Alec Berg and Bill Hader created the super-popular HBO show Barry, which is now a highly acclaimed dark comedy show, winning not 1 but 2 Primetime Emmys. If you miss watching this quirky show, then you will be very interested in our list of dark comedy shows like HBO’s Barry. Have a look! Bill Hader took upon the role of the eponymous protagonist, who is a native of the Midwest and a hitman by profession. Things take an interesting turn when he travels to LA on an assignment, where he ends up falling in love with acting and joins an acting class. Discovering a new passion, Barry wishes to leave behind his past and embrace a new life. If you just binged this series, then you know just how precious the antics of this adorable hitman are.
List of TV Shows Like HBO’s Barry
1. Dexter (2006)
The 8-season super popular show Dexter follows Dexter Morgan living a double life as a forensic technician for the police department and a secret serial killer. The main character of the show is an antisocial misfit who follows his father’s rules and is unable to develop relationships with people of the other gender.
Barry is a hitman who falls in love with acting, and Dexter is a man who enjoys torturing. Both are two sides of the same coin. One of my personal favourite shows to binge-watch is Dexter. There is a lot of humour, oddly familiar circumstances, and gruesome, sinister, but amusing suspense. Every episode of Dexter will have you on the edge of your seat, and hence I highly recommend you watch it after shows like HBO’s Barry.
2. Fargo (2014)
Fargo is inspired by the 1996 movie of the same title, which by itself was inspired by real-life events where an ordinary salesman, out of desperation for money, formulates a plan where two thug men have to abduct his wife so that he can create a situation of kidnapping and force his rich father-in-law to pay a ransom. The plan falls apart quickly with a series of mishaps and rogue actions like the thugs shooting a state trooper take place.
Fargo gained high critical acclaim upon release. The show has a skilful cast with actors like Martin Freeman, Chris Rock, and Kirsten Dunst. The themes of deception, intrigue and incredible dark humour in the cold-blooded murder in the frozen town of Minnesota bring out a cynical, unsettling yet amusing side of humanity. If you are in search of shows like HBO’s Barry that can bring out the deep dark humour effectively, Fargo will be the right fit for you.
Also Read: Shows like Community
3. You (2018)
The series You is loosely based on Caroline Kepnes’ Joe Goldberg books. The story follows Penn Badgley in the role of Joe Goldberg, a New-York based bookstore manager,and a serial killer. In the show, Joe falls in love with a girl and develops an extreme obsession with her. You is a vividly fascinating and romanticized dark psychological thriller.
Is Joe Goldberg a protagonist or an antagonist? It’s a fine line. The reason that makes this show so relatable for viewers is the writer’s fantastic job of creating an interesting take on the dichotomy of good and evil, societal morals, and the fear of social media stalking. You is a great option if you are looking for TV shows like HBO’s Barry.
4. Fleabag (2016)
Breaking the 4th wall, this series follows a witty British woman who is unnamed but, for our sake, goes by the name Fleabag. She navigates London’s dating scene and life while attempting to deal with tragedy. Fleabag maintains her swagger despite the angry, grief-stricken woman’s attempts to heal while rejecting everyone who tries to assist her.
Exceptional, innovative, and hilarious, Fleabag is as sharp and witty as some of the best comedy shows ever made. Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s writing in season 2 of the show is truly exceptional. I would highly recommend watching a brilliant show like Fleabag if you are looking for shows similar to Barry.
5. Killing Eve (2018)
A global assassin and a British intelligence agent are the subjects of the dark comedy Killing Eve. They each receive a tip about the other. Eve as a part of MI5 has to find Villanelle, she is intrigued by her, and so is Villanelle. You won’t be able to lose track of what’s happening because the show gets right to the point.
Killing Eve is a thrilling show. Even though she is a psychopathic killer who kills randomly, Jodie’s Villanelle is such a charismatic beast that you want to watch her and feel sympathy for her. Beginning as a subdued MI5 agent, Sandra’s Eve is pulled to Villanelle like a moth to a flame. Killing Eve is definitely worth a try if you are a fan of a series like Barry. Killing Eve is a combo of assassin and comedy as well.
Also Read: Shows like House MD
6. Atlanta (2021)
The comedy aspect of The Atlanta is ingenious. It’s the type of show you watch for a good laugh, but it’s also entertaining and makes you think about the topics. There is an overarching plot, but it’s very loosely used to set the events that happen in Earn, Paper Boi and Darius’s life in motion. It takes a lot of issues we face in the day-to-day world and shows them to you in a nuanced way.
Atlanta is directed majorly directed by Hiro Murai, who also directed a few episodes of HBO’s Barry. The story of the series is quite nice, just watch it, Atlanta is a really nice series similar to Barry, more similar than you might think!
7. Vice Principals (2016)
Vice principals at two high schools are Lee Russell and Neal Gamby. They are both engaged in a heated competition for the principal’s seat, which frequently results in hilarious scenarios. Walton Goggins’ portrayal of Lee as this fixated VP and overprotective father is a great example of comedic gold.
Vice Principals is a brilliant dark comedy from America. There are hilarious, incredibly awkward, and shockingly humanistic moments when both VPs must work together. The writing in the program is brave and even oddly trippy. If you appreciate the quirky seriousness of sitcoms like HBO’s Barry, then Vice Principals is definitely worth a watch.
8. Mr. Inbetween (2018)
The protagonist of Mr Inbetween, Ray Shoesmith, juggles many responsibilities in the modern world, including father, ex-husband, boyfriend, brother, and best friend, which is especially difficult for a man who also works as a hired shooter! Sounds very similar to a series like HBO’s Barry, doesn’t it?
The show is nothing short of genius. Scott Ryan’s ability to write, direct and star in a darkly comedic drama, wherein the comedy is derived not from jokes or any overt attempt at eliciting laughter, but from the dramatic tension and the absurdity of certain situations while simultaneously depicting what is quite possibly the single most realistic portrayal of what life is like to be a career “crook” in Australia, is an incredible artistic feat.
9. Succession (2018)
One of the best-produced shows on our list is Succession, an American drama and dark comedy. The constant camera work and lightning-fast diplomatic exchanges in Succession are distinctive and establish a unique language. The Roy Family is the subject of the show. The founder of the gigantic media conglomerate empire, Logan Roy, is the father of four children: Kendall, Siobhan, Roman,, and Connor.
Logan’s decision to leave the company, however, alters the world for the Roy siblings. In Succession, a dysfunctional, wealthy family struggling with power, money, and their personal relationships is depicted in a ruthless yet humorous way. Though not as light-hearted, Succession is one of the best series similar to HBO’s Barry.
10. The Sopranos (1999)
The Sopranos is primarily set in New Jersey and New York City and follows Tony Soprano, an Italian-American mobster, as he tries to balance his role as boss of the family and be a father and husband. The birth of cinema-quality television, The Sopranos, paved the way for shows like Breaking Bad, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc. The sheer brilliance of the writing, acting, directing, and cinematography on display throughout all 6 seasons of The Sopranos really cannot be overstated.
Go for it if you want some taste of realism with outstanding entertaining storylines. The complexity of each character is explored so well in depth that I can’t imagine the research that went into the writing of this show. Each episode has a universe of its own, and you will take away a lot during every watch-time of the show, that’s how layered every episode is, maybe every scene too. So, if you have just watched a series like HBO’s Barry, then The Sopranos is the perfect choice for you.
Here are a few shows like Barry that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- Breaking Bad
- Better Call Saul