Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror."
What TV Shows Are Like Sherlock?
Sherlock is much more than just the story of Sherlock Holmes. The writers have successfully combined their new wave of critical thinking with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original manuscripts of this notorious mastermind.
It’s the story of Dr. Watson working with the brilliant detective and the formation of their unusual relationship, combined with other fascinating characters who complement each other really well. The cast, which could not have been any better, includes the now-famous Benedict Cumberbatch and versatile actor Martin Freeman. Andrew Scott, who plays the mysterious antagonist, Moriarty, has played the role to perfection and set up a high standard for any other future adaptation of the character.
It would not be an overstatement to call Sherlock the best mystery/thriller in present-day television. It’s full of suspense, mind-bending twists, and thrills. It’s completely flawless in every aspect of brilliant storytelling as the non-linear approach makes the show all the more entertaining. The movies were great but the stories have much more breathing space and time to develop the characters as a TV show.
We get a closer look at England’s most neurotic detective. The viewers even get to solve the mysteries along with Sherlock as the inner workings of his mind are meticulously presented on the screen. This makes us feel like we’re part of his exclusive crew, and there’s no better feeling than getting involved with the story and solving the crimes together.
Unfortunately, the show ended in 2017 after four wonderful seasons, and there is no telling if it will ever grace the screens again. So, if you liked watching this re-telling of the most famous detective stories ever told, here’s a list of shows like Sherlock you might enjoy.
Shows Like Sherlock
- Breaking Bad
- Peaky Blinders
- Black Mirror
- True Detective
1. Breaking Bad
If you haven’t watched or even heard of Breaking Bad by now, there’s a good chance you’ve been living under a rock. Considered by many as the greatest TV show ever made, and for good reasons, this 2008 masterpiece doesn’t have a single bad episode.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, but sometimes these reactions are so far beyond your wildest imaginations that you don’t expect the consequences of one bad decision to be that severe. Walter White, a family man, goes down the path of madness and melancholy, just because of one bad decision. From a nobody to the gangster of the town, the transformation is not sudden, but it's all a result of the firm resolution to make some quick money.
Walter White is a man of all shades; a man who can do anything for his family, even though morality may take a back seat at times. But when he shows his dark side, we see another man—Heisenberg, to be precise (Fans will get this reference). You love him at times and you may hate him at others, but you can’t help but empathize with his decisions.
The director, Vince Gilligan, has gone deep into the character's psychology. What truly makes it a masterpiece is the way he gives us a peek inside his subconscious, making you feel as if you know him in real life. Not only this, every color on the screen, every camera angle, every supposed insignificant moment has hidden meaning and foreshadows every other scene, making the revelations far more stimulating.
2. Peaky Blinders
A case can be made that a writer is just as, if not more, brilliant than the characters he creates. They do emerge from his brilliant mind after all. Peaky Blinders is one of the most viewed shows at the moment, thanks to Thomas Shelby, the charismatic, genius and highly manipulative protagonist.
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As a man who always gets what he wants by whatever means necessary, he develops a lot of enemies and attracts a lot of attention in the political landscape, where even big players in the game who pay no attention to him eventually end up in awe to his rapidly growing empire. While Cillian Murphy plays the main character, other big names like Tom Hardy, Paul Anderson, and Helen McCrory portray their respective characters to the best of their abilities. Audiences are already calling it the best British gangster and criminal series.
Peaky Blinders were said to be one of the most powerful gangster families that existed after the Great War. When soldiers were sent back to their homes without being taught how to control their post-war nightmares, they had to find a release somewhere.
The cinematography is very bold, lavish, and visually pleasing. It is very challenging to film a movie or a series that has a storyline going back almost a hundred years. But I think the director has done mind-blowing work to make everything look Post-World War era. These outlaws are self-admitted bad men (and women), but as their fellow neighbors say, "They're our bad men." Peaky Blinders has it all: crime, violence, intrigue, strategy, history, politics, and more. It knits them all into a fascinating and gripping story and hooks you from the first minute of the first episode.
It's the most underrated show on television, but thankfully, the series is beginning to get its well-deserved recognition. If you're looking for some shows like Sherlock, Peaky Blinders should be your best bet.
3. Black Mirror
If you’re into dystopian themes and have a dark sense of humor about the rapidly digitizing world, Black Mirror can help you stay entertained. The writers have created a sublime science fiction drama that will keep you hooked. So addictive are the episodes that it's hard to not binge through the seasons in an unhealthy amount of time.
The fact that all the episodes are independent and have very minuscule or no connection with each other, makes the show more intriguing as the storylines are not dragged beyond what's needed. Using technology as a source of paranoia, the stories explore the collective anxious state of mind of the world. Each story features its own cast of prodigious and mystifying characters. It's a refreshing look at how technology can turn on society, especially in today's world where people feel like they're missing out on things, or aren't part of something bigger if they're not participants in social trends. It also explores the theory of human dynamics at a base level, i.e. if we as human beings cannot connect, then nothing else in the world can save us from ourselves.
The very first thing that strikes your mind when you first start watching Black Mirror is that you have not watched anything quite like it before. Within the first five minutes of the very first episode of the very first season, a metaphorical bomb is dropped. The storylines make you question your own set of beliefs as they are challenged right before your eyes, and you can’t seem to come up with a rebuttal.
The show projects truths that we all know, yet pretend to be unaware of, and may take some time and courage to realize that it may be the inevitable destiny of our very exceptionally complex species. We are nothing but slaves to the black mirror that controls each and every second of our lives. Even if we try to unclench the grip that technology has on us, we cannot. Because without it, we are incapable of imagining a comfortable future, and that decision may lead us to our inevitable demise.
4. True Detective
If Sherlock Holmes had completely given up on life and adopted a dark, pessimistic view on life, you’d get Rustin Cohle. He's a character so beautifully constructed out of the darkest corners of the human psyche that even the devil himself would have a hard time dealing with him. The only thing that’s keeping him somewhat mentally intact at the moment may very well be his trusted partner, Martin Hart.
Two detectives recount the events of a murder case involving satanism. It's clear that both detectives are carrying their own baggage of dark secrets and emotional weight. With great acting from Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, it's no wonder this series is considered one of the greatest crime shows of the century.
Unarguably superior and rich with content, it is gritty, real, and compelling, and asks the questions other shows are too afraid to. The back and forth between two distinct timelines make the events appear even more hypnotizing. If you want to have a happy fairytale-esque experience, watch something else.
However, if you’re willing to face the hard facts of life and go on a dark philosophical journey, True Detective will not disappoint. Even though seasons two and three were not as well-received, the first season of True Detective is considered by many to be a cinematic masterpiece.
Those looking for a mind-bending show like Sherlock will love what True Detective brings to the table.
Hannibal is a magnificent series about the charismatic and mysterious Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It's a must-watch for lovers of crime, drama, thrillers, gore, and especially The Silence of the Lambs fans.
The story starts off like every other police procedural and stays the same for a while, but the overarching storyline gains traction later on in the first season and never lets up after that. The mysteries pile up and the plot keeps getting thicker, making each episode more exhilarating than the previous one. Anthony Hopkins set a very high bar for anyone who would play Hannibal Lector, but Mads Mikkelsen managed to fill those shoes with his superior acting, and the ability to express so much with his eyes alone.
This show has something that the movies and books didn’t—a close examination of Hannibal’s psyche and his toxic relationships. Other than the morbidly beautiful cinematography, set design, and haunting music, the one thing that sets Hannibal apart from other TV shows is how it takes itself so seriously.
The cast presents a nuanced and modernized version of the characters from Thomas Harris’s books. The script and the dialog delivery is some of the best you'll ever see on the small screen, with each word laced with multiple meanings, and hidden clues for the viewers to figure out.
Did I miss out on any other shows like Sherlock? Let me know in the comments section.
Kara on July 18, 2020:
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on November 13, 2019:
There's definitely a lot of good shows there. I've seen Black Mirror and really enjoyed it.