There’s no show as perfect as Breaking Bad, but there are shows like Breaking Bad which are sure to fill that void you’ll have after El Camino.
The Breaking Bad season finale was back in 2013, and you thought you’d finally come to terms with it ending. Now, with the release of El Camino (in which we see what happened to Jesse after he broke out of Uncle Jack’s compound), your favorite Bad vice is back for just two more hours.
Your long forgotten obsession with Breaking Bad has resurfaced, and you’ll have to cope with it ending all over again. To help you through it, here are six shows like Breaking Bad to get your new fix.
6 great shows like ‘Breaking Bad’
Jason Bateman stars as a shadier, more corrupt version of the Bateman characters you’re used to. When Marty Byrde (Bateman) runs into some trouble with a Mexican drug lord, he moves his family to the Ozarks. In this resort town, Marty begins to pay off his debt by starting a money laundering scheme. Of course, that’s when the trouble really begins.
As far as shows like Breaking Bad go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more similar. Like Breaking Bad, Ozark centers around an “average” family who gets caught up in drug deals and money laundering. It even has the wily street-smart sidekick who’s a little rough around the edges that you can’t help but love.
Take Breaking Bad and put it on steroids, and you’ll get Animal Kingdom. With bigger crimes, higher rewards, and larger stakes, Animal Kingdom can make Walter White’s operation seem like a cakewalk.
After J’s mother dies, he moves in with his grandmother and her sons. He quickly learns that their lavish lifestyle is made possible by their criminal activities, and he better adapt quickly. J’s grandmother, Smurf, is no ordinary grandmother. Sure, she’ll bake you cookies, but not for nothing. Smurf is highly manipulative and calculating, making her an effective leader of their endeavors. Her sons aren’t exactly saints either, though, and with each of them having their own ideas of how to run things, it makes for some great conflict.
If don’t want to commit to anything too lengthy, then Peaky Blinders is the choice for you. At six episodes a season, this pick is a much shorter watch than others on this list. It’s also a great choice if you enjoyed, or had a passing interest in, Boardwalk Empire.
Set in Birmingham after the first World War, Peaky Blinders is about a family gang of arms dealers, led by Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy). If you need a little more convincing, Tom Hardy is a colorful supporting character, playing the leader of a Jewish gang running a distillery, posing as a bakeshop.
‘Better Call Saul’
Better Call Saul is the most obvious show like Breaking Bad for your next binge. It follows the life of Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman before he was Walter White’s lawyer, and before he was even called Saul Goodman. Say “hello” to Jimmy McGill.
A number of your favorites from Breaking Bad appear in the spinoff, including: Mike Ehrmantraut, Gus Fring, and Tuco and Hector Salamanca. But Better Call Saul doesn’t just live in the past (or the future?). There are plenty of new characters that bring a fresh perspective to this universe, like Chuck, Saul/Jimmy’s brother; Kim, Jimmy’s friend; and Nacho, a new/old member of Salamanca’s drug business.
Like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is available on Netflix, with another season or two still in the pipeline.
If you’re looking for shows like Breaking Bad that center around a drug dealing storyline, then it’s clear Narcos is your next watch. Walter White wishes he had an empire like Narcos’ Pablo Escobar.
Seasons 1 and 2 focus on the rise and fall of a real life drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar. Wagner Moura’s portrayal of Escobar is delightfully horrible to watch, and that alone is a reason to watch. In season 3, Escobar’s death makes way for the Cali Cartel to thrive, and the DEA must contend with new leaders. If you’re concerned this storyline could get overdone, Narcos season 4 is actually its own spinoff series, taking you back to the 1980s, expanding into Mexico to see the rise of the war on drugs.
One of the grittier shows on this list, Deadwood takes place during the 1800s in a lawless Wild West. The three seasons (and a movie) tell stories of the morally gray people who inhabit the town, and follow the growth of Deadwood as the residents try to one up each other and make a name for themselves.
While much of Deadwood takes creative liberties, some of the characters are based on real people, making this already “realistic” Wild West depiction feel even more grounded. It’s what Westworld would be without the fancy technology, and if everyone were human. If part of what made Breaking Bad interesting for you was the moral ambiguity, then Deadwood is a good next watch.