a man to be feared and respected. His other side, though, is what makes him one of the most likable characters in the history of television. He is a man who spares no betrayer but stands by those loyal to him.

This show might be a little racist and sexist at times, but the brilliant writing and acting ensure that those things never get out of line.

2. Boardwalk Empire

I believe that Boardwalk Empire needs no introduction. Still, I'll try to summarize it for those who somehow haven't heard of it before. Set during the prohibition era, it takes place in Atlantic City, New Jersey—a town laced with corruption and violence in the midst of the booming alcohol business. While most of the show is based on events, some parts are fictional.

The plot revolves around Enoch Thompson, an Atlantic City politician, who is friends with cops as well as the mob, playing both sides to his benefit. With influential friends by his side, he becomes one of the top illegal alcohol suppliers in no time. Things take a turn for the worse when the federal government starts looking into him, making his life a little more complicated.

Overall, Boardwalk Empire is a pretty solid show with a serious tone. It's immersive, dark, and unsettling. From its fantastic storylines and immersive sets to the underrated background music, everything here paints a vivid image of the time period.

1. The Wire

The Wire might seem like a generic procedural cop show at first glance. As soon as you watch a few episodes though, you'll realize that is not the case. You can instantly spot what makes this so different from other TV shows with a similar plot.

There are no big action sequences, chases, or fights. It’s meant to depict the reality of a constant struggle between cops and drug dealers, giving viewers a chance to see the world through their eyes.

The first couple of episodes take their time to define the characters and set up the whole narrative. Then begins the struggle for power as they try to outsmart each other, which goes on until the very last moments of the show.

Given its slow nature, you might feel like giving up on it. Don't, it gets better. While the storylines might not be flashy as Breaking Bad, it's gripping and realistic.

Some serious writing and good character development cement The Wire’s place as a must watch show. Don't miss out on it.

Shows to Watch After Breaking Bad

While all of these shows are very addicting, they come from a wide variety of genres with different themes. You want a series that shares the same thematic elements as Breaking Bad. The following are some series that seem cut from the same cloth.

  • Narcos: If you are looking for something that covers the drug trade, than this one is for you. Narcos follows the rise of Pablo Escobar as he builds his empire while he fends oft DEA. It could be seen as Breaking Bad on a larger scale.
  • Ozark: This series features another common man getting pulled into the world of crime. A financial advisor gets involved with the Mexican drug cartel. It similarly focuses on the strain that a criminal lifestyle has on a family.
  • Oz: This series examined the power struggle between inmates as they tried to take control of the drug trade within their prison. The show has a lot of complexity with morally ambiguous characters. It questioned the cause of violence and criminal behavior without offering any easy answers.
  • Better Call Saul: Yes, it may be cheap to list this spinoff but it's certainly going to please fans. It offers a fascinating look at the development of Saul Goodman before the events of the original series. It had its skeptics but it has proven to be able to stand on its own.

Did I miss out on any good entries? Let me know in the comments section.

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    • profile image

      Scotty 

      3 weeks ago

      Definitely recommend Dexter. After Dexter ended never thought i would find another show until Breaking Bad came along!

    • profile image

      5 weeks ago

      i second Dexter! Great list

    • profile image

      MY corbett 

      7 weeks ago

      Yes I just now after all these yrs Sat at watched breaking bad for the first time never had access to it never heard of it took care of dad till he died omg I' need another show that was the best show I ever watched in my life going to try site but I know will not be the same maybe other shows I missed 2008 to 2011 please let me know I'm 58 and old head that was awesome

    • profile image

      Odiecat1 

      3 months ago

      Nice list! I can’t believe DEXTER didn’t make the cut! Pun intended. I’m watching it all the way through for a 3rd time, it’s that good and I’ve only done that with Breaking Bad.

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