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.
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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.
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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.
Here are a few shows like Arrested Development that didn’t make the list, but be sure to check them out nonetheless:
- F is For Family
- The Middle
- How I Met Your Mother