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 series 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.
11 Shows Similar to Breaking Bad
- The Wire
- Boardwalk Empire
- The Sopranos
- The Shield
- Homicide:Life on the Streets
- Sons of Anarchy
Based on classic folklore, Lupin is a retelling wrapped in the modern, flamboyant exterior. Omar Sy of The Intouchables (2011) fame plays Arsène Lupin, a shred thief who uses his wits and charm for his grandeur escapades. Set on a mission to find people who framed his father, leading to his suicide, he finds himself enmeshed in more than what he signed up for.
While shows like Breaking Bad leans more towards gritty realism, reveling in its gloomy beauty, Lupin is lighthearted for the most part. Lupin, our anti-hero escapes one too many times, rendering the whole justice system incompetent. Yes, it's another one of those one-man-army storylines where the hero overcomes all the odds. There is something oddly satisfying about the underdog eventually getting the upper hand, even if it means breaking all the moral and civil codes of the conventional society.
The series' subtle digs at inequality and racism often seep through its lighthearted exterior, albeit fleetingly. Thankfully, this undertone often simmers beneath the surface, never hindering the pace of the storytelling.
I wouldn't have recommended the show if not for the imbued quirkiness—something that adds to the ineffable beauty of this French crime drama series. Each episode reveals just enough to lure you to the next one. The wanton deception is obvious; not everything is as it seems. There are clues hidden beneath the apparent clues. You just have to look closer.
Though you should watch the origional movie before getting into this TV series, it's not a prerequisite. Fargo, the TV series, is its own beast. Set in the same universe as the original film, its anthology format has helped the series in carving its own identity in the landscape crammed with neo-noirs and crime dramas.
Its Anthological style paves way for creative, wacky storytelling without too much world-building. Since there are only 10 episodes to tell a story, creative fuel burns with more vigor.
Just like Breaking Bad, the storylines are always breathtaking, with no respite. Fargo's ruthless, grey world doesn't have any clinched good or bad guys. Everyone has their justifiable motives. They're fighting for their families and businesses. Who would you side with? Fargo is by no means an easy watch. But is it worth your time? Absolutely!
Note:- While the first 3 seasons are terrific, the 4th one is a bit too flamboyant and not worth the investment. Yes, I get it. Chris Rock is in the lead, playing a gangster. Even his charisma fails to keep the sinking ship afloat, though. Unfortunately, the latest season (as of the time of writing) seems to have drowned in its own showiness.
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Convoluted and twisty, this wacky Amazon original feels like a love-child of Gomorrah, Bad Blood, and Narcos. The miniseries revolves around a large cocaine shipment, capturing the struggle of the drug lords to get their hands on it. One of the parties wants the shipment at any cost, for the future of his cartel hinges on it. The other, however, is hell-bent on destroying the package. What follows is a gruesome 8 episode thriller that'll keep you on your toes till the credits roll.
My only gripe with it is that most of the dialogues are in Spanish. So, watch with subtitles on if you're not a native. Billed as an English series, not even 20% of its dialogue is in the advertised language. The silver lining is, the native language accentuates the authenticity of ZeroZeroZero—a series laced with amazing cinematography and a talented ensemble cast.
While the series spans across Mexico, Morocco, Italy, and the US, the Mexican part of the overarching storyline seemed most brutal and cunning of them all, partly thanks to Harold Torres, the 36-year-old Mexican actor. In his cold-blooded, cultist avatar, he is disturbingly menacing. Playing the psychopathic role to perfection, Harold deserves all the praise he is getting from the international media for his breakout performance.
If you're looking for a show like Breaking Bad, but don't have all the time in the world to invest in a long, drawn-out TV series, this mini-series is a perfect fit.
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.
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.
Pissed off girl on July 12, 2020:
‘True blood’ was an excellent HBO long running series where vampires and humans lived together. It was a total joy following the development of the complex characters. Compelling and addictive. Loved it!
Jake the snake on June 25, 2020:
You forgot Power a real tv drama with everything and becomes addictive like a drug cartel.
Constance Baumeister on May 25, 2020:
Goliath with Billy Bob Thornton
Tmh on February 21, 2020:
I’d replace or add Hell on Wheels
dustin on September 08, 2019:
great list and comment recommendations. depending on what kind of person you are; some others might be. mad men, westworld, better call saul, snowfall,
Rahul Pandey (author) from Delhi, India on August 17, 2019:
I didn't like the latest season either. Knowing Netflix, they'll cancel it after the third anyways.
firepong9 on August 06, 2019:
Where's Dexter, Fargo, Bates Motel, Black Mirror, American Horror Story, The Blacklist, Mad Men? And Boardwalk Empire is the 2nd most intriguing show I've ever seen since BB and Lost. And yes, it may be cheap to list BCS since it's a spin-off of BB, it still holds it's ground as a well written TV show since BB.
SHERESE on July 17, 2019:
"Banshee"should be on here. It has good action and storylines. The mystery of the characters and their pasts is intriguing. It pulls you in from the very beginning. A good power struggle between the criminals and the law and the blurred lines with both. Addictive show!
Curtis Loew on June 12, 2019:
“ Justified. “. Outstanding show
Mark Vangelder on May 21, 2019:
Ozark was NOT like Breaking Bad. All that dark noir made it difficult to even see the damn thing. The sound was terrible and muffled most of the time. Then we get to the Ozarks. As a resident of the Ozarks I was insulted at the cliche'd stereotype portrayal of people who live in the Ozarks. That was so unbelievably absurd that, combined with the terrible cinematography, I decided not to waste any more time watching this typically unintersting Hollywood output. Breaking Bad indeed. Not even close. I cannot believe anybody could enjoy watching this. I love Laura Linney but she picked a dud.
drwaseem on May 12, 2019:
best show ever. No match
Chelsea on April 06, 2019:
You have definitely missed banshee that’s second to breaking bad also agree dexter is brilliant
Kay Astra on September 18, 2018:
This is a great list incrediably put together!! Thank You!!
Scotty on July 22, 2018:
Definitely recommend Dexter. After Dexter ended never thought i would find another show until Breaking Bad came along!
J on July 12, 2018:
i second Dexter! Great list
MY corbett on June 26, 2018:
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
Odiecat1 on April 26, 2018:
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.