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12 Shows Like Arrested Development For Comedy Enthusiasts

shows like arrested development

Critically as well as commercially acclaimed, Arrested Development has been one of the best sitcoms ever produced. Since its pilot episode in 2003, the show’s fanbase has only expanded, and it’s understandable really. Over the years, many different shows have tried to emulate the kind of legacy the show left behind, and some may have been successful in their own ways. For those of you looking for these exact shows, we have created a list of the best comedy shows like Arrested Development.

With a dysfunctional family at its centre, the show follows the struggles of the Bluth family when their patriarch is arrested and all their assets are frozen. Michael then stands with the responsibility to keep the Bluth family together while trying to raise his teenage son. Each character adds a new shade of colour to the beautifully woven canvas that is the storyline. Its well-crafted gags and distinct humour set itself apart and inspired many comedies down the years. The comedy derives from how seriously unaware the characters are of their realities and the resulting events just trigger a series of hilarity.

List of shows like Arrested Development

1. Schitt’s Creek (2015)

Schitt’s Creek is the closest you can get to Arrested Development. This Primetime Emmy-winning sitcom follows the affluent Rose family as they lose their wealth and power overnight to a fraud. Their only remaining asset is a small town they once bought as a joke – Schitt’s Creek, that they move into which triggers a series of hilarious events as they try to settle and regroup. 

This is a show that amassed a huge following with its unexpected style of humour. Full of clever jokes and delightfully well-written characters, the Rose family brings the house down in this massive and well-loved show. If you’re looking for shows like Arrested Development with dysfunctional family dynamics and fishes out of water adapting to the big real world out there, Schitt’s Creek is your pick for a binge.

2. The Office (2005)

If you’re one of the few souls out there who hasn’t gotten around to watching the epic office comedy series, this is your sign to go for it. The Office brought a whole cultural shift in entertainment with its mockumentary about a hilariously diverse group of office workers. The Dunder Mifflin employees set out to create the wackiest documentary with their constant bizarre and boisterous shenanigans to keep the company thriving.

Hailed as the greatest sitcom of all time, The Office brings you characters that you really bond with over the seasons. John Krasinski, Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson carry the show with peak performances. The humour is top-notch, with no laugh tracks in the background, and the characters are brilliant and really nail it with their quirks. This is your show if you’re wondering what to watch after Arrested Development.

3. 2 Broke Girls (2011)

When a sophisticated trust fund baby Caroline finds herself waiting tables at the greasy Williamsburg Diner, the last thing she expects is striking up a friendship of a lifetime with sarcastic and streetsmart Max. Life seems to give them both a chance at living their dreams when Caroline discovers that Max can bake some mean cupcakes and there begins their journey of trying to start a cupcake business, if only they can raise the cash.

Caroline and Max couldn’t be more different but they bring a chemistry to the screen that you just cannot get enough of. The humour is great and raunchy at times and it’s such an easy watch that you’ll find yourself returning to it often enough. 2 Broke Girls is about finding your footing in the unfamiliar world, much like the Bluth family. Next time you’re looking for shows like Arrested Development, you know this is your pick.

4. The Good Place (2016)

When Eleanor Shellstrop lands herself at a good place aka Heaven, she is just as confused as the people she encounters because clearly, she doesn’t belong there. Now, Eleanor and her friends must find ways to keep her from being sent to the bad place, and also figure out what the whole deal with The Good Place really is.

This award-winning show puts together a hysterical story woven by wildly diverse and colourful characters. The premise is new and while it is a comedy, there is a much deeper philosophy underlying it, which makes for a very engaging watch. The Good Place is everything you’re looking for in shows like Arrested Development.

Also Read: Shows like Silicon Valley

5. Parks and Recreation (2009)

13 years on and Parks and Recreation is still one of the best shows you could watch. Coming from the creators of The Office, Parks and Recreation is another hilarious wholesome comedy that follows Leslie Knope, a bureaucrat intensely devoted to boosting the image of her town and her career by turning an abandoned construction site into a park. However, this simple project becomes the subject of several obstacles in the form of selfish neighbours, governmental red taping and exploitative people among others.

There are very few shows who get the balance between comedy and a great script right and this show will show you how it’s done. The characters don’t just play their parts, they build each others’. Leslie gives us a character we root for the entire show with her passion and sincerity. No matter what mood you’re in, Parks and Recreation has just the right feel for you. This classic comedy is sure to keep you entertained if you love shows like Arrested Development

6. Ozark (2017)

The very ordinary Byrde family suddenly find themselves involved with the Mexican drug cartel after a money laundering scheme goes wrong. Financial advisor Marty Byrde offers to compensate by setting up a bigger money laundering business in Missouri Ozarks. The show follows the fractured family desperately trying to keep it together even as their futures hang by a thread.

Ozark is a series of one crisis after another as the dysfunctional family navigates the big bad world of the cartel. The visuals, the acting, the writing is all as good as it gets and I really cannot emphasize enough just how great this show is. If you love the off-balanced family dynamics and the struggles in shows like Arrested Development, give the Byrdes a chance! 

7. Community (2009)

Community might seem a little different from Arrested Development, but trust me, the vibes will totally have you hooked. This show is about a bunch of misfits coming together in a study group after disbarred lawyer, Jefferey Winger, is forced to go back to college when it is discovered that he faked his Bachelor’s degree. 

Much like Arrested Development, there is a familial dynamic we see in the community formed by the sundry batch of misfits. The show takes us through their struggles to sand off their edges in an effort to find their footing. With actors like Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover and Ken Jeong on board, this show is a riot throughout with some very touching performances. Community is just the show for you, if you’re wondering what to watch after Arrested Development.

8. Ginny & Georgia (2021)

After years on the run, Georgia Miller decides to settle her roots in the beautiful region of New England with her daughter Ginny. The show follows her struggles as a young single mom of an angsty teenager as she tries to desperately save her present from the threats of her past. With a new life and a new future to look forward to, Georgia will do anything to protect them.

This show is a bit of hit or miss, but overall does great with a fresh premise with complex characters. It has been praised for its realistic portrayals of teen lives. There’s drama, humour, a mysterious past and they all drive a great show together. Brianne Howey as Georgia is absolutely amazing. She brings a certain vulnerability to her character even as she portrays a strong mother figure with a fun side. The complexity in this show makes it a great choice for anyone who loves series like Arrested Development.

9. Modern Family (2009)

Modern Family is the essence of the beautiful discordance in families of this century. It revolves around three completely different types of families who are interrelated and living in Los Angeles. Jay Pritchett, his daughter Claire and his son Mitchell bring together a big blended, multicultural, non-conforming, traditional happy family.

The most amazing aspect of this series is that it never got tedious or repetitive, never became preachy, and is set in layers that you only discover through rewatches. And yet, the premise was always reliable enough to turn to for comfort. To me, it will always be Sofia Vergara as Gloria Pritchett who stole the show with her fresh portrayal of the second wife. She brought a new life to the screen with every scene and it never failed to elicit laughter. Modern Family is an awesome series like Arrested Development

Also Read: Shows like Trailer Park Boys

10. Frasier (1993)

Frasier is an all-time favourite and remains incomparable even 29 years after its phenomenal release. Dr Frasier Crane, recently divorced, moves to the same city with his father Seattle, for a new start on his life. When he gets a job as a radio psychiatrist, he uses it to share his wit, knowledge, and knowledge and understanding with others, while also juggling his issues with his down-to-earth father, his conceited brother, and his friends and coworkers.

Here’s a fan-made trailer of the iconic show:

Although Frasier was a spin-off series of Cheers, it became a much bigger hit. It is an intelligent show where the premise is deep and talks about humans and their emotions, shortcomings and insecurities. The show never tries to outsmart anyone, and that draws in the viewers even apart from all the wit and well-timed punchlines. Frasier is definitely a masterpiece among shows similar to Arrested Development.

11. Succession (2018)

Primetime Emmy-winning show, Succession follows the ageing patriarch Logan Roy as he contemplates what the future of Waystar Royco looks like. Having been in the spotlight longer than he expected, his family now wants to run the company in their way. Tension flares and loyalties clash as the eldest son tries to solidify his position as the heir.

Succession is a show that needs time to build up to its best, with the show starting off setting the tone but you’ll be hooked before you know it. The humour blends really well with the drama as everyone in the family tries to suck up to their father and earn his love, possibly in vain. There is a subtlety to the writing and the performance that gives the audience the space to make sense of the show without being fed everything. If it is the premise and characters you love in shows like Arrested Development, you’re gonna love Succession.

12. Shameless (2011)

Another phenomenal dysfunctional family drama deals with the Gallaghers and their alcoholic father Frank. Fiona, the eldest, ends up taking up the role of the parent to her 5 siblings, in addition to balancing her personal life and society. Shameless is about absent parents, alcoholism, and fractured family dynamics and also dealing with mental health issues. 

The show is comedic on the surface but brings up extremely important issues to discuss. The cast is amazing, the writing is intelligent, and the humour is unapologetic- what’s not to like? Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy and Ethan Cutkosky showcase some of the best performances I’ve seen in a while. If you like layered plots with great writing in shows like Arrested Development, then you’ll love Shameless.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few shows like Arrested Development that didn’t make the list, but be sure to check them out nonetheless: 

  1. #blackAF
  2. Archer
  3. F is For Family
  4. The Middle
  5. Divorce
  6. How I Met Your Mother

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