Immersed in the evocative and heart-wrenching world of shows like Normal People, a compelling drama that has captivated global audiences, viewers are drawn into the intricacies of love and connection. First airing on BBC Three, this one-season series, adapted from Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel, is beautifully set against the backdrop of a small Irish town. Here it delves into the lives of Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), 2 teenagers.
They live in the same town, but their backgrounds are very different. As they grow up, they face challenges that come from their different social and economic situations. Normal People embark on a poignant journey that entwines these two. From the hushed whispers of secret romance in their school years to the uncharted waters of university life, the series unflinchingly chronicles their emotional journey, stitching together moments of intimacy, friendship, and vulnerability.
The show’s arc, although exquisitely executed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, has left an indelible mark on the hearts of many viewers who appreciate its raw and genuine emotion. Fear not, for we’ve taken it upon ourselves to fill the void left by Marianne and Connell’s tale. With a curated list of 10 heartwarming shows similar to Normal People, we aim to offer solace to those who’ve connected deeply with the show’s characters and situations. Whether you find their challenges relatable or the strong friendships touching, these shows will make you feel similar emotions.
10 Similar Heartwarming Shows To Watch After Normal People
1. Derry Girls (2018)
Derry Girls is another brilliant but underrated Irish show. Set in the 1990s in Northern Ireland during the conflicts with England, the story does not focus on the troubles and politics. Instead, it illustrates the conflict as simply existing within this context (which makes it more real) and among the violence and fights the teenage girls have to grow up with.
This 3-season series opens up in Derry, where a young girl, Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), and her cousin, Orla (Louisa Harland), embark on many exciting adventures while they attend a Catholic girls’ school along with their friends, Claire and Michelle during the national conflict. James (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle’s English teacher, becomes the first boy to attend their Catholic girls’ school in light of his safety from getting bullied by Irish boys.
The series won 3 BAFTA TV Awards for Writing in Comedy, Scripted Comedy and Siobhán McSweeney’s performance as Siser Micheal. Derry Girls is as heartwarming as Normal People as it is exceptionally hilarious. The characters are endearing with a sweet combination of teenage awkwardness, mild rebellion, and vulnerability which is sure to meet your heart. I highly recommend that you try Derry Girls.
2. Modern Love (2019)
Modern Love is an anthology series that follows the modern relationships between people. In the 2 seasons, the show examines love in all its forms, including romantic, familial, sexual, platonic, and self-love. Bringing into light the stories in today’s world. Produced by Amazon Studios, this series is based on the New York Times column ‘Modern Love’ that shared such unique stories.
Each episode chronicles a new story, in the first episode, Maggie (Cristin Milioti) braves NYC’s dating scene with aid from doorman Guzmin (Laurentiu Possa), who questions her choices. Later, pregnant and alone, Guzmin stands by her through childbirth. The series features actors like Kit Harington, Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel (Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his role in Modern Love) amongst a few. Like Normal People, stories of Modern Love are full of regrets, heartbreak, friendship, love, loss, and more.
Fan of Anne Hathaway? Check out Movies like Interstellar
3. Fleabag (2016-2019)
The British show dark comedy Fleabag is based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s award-winning play where an unnamed dry-witted woman who is referred to as Fleabag ( played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) navigates London’s dating scene and life while attempting to deal with a personal tragedy. Written and produced by Phoebe herself, the series went on to win various awards including Golden Globes, Baftas and Primetime Emmys for Writing, Directing, Lead Actress.
Fleabag’s personality is unique yet highly relatable. Every moment of this show is hilarious, heartbreaking, or both. With elements of drama and cringe comedy, the 2 seasons are exquisitely performed by breaking the fourth wall. Fleabag is an excellently written, refreshing series perfect for fans of Normal People. Trust me, it’s worth a watch!
Already seen this? Read Shows like Fleabag
4. Pride and Prejudice (1995)
The iconic 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice is based on the highly celebrated novel of the same name by Jane Austen. It follows Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle), a young woman with a strong will but good judgment. She meets Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth), a wealthy young man at a ball. Mr Darcy is immediately taken aback by her beauty but his dismissal and arrogance sets up a turbulent relationship between the two.
Okay, you must be wondering what does a historical drama have to do with modern day relationships? stay with me here; it’s the yearning that truly sets shows like Normal People apart. And, no one does yearning better than Jane Austen. Jennifer won a Bafta for her performance, and in the years that followed, the series has come to be known as one the most beloved book adaptations.
5. Lovesick (2014-2018)
This British comedy series Lovesick is about Dylan (Johnny Flynn), a hopelessly romantic young boy in his mid-20s, who goes through intimate relationships with several different women in his search for one. When he discovers that he has a sexually transmitted disease, he is forced to go back and contact everyone he’s slept with to inform them about the risk of them getting the disease.
Originally called Scrotal Recall in the UK, the story of this 3-season series flashes back to a key point in a relationship of the current ex he meets. Dylan goes down this memory lane with his friends Evie (Antonia Thomas) and Luke (Daniel Ings), who have been by his side for the past 10 years. Each episode fills in more details, slowly painting a bigger picture of how all of Dylan’s relationships have changed his life. As Normal People reminds us, here in this series created by Tom Edge, the characters aren’t perfect, they have flaws and go through relationships that shape them.
6. Love (2016-2018)
When his girlfriend cheats on him, the ‘nice guy’ Gus (Paul Rust) crosses paths with the ‘wild child’ Mickey (Gillian Jacobs). In this rom-com series created by Judd Apatow called Love, we see how despite their stark differences, the two are inexplicably drawn to one another. It’s these very differences that may hold the key to helping them figure out just what love is.
For anyone who finds conventional Rom-Coms to be unrealistic and enjoys Normal People for its raw and authentic romance, the story of Love – between Mickey and Gus will have you hooked. JJudd Apatow’s trademark quirkiness breathes life into the characters, while their infectious playful energy makes them both relatable and a joy to watch. Initially planned for just 2 seasons, Netflix later extended the series by one more, a testament to its captivating charm. With no “forever” promise between the two, the story brings an unpredictable yet authentic touch.
Also Read: Shows like Sex Education
7. Feel Good (2020-2021)
The LGBTQ+ series Feel Good revolves around the chaotic relationship of non-binary stand-up comic Mae, and their traditionally conservative girlfriend, George (Charlotte Ritchie). Mae Martin, who is the creator, writer and the lead of this show, plays a fictionalized version of themselves. Mae is a comedian and recovering addict who tries to get a hold of their life, but things complicate further when they start dating George.
Beautifully shot, and well written, the show is filled to the brim with a hilarious, sardonic sense of humor, without disrespecting its very serious subject matter. Feel Good guest stars Anthony Stewart Head and Lisa Kudrow. Every single second of this 2-season show is riveting and plays with every emotion. There are so many difficult topics that are presented in such a creative, funny, and genuine light that I’m sure as a fan of Normal People, you’ll love watching Feel Good.
8. Friends from College (2017-2019)
This American television series Friends From College depicts a group of friends who reunite 20 years after graduating from college, unlike Normal People, which follows Connell and Marianne throughout their years in high school and university. It appears, even in adulthood, that neither love nor life has become any easier since then.
Featuring Cobie Smulders and Keegan-Micheal Key as the leads in a part of an ensemble, Friends From College is a heartbreaking genuine heated show with rare but endearing humor. Created by Francesca Delbanco, the 2 seasons of the show truthfully explores human behavior, the things we would never do and what we end up doing when the situation arises. Friends From College brings out the pain and makes the characters imperfect the way Normal People does, while making them lovable in every way.
9. High Fidelity (2020)
Based on Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel and the 2000 movie of the same name, High Fidelity is an American romantic comedy television series. In an effort to move past her one true love, a record store owner called Robyn ‘Rob’(Zoë Kravitz ) uses music and popular culture to relive previous romances.
Given that Zoë Kravitz is Lisa Bonet’s daughter and Lisa Bonet played Marie in the 2000 film, the casting was fantastic. Created by Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka, High Fidelity is an amazing rom-com that really steps outside of the normal stereotypes of music and the people that listen to it. Really shows that you can love and appreciate something just because it’s simply good. A great remake and an awesome alternative for Normal People.
10. Catastrophe (2015-2019)
Catastrophe tells a love story sort of backward. Irish schoolteacher Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan) learns she is pregnant following a brief liaison with American businessman Rob Norris (Rob Delaney). From there, Rob and Sharon decide to start a family, care for their child, and get back together.
Running for 4 seasons, Catastrophe is an incredibly funny sitcom. Their clumsy lust, accidental pregnancy and disastrous relationship provide the foundation for a realistic and heartfelt, perhaps an uncomfortable love tale without sugar coating it. The harsh realities of relationships here are as authentic and worth watching as you saw in Normal People.
Here are a few shows that didn’t make our list, but you can have a look at them nonetheless:
- The Affair
- Love Life
- The End of the F**king World