Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

10 Shows Like HBO’s Barry For Fans Of Dark And Violent Comedies

shows like HBO's Barry

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.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few shows like Barry that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Dave
  3. Better Call Saul
  4. Patriot
  5. Ozark

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward