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15 TV Shows like Desperate Housewives to Sneak Around and Gossip About

shows like desperate housewives

Approximately nineteen years ago, on a sunny day, in the idyllic suburbs of a town called Fairview, a housewife, Mary Alice Young decided to end it all. What followed afterwards was a series of misadventures including adultery, blackmail, shocking deaths, plot twists, and dysfunctional relationships, all of which has had fans looking for more shows like Desperate Housewives. Thanks in no small part to Mary Alice’s melodramatic storytelling, viewers got a front-row seat to the lives of her friends, family, and residents of Wisteria Lane.

Desperate Housewives premiered in 2004, and soon became a huge hit among the TV audience, and eventually became regarded as one of the most iconic television series of the 2000s. It was proof that a fantastical spin on female-led comedy mysteries set in a quiet suburb, was compelling enough to sustain a primetime audience’s attention. Now we know you’ve since finished watching and re-watching this spectacular series and want more TV shows like DesperateHousewives with all of the drama, comedy, crime and secrets. We’ve got you covered and have compiled a list of 15 shows like Desperate Housewives for you right here!

List of TV Shows like Desperate Housewives

1. Devious Maids (2013)

When Desperate Housewives ended in 2012, creator Marc Cherry launched a new series titled Devious Maids. Similar to shows like Desperate Housewives, this show is a comedy-drama and mystery series. Devious Maids centers on four Latina housekeepers working in the homes of Beverly Hills’ wealthy and powerful elites.

When the maids go undercover and attempt to solve the mysterious murder of a fellow maid, they connect over their struggles, dreams for a better life. And of course the dramatic lies and juicy secrets of their rich bosses makes Devious Maids the perfect show to binge with your friends.

2. Gossip Girl (2007)

Who wouldn’t love another helping of drama that explores the lives of the rich? Gossip Girls is quite similar to shows like Desperate Housewives, but instead of a suburban setting, this show is set in the high-end world of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Gossip Girl revolves around the anonymous blogger known as Gossip Girl, who keeps tabs on the students at Constance Billard School for Girls and St. Jude’s School for Boys, exposing their secrets and scandals to the world.

The series centers on the main characters, Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, Chuck Bass, Nate Archibald, and Dan Humphrey, as they navigate romance, friendship, and family drama, all while trying to maintain their social status and reputation in high society. With iconic one-liners, fashion, and plot twists, Gossip Girl has become a cultural phenomenon, and you have to watch it to find out why.

3. Sex And The City (1998)

This is certainly a name you have heard of, Sex and the City is as evoking a title as it was as revolutionary a show. This series was adapted from a newspaper column by Candace Bushnell and a book of the same name. In a similar tone to shows like Desperate Housewives, these female ensemble characters rely on each other for emotional support, advice, and camaraderie.

The story is about four friends, Carrie, Samantha, Kristin, and Miranda, who are in their 30s and 40s. They all have different personalities, natures, and ever-changing sex life, but they still stick together. Through the story of these four, the creators and writers tried to bring up many modern issues about safe sex, sexuality, femininity, and promiscuity. Majorly Desperate Housewives is all about love and friendships, so there’s a lot to like about this one.

Also Read: Shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm

4. Orange Is the New Black (2013)

Orange Is the New Black is based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman. Similar to shows like Desperate Housewives, with its strong female leads and mix of drama and humor. OITNB follows recently engaged Piper Chapman played by Taylor Schilling, who 10 years ago was so in love with her drug runner girlfriend she foolishly transports a suitcase full of drug money for her.

Now sentenced to 15 months in prison, terrified Piper swaps her privileged New York life with her fiancé, Larry, for an orange prison jumpsuit. She navigates the challenges of strange prison culture, confronts her past actions, and comes to terms with the different person she has become. As she struggles to learn in the new world she’s plummeted into, she finds unexpected friendships, rivalries and conflict amidst an eccentric and outspoken group of inmates. If you enjoyed Desperate Housewives, you’ll love this.

5. How To Get Away With Murder (2014)

Viola Davis delivers an award winning performance as Annalise Keating in this legal thriller. In a similar vein to shows similar to Desperate Housewives, it keeps viewers guessing with unexpected plot twists and cliffhangers. HTGAWM follows Annalise and her team of top students who become involved in a series of high-stakes legal cases, soon enough find themselves in an ever-spiraling saga of lies, deceit, and intrigue.

As fearless in the courtroom as she is in the classroom, Annalise is a defense attorney who represents the most hardened, violent criminals – people who’ve committed everything from fraud to arson to murder – and she’ll do almost anything to win their freedom. It’s not as melodramatic as some of the shows on this list, but it’s a must watch regardless.

6. Jane the Virgin (2014)

We’re back to the more telenovela style comedy drama we’ve come to expect with Jane the Virgin. Although it’s filled with enough drama, twists, and turns and even the occasional murder. It shares the same narrative style with series similar to Desperate Housewives. Set in Miami, the series details the surprising and unforeseen events that take place in the life of Jane Villanueva, a hard-working, religious young Latina woman whose family tradition and a vow to save her virginity until her marriage, is shattered.

She accidentally artificially inseminated her through a doctor’s error during a routine check-up. As if that is not complicated enough, the sample donor is a married former playboy and cancer survivor who is not only her new boss, but a former crush. It’s a wacky premise that will keep you laughing and entertained as you with her sweet detective boyfriend, Michael Cordero.

7. Ugly Betty (2006)

The story of this show is all about Betty Suarez; a girl who, despite falling short of the usual beauty standards, manages to get a job at a fashion magazine as a result of her grit and hard work. Betty proves to be a valuable member of the team, using her intelligence and hard work to excel in the fast-paced and cutthroat world of fashion. 

Although a series like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty are two very different shows in terms of tone and genre, they share a few similarities between them with their strong female characters coupled with some elements of comedy and drama. The show, during its time on air went on to be nominated for 163 awards, winning a whopping 62 of them!

8. Why Women Kill (2019)

This show shares quite a number of similarities to shows like Desperate Housewives, top of which is the show’s creator Marc Cherry. Sharing more than just terrible and unhappy marriages, the women in this series also happen to share the same house albeit at different time periods.

Why Women Kill tells a frothy tale of what happens when women have had enough and they plot to do something about the situations that they are in. It’s a show with a good amount of dark humor and suspense. If you’re looking for a slight tweak to the Desperate Housewives formula, you should give Why Women Kill a watch.

9. Pretty Little Liars (2010)

Pretty Little Liars shares similar tropes to our favorite Wisteria Lane residents, but is set in the world of teenagers going through high school. Just as the plot of Desperate Housewives kicks off with Mary Alice’s suicide after she finds out she’s being blackmailed, the show kicks off with an anonymous text from ‘A’.

‘A’ apparently knows all the friends’ secrets and is threatening to expose their deep dark secrets involving the death of their friend Alison. Much like series like Desperate Housewives, there is no shortage of murder, blackmail, and secrets which fuels the mystery/thriller element of Pretty Little Liars. Throughout the series, we see the four friends go to desperate measures to keep their secrets buried. Prepare to be entertained.

10. Arrested Development (2003)

Similar to series like Desperate Housewives, Arrested Development revolves around scandal. And, much like Gabrielle Solis, this show’s characters are learning how to live their lives after they’ve lost everything. It’s a highly relevant show that helped propel the careers of actors like Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Michael Cera. If you’ve already seen it, check out our list of shows like Arrested Development.

Arrested Development depicts the life of Michael Bluth, a once-wealthy widower saddled with the responsibility of keeping his family together after his father is imprisoned for stealing money and illegally building houses for his real estate company in Iraq. The show had a five-season long run to become one of the most popular sitcoms on air for its hilarious comedy and clever dialogue.

11. Big Little Lies (2017)

Suburban mums hiding deep secrets is the plot line of this hugely successful HBO series, which is based on the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name. The series follows a group of moms who get entangled in a murder investigation. Sharing a common theme with series similar to Desperate Housewives, Big Little Lies is full of sex, lies, drama, and murder.

With a star-studded cast of Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, this drama series had millions of people tuning in for its nail-biting cliffhangers. Though it was initially planned to be a limited series, the show received so many high praise and award nominations, and was soon followed up with a second season. If you’ve never seen this series, then what are you waiting for?

12. Good Girls (2018)

Nothing says desperate like these two sisters and their best friend who decide to rob a local grocery store to get the cash they need to get ahead. It’s an easy job until they discover that the money they stole belonged to a gang whom they now must work for to pay off their debts.

Good Girls is full of nail-biting twists and turns in this female-led series that’ll remind any viewer of shows like Desperate Housewives. Both series are bent on revealing the darker side of seemingly perfect neighborhoods and communities, and you should tack this one onto your watchlist.

13. Bridgerton (2020)

Quite similar in tone to series like Desperate Housewives, there is no shortage of intrigue and drama in Bridgerton. Full of mystery, Bridgerton soon became a record-breaking series on Netflix. It is set in the Regency era of London’s town, where the nobility and gentry meet and hold balls, dinner parties, and charity events so that the youth can find themselves a partner.

The story primarily focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter, as she navigates the competitive world of matchmaking and falls in love with the Duke of Hastings, Simon Bassett. Their relationship begins as a ruse to ward off other suitors, but soon evolves into a genuine emotional connection. It’s one of the best romantic series on TV today, and if you’re looking for something like that, Bridgerton has got you covered.

14. Dead to Me (2019)

Dead to me and shows similar to Desperate Housewives are not short on lies, betrayal, and murder. This show centers on Jen Harding, a widow struggling to cope with the death of her husband who was killed in a hit-and-run accident. At a grief support group, she meets Judy Hale who recently suffered a tragic loss of her own, and despite their different personalities, they become unlikely friends.

However, the show quickly takes a turn when it’s revealed that Judy isn’t mourning the loss of her boyfriend and instead is the hit-and-run driver who killed Jen’s husband. It’s a huge shock that brings about multiple potential interesting paths which the show could follow. If you want to know what happens next, you’re going to need to check it out yourself.

15. You (2018)

There is no shortage of stalking, murder and romance in series like Desperate Housewives, neither is there on the Netflix original series You, starring Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl fame. You centers on Joe Goldberg, a charming and intelligent bookstore manager who becomes obsessed with a young woman named Guinevere Beck after she walks into his store one day.

Joe, who sees himself as the romantic hero in his twisted story, becomes increasingly obsessive and he goes to extreme lengths to become a part of her life. Joe will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who poses a threat to his relationship, including the object of his infatuation. You has since become a cultural phenomenon, with Joe being memed to death. If you haven’t seen this one, then where have you been?

Honorable Mentions:

Here are more series like Desperate Housewives full of dramatic storylines, romance, and comedy that didn’t make our list but you can watch regardless:

  1.  One Tree Hill (2003)
  2.  Revenge (2011)
  3.  Grey’s Anatomy (2005)
  4. 90210 (2008)

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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