Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

15 Shows like Severance and Other Mind-bending Stories with Crazy Premises

Tv Shows like Severance

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.

Also Read: Shows like The OA

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.

Watched this already? Read Shows like Mr. Robot

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.

Fan of Westworld? Check out Shows like Westworld

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.

Fan of workplace drama? Watch shows like The Bear

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.

Also watch: Shows like Fringe

Honorable Mentions:

Here are some more great series like Severance that didn’t make the list but you can watch regardless:

  1. 12 Monkeys (2015)
  2. Perpetual Grace (2019)
  3. Night Of (2016)

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
Similar Lists