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 The Office?
Of all the shows to grace television’s history, none have been as iconic as The Office. The original British show and the US version put fans in a very unique position of having two very similar yet very different versions of the same show with both being equally good.
Whether you enjoy the light-hearted idiosyncrasies of the Dunder Mifflin staff led by the ever so cringeworthy Michael Scott in the American version, or the cold hard-hitting humor of the Wernham Hogg branch staff led by the oblivious David Brent from the British version, one thing is certain; no sitcom has done as much for television as The Office has.
Granted, there were several breakaway hits like Seinfeld and the now somewhat besmirched Cosby Show that garnered a worldwide audience before The Office existed. However, none of these created such a definitive brand of humor. The Office has been directly responsible for not only the success of the individuals involved in each respective version of the show (with Steve Carrell going on to becoming a box office success and Ricky Gervais listed as one of the wealthiest comedians alive), but for the birth of several other sitcoms that have come up since.
These sitcoms have been influenced by The Office wholly by style, writing, and reception. Today, we’ll be digging deep into the wacky world of comedy that owes so much to The Office.
Here are six shows like The Office that'll hook you instantly.
Series Like The Office
- Parks And Recreation
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Arrested Development
- Trailer Park Boys
- The Office (U.S Version)
1. Parks And Recreation
The obvious first mention would be Parks and Recreation with its painfully similar mockumentary style of shooting. It is an open secret that Parks and Recreations takes a lot of its elements from The Office with some writers from the latter known to have joined the staff of the former.
You would think such a blatant rip-off would earn the series a fair amount of scorn, but it does just the opposite. For all its glaring similarities in cinematography and setting (both being shot primarily in an office), Leslie Knope and her friends more than prove to be capable of holding their own with the show also gathering a large cult following over the years.
The premise of “office-based comedy” may look the same on paper, but do not be fooled. The stories told by Parks and Recreation are completely different from those of The Office. For the uninitiated, Parks and Recreation is an American political satire television sitcom that follows the bureaucratic lives of Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, a never-say-die, overly enthusiastic public official, and her (to put it mildly) eccentric friends and work colleagues.
On the surface, the collective eccentricity of work colleagues screams The Office, but Parks and Recreation does an outstandingly good job of telling their story in a completely different light. Amy Poehler’s acting as the doe-eyed bureaucrat from the fictional town of Pawnee is superb, bringing an extra layer of hilarity to her character. She has such a whimsical charm, you can’t help but root for her.
And let’s not forget equally strong performances by stars such as Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, and Rob Lowe to name a few. Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, who star in the series as April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer, almost run away with the show as they leave audiences splitting at the seams with their completely delightful banter and unusual chemistry.
Between Leslie’s naivete, April’s apathy, Andy’s happy-go-lucky attitude, and Nick Offerman’s stellar character role as Ron Swanson – the man’s man – the show offers a plethora of combinations for hilarity to ensue, which it uses to devastating effect.
Seven seasons later, guest appearances on the show by real-life politicians such as John McCain, Joe Biden, and former First Lady Michelle Obama, and a place in meme culture right next to The Office, Parks And Recreation is a testament to the star power of The Office, clearly showing that even a “carbon-copy” of an original and captivating piece of art is capable of achieving immeasurable success.
For that alone, Parks and Recreation owes The Office its immeasurable thanks. All seven seasons of Parks and Recreation are available to binge watch on Netflix.
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Another show that owes its inception to The Office is another fan favorite, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Recently, fans of the show suffered a mild shock when it was confirmed that the show would be discontinued after Fox canceled the series after it had run for five long seasons. Thankfully, sanity prevailed in Hollywood, and the show was picked up by NBC for another season to the excitement of the fans.
With the mockumentary shooting template made famous by The Office, the series tells the story of a police precinct through the eyes of Jake Peralta (played by Andy Samberg of “Lonely Island” fame), a very immature yet talented NYPD detective in Brooklyn's 99th Precinct, and his colleagues.
The hilarity of the show hinges on how completely different the characters are and the antics they get up to while trying to do their jobs. There is the serious and stern Captain Raymond Holt, played by Andre Braugher, a no-nonsense and very hardcore Rosa Diaz, played by Stephanie Beatriz, a ripped but super-emotional sergeant, Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews). Melissa Fumero plays as Amy Santiago, a “goody-two-shoes” cop, and Joe Lo Truglio as Jake Peralta’s best friend.
Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller pull off the soullessly comedic characters of Michael Hitchcock and Norm Scully, painting the series with all possible shades of hilarity needed to keep any person entertained. What Brooklyn Nine-Nine also provides over The Office is a bit of action that generally goes with police-themed shows, making this entry one that deserves to be commended for pushing the envelope for this style of comedy.
It's is available on Netflix with the show renewed for a seventh season. Those looking for a show like The Office will love what Brooklyn Nine-Nine brings to the table.
3. Arrested Development
Die-hard fans of Arrested Development will not be pleased to hear their beloved show described as a product of The Office, with many ready to cite that The Office was first premiered in 2005 whereas Arrested Development found its way to the big screen in 2003. This is partly true but it is the bit they fail to mention that leaves their argument flat on its face.
As mentioned earlier, The Office has two versions, with the British version making its onscreen debut in 2001 – four years before its American counterpart and a whole two years before Arrested Development. The camera work and the lack of laugh tracks in an industry where these were the norm make the similarities between The Office and Arrested Development undeniable. To give further weight to how The Office helped Arrested Development, it is worth mentioning that the show was canceled in 2006 after three seasons and was only picked up again in 2013 after the undeniable success of The Office.
Why? It was only when The Office made mockumentary such a runaway success that others began to understand the potential Arrested Development had to offer and had the series renewed. Single camera style and missing laugh tracks are where the similarities between The Office and Arrested Development end.
Where The Office is about and set in (wait for it) an office, Arrested Development follows the lives of the morally corrupt Bluth family and their one son Michael (played by Jason Bateman) who tries – albeit unsuccessfully – to keep things running smoothly.
Be it the manipulations of Michael's mother, Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter), or the side-slapping naivete of his young brother, Buster Bluth (Tony Hale), the show serves up an impressive array of characters with very diverse motivations, all culminating in a very dysfunctional yet obviously co-dependent family dynamic. With strong performances from the likes of Will Arnett as the deadbeat older brother-slash-magician, and Michael Cera as the awkward teenage son of Michael Bluth, this gem of a show is quirky and chock full of weird premises.
We are very fortunate that The Office proved strong enough to give this screen original another chance to see the light of day. Watch all five seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix.
4. Trailer Park Boys
What The Office uses as a vehicle for telling their story (mockumentary style of filming), Trailer Park Boys embraces completely as the actual premise for the whole show. Trailer Park Boys is a show that focuses on documenting the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in a fictional trailer park in Nova Scotia, Canada.
If you’re into ignorant, redneck misbehavior, this show is everything you could expect and more. The humor is completely over the top but works perfectly in the context of these bumbling characters of the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park. To be completely fair, saying The Office gave birth to Trailer Park Boys may be doing the show a disservice as Trailer Park Boys premiered in 2001 right on the heels of its film of the same name in 1999.
The show, even though well received in its native country of Canada and a few others, went largely unnoticed by the world, possibly because of its unique style of comedy - something not everybody is a fan of. The show now stands at a whopping twelve seasons with rumors of a thirteenth season returning as an animated series.
If you’re looking for some quirky shows like The Office, Trailer Park Boys should fit the bill.
Sometimes, the influence of a show exerts itself far beyond just the screen and imbues its actors, directors, writers, and producers with unparalleled star power, making it difficult to say no to their any request.
That is exactly what happened with Ricky Gervais (the creator of The Office). That star power allowed him to create another comedic hit, Extras. It starts as a British sitcom that tells the story of extras working in television, film, and theatre. The series follows the lives of Andy Millman (played yet again by Ricky Gervais), his platonic friend Maggie Jacobs (played by Ashley Jensen), and Andy's substandard agent and part-time retail employee, Darren Lamb (played by Gervais’ long-time friend and creative partner, Stephen Merchant), as Millman tries to “make it big” in the world of showbiz.
The writing on this show is excellent and as much as the obvious comparisons with his breakout first show were bound to prevail, Extras stands on its own as a worthy addition to modern comedy’s collection. The show was unfortunately canceled after two seasons but left its mark, garnering critical acclaim and a Metacritic score of 81/100. We should be thankful that The Office’s success paved the way for another one of Ricky Gervais’ brilliant ideas to be born. Extras is available on iTunes.
6. The Office (U.S. Version)
That’s right. No show on this list deserves to give The Office more thanks and praise than…The Office! The U.S. TV series has garnered such tremendous success that it has dwarfed its British compatriot in comparison. Just off awards alone, the American version of The Office has received 42 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, won five for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series.
But wait, there’s more! Steve Carell also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical for his role in 2006. The series was also named the best TV series by the American Film Institute, won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and won a Peabody Award in 2006.
As if professional recognition and success were not enough, The Office remains one of the most “memed” shows on the internet with characters providing fodder for content creators to properly express themselves to a larger audience.
Unlike my other list, I kept it short and to the point, avoiding undeserving entries as much as possible. If you think I might have missed out on some shows like The Office (both versions), feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments section.
george on September 16, 2020:
Schitts creek! u forgot Schitts creek!!! whats wrong with you!