Some shows are created simply to explore some truly otherworldly or futuristic premises in a way no other medium can. These are shows like Severance which focus on complex relationships between deeply written and well-thought out characters, but with a weird premise thrown into the mix. There will always be a need for stories such as these, and fans like you who absolutely love them. This is why we have created a list of shows which will remind you of one of the best of this subgenre, Severance.
Severance is an American TV series centered on a biotech company known as Lumon Industries. Lumon Industries has brought about a great idea to help boost workers’ productivity. The idea is using a medical procedure known as “severance”, which wipes out the consciousness of their employees as they transition from work to regular life, and back.
This is a show that asks a lot of deep and reverent questions about morality, free will and choice, showing us the gray area that exists in every picture. A critical success with some stellar performances by its cast and a clever premise, this is one show that may not be replicated anytime soon, but our list of 15 shows like Severance… comes pretty close to doing that. Check it out!
List of TV Shows like Severance
1. Devs (2020)
Devs is a corporate-focused psychological thriller similar to shows like Severance. This show follows the story of a software engineer named Lily Chan who works for a tech company known as Silicon Valley. After her boyfriend passes away, allegedly due to a suicide, but she soon discovers that all may not be as it seems.
One of the best new shows around, Devs poses some interesting moral questions about technology and the power that it holds. Like Severance, there is no black and white, and while technology can be used for good, it does pose some risks for the humans that live in the world of Devs. If you loved Severance, you’ll definitely love this.
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2. Utopia (2020)
Shadowy organizations always seem to be lurking in the corner, pulling the strings, that is the case in shows similar to Severance, and that is the case in Utopia. Utopia is premised on a group of young adults who have the unfancied job of saving the world and fighting against this evil organization.
Utopia is a show filled with a lot of visceral violence, and chock full with a lot of surprising plot twists. As mind-bending as it is mysterious, if you’re looking for psychological thrillers with a lot of action like series similar to Severance, then this is the right recommendation for you.
3. Mr Robot (2015)
Rami Malek plays Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer who works at a company called Allsafe. Elliot Alderson suffers from a unique anxiety disorder, identity disorder, and clinical depression. In the show Mr Robot, Elliot is approached by an insurrectionist named Mr Robot, who heads a hacker group known as “fsociety”, with the aim of recruiting him into their ranks.
Mr Robot is a visually compelling show with a deep and reverent writing. Scored by the highly regarded Mac Quayle, Mr Robot just as shows like Severance have received great reviews from fans and critics alike, with praise reserved especially for the performances of Malek, and Christian Slater who plays Mr Robot himself.
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4. Westworld (2016)
Shows like Severance always contain wild premises, some of which have now increasingly been churned out due to the big budget available to TV studios nowadays. Surprisingly, Westworld is actually a remake, based on the 1973 film of the same name, as well as its sequel, Futureworld.
Westworld fully realizes the vision of the earlier films, painting a very vivid image of a time in which lifelike android hosts have been built. These hosts cater to wealthy guests, who are able to act in any way they desire towards them. Westworld brings up many questions on subjects of morality, A.I, and free will. Its first season especially remains a classic, and you should give it a watch if you haven’t.
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5. Orphan Black (2013)
Orphan Black is set around the premise of a group of human replicants, but this time it’s genetically modified clones instead of robots. Created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, Orphan Black details the story of an illegal cloning ring, and what happens when someone discovers that they are indeed, a clone.
Similar to shows like Severance, Orphan Black raises questions about the morality of cloning a human being, and if it is fair to the human, clone, or even the society at large. Orphan Black was highly successful during its time on air and spawned a spin-off titled Orphan Black: Echoes, so take this as two recommendations in one.
6. Russian Doll (2019)
Russian Doll is another mind-warping story about a woman named Nadia who gets caught in a time loop. This loop happens to be the day of her very eventful 36th birthday, a day on which she dies repeatedly, only to wake up again to start it all over again. She soon decides to start using every re-awakening to solve the mystery once and for all.
Starring Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, Russian Doll has been praised for its dynamic tone, as sometimes it can be “fatally funny”, and other times “mournfully sad”. It’s this see-saw of emotions that makes Russian Doll one of the best quality shows in recent memory, securing its place alongside series similar to Severance.
7. Black Mirror (2011)
When we talk of wild and experimental premises, we can never overlook Black Mirror. This show is based on another anthology television series known as The Twilight Zone. Surprisingly, Black Mirror grew so much in popularity that it overshadowed The Twilight Zone’s recent reboot.
Black Mirror particularly focuses on using futuristic or near futuristic technologies to pass commentary on the society which we live in. Debuting on the British channel Channel 5, Black Mirror gained so much traction that it was eventually picked up by Netflix. Black Mirror is a must watch as it influenced the resurgence of shows like Severance.
8. The Leftovers (2014)
The Leftovers is another level when we talk of crazy premises in series like Severance. The show is set three years after “The Sudden Departure” when millions of people across the globe disappear suddenly. It takes a more emotional route compared to shows like this, as it’s not all about solving the mystery, but rather it’s more about the emotions and grief felt by those that were left behind.
The show is somber in tone as well as thought-provoking. It asks real questions to real issues, ones we can relate to in some way as viewers, although not on a scale as massive as this. Everyone knows what it feels to be lonely, and it’s nice to see a TV show portray that on the small screen.
9. Maniac (2018)
Maniac is a miniseries that aired on Netflix, centered on two strangers named Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim. They both meet at a highly dangerous and tasking 12-person clinical trial, which is being conducted by the shady company known as Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech.
Together, they make their way together through various mind-bending hallucinations set in a retro-futuristic New York. A story with a unique premise comparable with shows similar to Severance, Maniac gained glowing reviews for the performance of Emma Stone as Annie as well as Jonah Hill who plays Owen Milgrim.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)
The Handmaid’s Tale takes us to a future not many would want to see. In a dystopian world set following a Second American Civil War, a totalitarian society has emerged, one in which women capable of bearing children are subjected to slavery, and forced to produce offspring for their masters and mistresses.
Slavery is a deep theme to tackle, and The Handmaid’s Tale does that with a good sense of maturity and respect to the subject matter. This show can be heart-wrenching at times, and you might come for the out-of-this-world premise similar to series like Severance, but you’ll definitely stay for the writing, story-telling both visually and in its dialogue.
11. Loki (2021)
You might not have been expecting to see a superhero show on this list, considering every superhero show or movie automatically has a wild premise. However, Loki digs even further to create a truly mind-bending adventure. The show is centered on Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, and is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame Panic.
This show is a time-traveling thriller that sees Loki travel from set piece to set piece. Released as part of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki was one of the more critically acclaimed shows to be produced by the phase, and even has a surprise appearance from Owen Wilson is a major role on the show. If you enjoy series like Severance, why not dip your toes into this?
12. Homecoming (2018)
Homecoming features Julia Roberts in another psychological thriller series similar to Severance. The plot is centered on Julia Robert’s Heidi Bergman, a social worker at Homecoming Transitional Supporting Center. Heidi in her capacity as a social worker helps soldiers transition into civilian life.
Like all the shows on our list so far, all never really is as it seems on the surface, and she soon discovers the true purpose of the facility, and it isn’t simply for rehabilitation. It’s surprisingly Julia Robert’s debut on the small screen as a lead character, considering her long and successful career on the big screen. Make sure to check it out.
13. Made For Love (2021)
Made for Love is a science fiction TV series based on a novel of the same name authored by Alissa Nutting. The show is centered on a young woman named Hazel Green, the ex-wife of a tech billionaire, who tries to move on with her life but soon discovers that her ex-husband had implanted her brain to track and keep a watch on her, against her will. .
Although a story told in the form of a comedy, Made for Love touches upon some deep topics in a similar way to shows like Severance. Hazel, played by Cristin Milloti, tried her best to regain her freedom from her ex-husband’s surveillance. Originally released on HBO Max, you can find it nowadays on The Roku Channel or Tubi.
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14. The Flight Attendant (2020)
The Big Bang Theory’s Kayley Cuoco takes a detour on The Flight Attendant. In this show she plays a character known as Cassie Bowden, an alcoholic flight attendant who suddenly wakes up one day to a dead body next to her. She has no choice but to clean up the crime scene and figure out the mystery before she is roped in for a murder she has no idea about.
As at the time of its release, The Flight Attendant was the biggest HBO Max debut of all time, even surpassing the Gossip Girl reboot back in 2021. Viewers were pleased by the quality of the show, as ratings went on a rise consistently episode by episode. If you enjoy series similar to Severance, you should give this show a try.
15. The Third Day (2020)
The Third Day is a mystery TV series about a man and woman who make separate individual journeys to a spooky island in the isles of Britain. The show is split into three parts, the first follows the journey of Sam, played by Jude Law, the second is a twelve-hour live event shot in one take, while the third part follows the journey of Naomi Harris’ Helen.
One thing that stands out in The Third Day, and shines through in shows like Severance, is the atmosphere. The dark, moody atmosphere is furthermore elevated by the performances of Jude Law and Naomi Harris, and if you’re interested in a unique premise and story, check out The Third Day.
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Here are some more great series like Severance that didn’t make the list but you can watch regardless:
- 12 Monkeys (2015)
- Perpetual Grace (2019)
- Night Of (2016)