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15 TV Shows Like Breaking Bad For Fans Of Crime Dramas

Shows Like Breaking Bad

15 years ago, Breaking Bad gifted viewers with an iconic character. This character was a high school chemistry teacher who would become one of television’s most memorable antiheroes: Bryan Cranston’s Walter White. We all miss Breaking Bad, and there’s really nothing quite like it, but below we’ve gathered 15 Shows like Breaking Bad for you that could potentially fill the Walter White-sized hole in your TV watching.

Created by Vince Gilligan, the critically acclaimed drama follows the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who turns to making and selling methamphetamine with former student Jesse Pinkman to seemingly secure his family’s financial future after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.The show portrays the transformation of Walter’s character from a mild-mannered and law-abiding citizen to a ruthless meth producer and dealer. Walter’s descent is gradual until he becomes unrecognizable by the time the latter seasons come along.

List of Shows Like Breaking Bad

1. Better Call Saul (2015)

There’s no avoiding this obvious choice as it easily makes the list of shows like Breaking Bad, because it is a spin-off of the hit series.  Long before his run-in with Walter White, we are treated to the series of events that shape Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman, the titular character into the Criminal Lawyer he is in Breaking Bad. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the series explores Jimmy’s journey from an underdog struggling to make ends meet as a public defender.

We get an expansive look at characters like Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut. Better Call Saul has been praised for strong performances across board, and being of high quality enough that it can be regarded as one of the best series of its time, even without being in the Breaking Bad universe. Suffice to say that this next best thing to the classic series is for you.

2. Ozark (2017)

Ozark is a crime drama similar to shows like Breaking Bad, the series tells the story of Marty Byrde, a financial advisor who moves his family from Chicago to the Ozarks to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. As they settle into their new life, they encounter several obstacles, including a local criminal family and the FBI.

Delving into the impact of crime on a seemingly normal family with themes of morality, power, and loyalty we see the Byrdes navigate their way through the criminal underworld while trying to keep their family safe. With intense plot twists and intricate characters, this show deserves its place on the list for its tense and suspenseful atmosphere, complex characters, and intricate plot twists that are sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

3. The Wire (2002)

I’m sure you enjoy watching crime drama series similar to Breaking Bad, if so then The Wire is another series for you to enjoy. The Wire is a groundbreaking television series that premiered way back in 2002, and even though it only grew in popularity years after it ended, is currently seen by fans and critics alike as one of if not the greatest show of the 2000s. If you already a fan of of this show, read: Shows Like The Wire.

The show tackles tough topics head on,from a poor education system, to the drug epidemic ruining the community to corruption and politics. The Wire is one of the true masterpieces of modern television shows and if there’s one show you have to reach back into the archives of the 2000s to watch, then The Wire is definitely one of them.

4. Narcos (2015)

For fans of shows like Breaking Bad and Walter White’s quiet ruthlessness, you will love the true drug king Pablo Escobar. Set in Colombia during the late 1970s through the 1990s, Narcos is a gritty crime drama that examines the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia from multiple perspectives.

Narcos is true to life, especially in terms of setting, with molecular detail sometimes being put in to recreate some scenes that had been captured in real life, maybe in news footage or old video archives. Narcos is a consistently great show which even spawned spin-offs, like Narcos: Mexico.

5. The Shield (2002)

Similar to Shows like Breaking Bad, The Shield also centers around the main character’s descent into criminal activity. The series is about the ins and outs of one of the most corrupt police units in the force, the strike team. This unit is led by Vic Mackey played by Michael Chiklis, police chief who does all he can get away with to put crooks behind bars.

This series is a great showcase of how the good guys aren’t actually good sometimes. The Shield is sort of a reminder of the character of Hank in Breaking Bad, especially when he was overly desperate to catch a culprit by all means. This would definitely serve as a worthy substitute for any viewer suffering from Breaking Bad blues.

6. The Sopranos (1999)

If you’re looking for shows like Breaking Bad that explore the complex mindset of the antihero, David Chase’s contemporary mafia drama might just be it. The Sopranos is regarded as one of the finest crime shows on television and could easily be slated as a template to the issues that Breaking Bad so expertly explored. Gilligan once even said, “Without Tony Soprano, there would be no Walter White.”

The Sopranos presents a mob boss who tries to balance work and family, the boss Tony Soprano is played brilliantly by James Gandolfini. This seven season series effortlessly submerges viewers into its complex world. The end result is a leading man that is iconic as Walter White if not more. Already seen the show? Read this: Shows like The Sopranos.

7. Justified (2010)

In a lot of shows like Breaking Bad, it’s all about blurring the lines between what’s right and wrong, and FX’s Justified is very similar in that regard. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is tasked with bringing a rapid and widespread change to the drug and crime infested area where he has been transferred to work a job.

He ends up being distracted from this goal by a friend who comes back into his life. Justified is a fast paced show that looks to explore the psyche of a man on the edge, and also how crime can eat at the very fabric of the society making it near impossible for it to be rehabilitated.

8. Peaky Blinders (2013)

Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama set in 1920s Birmingham, England. Similar to shows like Breaking Bad that both feature morally ambiguous protagonists who engage in criminal activities and the lengths that they will go to protect their loved ones. The critically acclaimed series follows the story of the Shelby family, who run a gang known as the Peaky Blinders.

Led by the charismatic and ruthless Thomas Shelby, the Peaky Blinders put their hand in anything illegal that can get them money. The Shelby family faces numerous challenges but tend to find a way to overcome it together as a family. Throughout the series, viewers are taken on a thrilling journey through the world of organized crime, and I reckon you should come along for the ride too.

Also Read: Shows like Peaky Blinders

9. Bloodline (2015)

Bloodline is another show similar to Breaking Bad with family dynamics and character transformation. The dramatic television series that follows the Rayburn family, who run a hotel in the Florida Keys. When the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home, long-buried family secrets are brought to the surface. As the family tries to protect their reputation, they must confront their past and deal with the consequences of their actions.

The series explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the effects of trauma on the human psyche. Bloodline is known for its strong performances, intriguing plotlines, and atmospheric cinematography that captures the beauty and darkness of the Florida Keys.

10. Deadwood (2004)

Fans of series like Breaking Bad’s modern day Western feel might also enjoy this outlaw-centric period drama created by David Milch. Set in the lawless town of Deadwood, a gold mining outpost in South Dakota, during the late 1800s. The show follows a range of characters, who try to get their piece of the pie in a world without order.

Deadwood takes plenty of inspiration from history, combining fiction with real-life people and events. The series explores themes of greed, power, and corruption, as the characters struggle to survive in a town that is constantly on the brink of violence and chaos. The show and its characters might prove to be a good substitute for Walter White fans.

11. Boardwalk Empire (2010)

Leaving the world of drugs behind to instead focus on the illegal sale of alcohol, Boardwalk Empire is set in America during the Prohibition era. A worthy watch after shows like Breaking Bad, it follows Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson, a corrupt politician and bootlegger who runs the city’s underworld with the help of his associates.

The show expertly handles Nucky trying to navigate his personal and family life, while keeping a handle on his new ‘business venture’. Boardwalk Empire ran for five seasons with enough episodes that will definitely take the viewer’s mind off Walter and his escapades.

12. Banshee (2013)

Just as in shows like Breaking Bad, Banshee is a tale rife with corruption, antiheroes, and plenty of bloodshed to boot. Instead of drug pushers moving meth, the show features a gang of diamond thieves who find themselves at odds with their former boss, a Ukrainian mobster named Rabbit. The parallels go beyond the plot and further to the protagonist; an ex-convict who assumes the identity of a small-town sheriff in Banshee, Pennsylvania to shield himself from discovery.

The show follows Lucas Hood as he uses his skills as a criminal to maintain order and protect the town from various criminal elements. The series features intense action sequences, complex characters, and explores themes of morality, and redemption. Banshee ran for four seasons and was praised for its gripping storytelling and strong performances.

13. ZeroZeroZero (2019)

ZeroZeroZero is a television series that explores the complex and dangerous world of the international cocaine trade. The show follows a shipment of cocaine from Mexico to Italy and the various individuals and organizations involved in the drug’s production, transportation, and distribution.

The series similar to Breaking Bad, especially in terms of the drug trade, gives us a top-down exploration of the process from the harvesting to processing to selling and transporting, all without missing a beat. If you loved Breaking Bad, you should also have this show on your radar.

14. Power (2014)

In shows like Breaking Bad which revolve around a protagonist who leads a double life, Walter White is a high school teacher who becomes a meth manufacturer. In Power it’s James ‘Ghost’ St. Patrick, a New York City nightclub owner who also happens to be a high-profile drug dealer. The show follows Ghost’s struggle to balance his legitimate business and his criminal empire, while keeping his family safe and his personal life personal.

Much like Breaking Bad that has strong, complex characters that are well-developed over multiple seasons, with their own well thought backstories and well written motivations. Power offers a thrilling and captivating look into the dark and dangerous world of organized crime.

15. Oz (1997)

As is the case with a series like Breaking Bad, Tom Fontana’s Oz presents a rich and memorable drama with a gritty look over the course of just a handful of seasons. A groundbreaking TV series is set in a fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility, or “Oz” for short. Despite its focused prison setting, Oz offers great depth and gives a balanced view of the prison system.

It’s easy to say a prison show should have a diverse cast, and that it’s a given. However, this is not the case as diverse doesn’t always mean quality, Oz has a diverse and quality ensemble cast, all which combine to provide a thought-provoking look at the life of a prisoner. This can certainly be compared to Gilligan’s show, as both shows explore the criminal underworld in great detail.

Also Read: Shows like The Blacklist

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a list of TV shows like Breaking Bad that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:

  1. Fargo
  2. Barry
  3. Sons of Anarchy
  4. Good Girls
  5. Weeds

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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