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Shows Like '13 Reasons Why' Everyone Should Watch

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.


What TV Series Are Like 13 Reasons Why?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard about this series and probably binged it in a few sittings. Based on the novel of the same name, 13 Reasons Why is an addicting teen drama for a mature audience, dealing with a slew of serious issues like rape and bullying.

13 Reasons Why is a must-watch for everyone as it pulls you out their reverie and takes you on a thrill ride filled with suspense and drama. The viewers get to have a critical look upon the teen psyche. You get completely immersed in the show and end up getting emotionally invested in its storylines. What after 13 Reasons Why? The wait for the next season can be a bit agonizing. Fret not. Here is your fix.

Being an ardent fan, I have compiled a list of similar shows to 13 Reasons Why that will engulf you in their depraved mysteries.

Series Similar to 13 Reasons Why

  1. Black Mirror
  2. Pretty Little Liars
  3. The 100
  4. Riverdale
  5. Gossip Girl
  6. The Originals
  7. The Vampire Dairies
  8. The End of the Fu**ing World

1. Black Mirror

Where to even start with this bleak show? I could sing its praises for hours on end, but I’ll resist my temptation to eulogize and focus on crude facts instead.

This show is an amalgamation of science fiction, psychological thriller, and satire, spanning over 4 seasons and 19 episodes - something you’ll binge within a few days. It’s hard to stop once you get going with its dark, twisted episodes.

Each episode recites a completely new story with easter eggs spread all along, depicting a utopian yet dystopian future and how the gadgets we take for granted can turn our lives upsides down.

Black Mirror mocks our dependency on technology, in its own no-nonsense, thought-provoking way. Barring one or two episodes where things look upright, everything else is steeped in cruelly dark and suffocating mayhem. Sure, you’ll be entertained, but it’s hard to ‘enjoy’ a show making a mockery of viewers. How ironical!


2. Pretty Little Liars

If you are tired of short-term relationships with your favorite shows and desperately want an enigmatic TV series to stick to, I have just the perfect series for you. Meet Pretty Little Liars, a series that spans over 7 seasons, comprising over 100 episodes. With all the intriguing mysteries to solve and conspiracies to be privy of, it will keep you occupied for a while.

It is a mystery that never ends. Apart from its pretty characters prodding it to the limelight, this show is all about scheming, machinations, and betrayal. What ties its convoluted plot together is a beautiful portrayal of friendship and forgiveness.

The series revolves around a group of five friends who are left rudderless with the mysterious disappearance of Alison, their leader, causing the rest of the girls to drift apart. Their friendship rekindles after Aria Montgomery returns from Iceland after a 3-year hiatus. As the story unfolds, the girls start receiving texts from the mysterious ‘A,’ an anonymous blackmailer who terrorizes them with the secrets only Alison would have known.

The plot might get a little sappy at times, but be sure of dramatic twists and a decent mystery to keep you engrossed. If you’re looking for a similar show to 13 Reasons Why, PLL should be right up your alley.

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3. The 100

If you enjoy a good post-apocalyptic show, The 100 might just be what the doctor ordered.

A nuclear conflict had exterminated entire living beings from the face of the Earth. In an effort to sustain life, space stations were conjoined, known as “the ark.” Of course, it didn’t turn out as expected. Overpopulation followed and people were floated out of the space station into the cold, endless space because of petty reasons. With depleting rations, they must soon find a way to get back to Earth.

In a desperate attempt to find the solution, a group of 100 juvenile offenders is sent down to the ground zero (Earth) after a millennium. They land there safely, only to find out they aren’t the only ones out there. Earth is not as lonely as they had imagined, which is a terrifying notion for these newcomers.

This is one of those daring shows that blends sci-fi, post-apocalyptic action, and drama successfully. And of course, the ensemble cast is attractive, which kind of seals the deal for many people.


4. Riverdale

This is one of those rare engaging teen dramas where the plot thickens with every episode. I was a bit skeptical about this show being another toothless teen drama, but I was hooked after watching its first few episodes. On the sidelines, it has done a commendable job at normalizing homosexuality.

The first season starts with the death of Jason Blossom, the crème de la crème of the sleepy town and a progeny of the privileged. This show is centered around the students of Riverdale high school but branches in other directions as well.

Before you begin, let me introduce you to some of the prominent characters of this series. Let’s start with Archie Andrews, a jock turned into an aspiring musician, who’s in an affair with the music teacher which ended quickly. Betty Cooper is the perfect, next-door, blonde girl. She is secretly in love with her best friend, Archie. The arrival of Veronica Lodge, a city girl following the arrest of her father brings another dimension to the plot. Jughead Jones, an oddity, is a pessimistic teen and in a shaky friendship with Archie.

The personal lives of the characters are not only merged but densely intertwined with each other. If you relish a good dynamic plot, this show is a must-watch.


5. Gossip Girl

Have you ever wondered what happens in the lives of elites and superrich people? What it is like being an adolescent when you have a lot of money at your disposal?

Based on the lives of privileged teens living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Gossip Girl embroils its viewers into a character-driven drama narrated by the omniscient blogger “the gossip girl,” who posts the latest scoop in her blog.

The show starts with the return of Serena Van der Woodson, a bad girl gone good. She becomes an immediate threat for her best friend, Blair Waldorf, who had been enjoying unrivaled attention of her peers and her longtime boyfriend, Nate Archibald.

This show encompasses 6 seasons and 121 episodes. So, buckle up. It’s going to be a long ride. To sum up, this show is an addictive guilty-pleasure that will instantly make you fall in love with its stories and characters.


6. The Originals

With all due credit to The Vampire Diaries, its spin-off, The Originals fares better in terms of a mature storyline. The stories here have a darker tone, with more focus on trials and tribulations of being a vampire, and being originals at that. As a result, the plot stays on course even while experimenting with some side-stories.

I was afraid that this multi-threaded drama‘s finale will never bring about a conclusive end to this epic saga, partly because it’s not easy to tie all the loose ends in a season, let alone an episode. But The Originals does that in a style, saying goodbye in the similar manner it lived. It remains enigmatic and hypnotic until the end, staying true to its name.

Now that the show has come to an end, it’s uncomfortable living in a post - The Originals era. With no hot vampires to feast eyes upon or intriguing plots to follow, the withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be overt. Have a look at some similar shows to The Originals to keep you going for a while.


7. The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries chronicles the story of two reckless vampires who fall for the same mortal girl. When one of them plot revenge on the other, everyone’s life spins out of control. The poor girl finds herself in the middle of a brewing war as they engage in all sorts of scheming to win her over.

The first seasons starts off as a supernatural romance series. Think Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, but with more snap and vigor. The second season is where The Vampire Diaries finds its footing, growing ever so confident with every bold step it takes. Though it has its ups and downs, especially in the latter half of its life, the enigmatic storylines will charm you enough to keep you glued. Some of its aberrant storylines feel way too flashy at times, but it shines even in when it’s venturing in offbeat territories.

This weird blend of horror, romance, and some ever-so-sexy vampire sultriness, makes for quite a guilty-pleasure show, never shying away from embracing its true nature.

All the 8 seasons of this drama is available on Netflix.


8. The End of the World

Based on a comic book of the same name, The End of the World is a teenage romance drama with a few tricks up its sleeve. Beneath its dark sarcastic tone and deadpan humor, lies an emotionally poignant story of two deeply troubled kids emotionally and psychologically broken to the tipping point. One slip and things could go either way for them.

Meet James, a lanky 16-year-old with a knack of Killing every moving creature. His goal in life? Murder a human someday.

When he comes across Alyssa, an angsty, rebellious teenager, they fall in love and plan to run away together from the unfulfilling life. Alyssa, being naive, sees a reliable, trustworthy partner in James, while he is prematurely celebrating his first step to murder human beings. For James, Alyssa is nothing more than a way to advance his murderous goals. Things, however, compound when he starts falling for Alyssa.

What will you do? Love is important, but so are career and goals, right?

Look beyond its in-your-face title, and experience a shrewdly written story - one that will mesmerize and disgust you at the same time.


Gone Girl

Gone Girl’s deceptively taut plot follows Nick Dunne, a faithful husband, whose ordeals begins when his wife is kidnapped from home. All signs point her husband being guilty, but he fervently denies. As clouds lift from the contentious plot, everything becomes crystal clear, except for the ending, which is bound to catch you off guard,

Unlike Fincher’s previous feature, The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, which won countless hearts and awards but failed big time at the box office, Gone Girl is both a critical and financial success. With a relatively lower budget and unknown faces, Fincher keeps expectations low and then delivers in emphatic fashion with an engaging nail-biter.

Fincher has dissected a subtle plot into disparate comprehendible pieces, each with a sub-narrative of its own, eventually converging into an overarching plot to make for one of the best insidious romantic stories on the silver screen.


Donnie Darko

Surgically precise yet eccentric and free-flowing, just like water, Donnie Darko is hard to categorize in any genre. How does one even begin with a movie encompassing so many genres at once? It’s an anomaly, a once in a decade spectacle, permeated sith mind-boggling brilliance.

At first glance, Donnie Darko seems like a teen rom-com with a touch of sci-fi, especially when you read the summary. It’s difficult to take a movie seriously when the whole feature is supposed to be about a teenage boy and his best friend, who’s a masked bunny. It’s only after the credits roll that you realize what majestic trickery you have just been privy to.

It’s clever, profound, and brave, all at the same time. Easily the best movie of 2001, and possibly most emotion-stirring movie I have ever watched. As the credits rolled, I was smiling, with tears in my eyes, not because it was sad or comically funny, but because my mind couldn’t find a better way to react after this hauntingly beautiful exercise.

Just like 13 Reasons Why, Donnie Darko takes you to dark places and corners you into submission. Are bleak, suffocating experiences your speed? Donnie Darko is the response if the answer is ‘yes.’

Did I miss out on any other good shows like 13 Reasons Why? Let me know in the comments section.

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