Ever since “You” moved to Netflix from Lifetime Network, the popularity of the show has skyrocketed. Now in its fourth season, it still remains one of Netflix’s most sellable content. Of course, most of the credit for that goes to Penn Badgley’s breathtakingly charming portrayal of the title character, the psychopathic stalker/serial killer Joe Goldberg who you all love to hate, hopefully.
No two shows are absolutely similar, to be perfectly honest. But since you are here, after probably binge-watching the latest season of “You” for content similar to the show, I am going to make an honest attempt here to conjure up a list, hoping you find something to fill the large void in your life, now that there are no more new episodes of “You” to gorge on. The idea here is to pick certain aspects of the show and explore other content based on that in every possible genre. I will try to stay away from the obvious ones like Dexter or Hannibal.
6. Dirty John
Another Netflix show that revolves around a really charming man who manipulates his way into the lives of women and puts them in the way of harm, exactly the kind of things that happen in your favorite show. The true crime anthology, based on the podcast of the same name, has released two seasons so far.
In the first season, Eric Bana’s very charismatic John Meehan waltzes his way into the Newell family by seducing the mother, Debra, played by Connie Britton. Juno Temple and Julia Garner play the two daughters of Debra. The sophomore season of Dirty John follows the story of the turbulent marriage of Betty and Dan Broderick and the toll it takes on Betty. Amanda Peet and the forever charming Christian Slater play these characters.
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5. The Fall
In the city of Belfast, Paul Spector is a serial killer who targets young women. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson is hot on his trail, trying to catch the serial killer and build a case against him. The catch: Paul is also a very convincing family man with a wife and kids. If this was not enough, the very charming Jamie Dornan plays the central character, and the incredible Gillian Anderson plays Stella Gibson.
Like You, The Fall also has a very fascinating character at the center of it. Moreover, the psychological thriller offers you the kind of experience where it feels like you are inside a pressure cooker waiting to burst. The tension quotient is way too high, and there are enough twists and turns to keep you hooked to your screen while you bite your nail at the edge of your seat. The Fall has 17 pretty long episodes divided over three seasons.
4. Inventing Anna
Why should boys have all the chaotic fun?
Inspired by the story of Anna Delvey, aka Anna Sorokin, this Netflix miniseries was a rage when it was released back in February 2022. That was not surprising given this show came from the stable of ever-so-dependable Shondaland (Bridgerton, How to get away with Murder).
Still, wondering why? Alright, here’s the sauce for you. Anna Sorokin happens to be a con artist/fraudster who used to pose as a wealthy German heiress, Anna Delvey, to have access to New York’s top-level art scene and social cycle. The indomitable Julia Garner plays the titular character with enough swagger and conviction. Like Joe in You, Garner’s Anna is the show’s driving force and reason enough for you to take the ride with her and even accidentally root for her sometimes, as if you don’t do that for Joe Goldberg.
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3. Cruel Summer
Sprawling over three consecutive summers of the years 1993, 1994, and 1995, Cruel Summer tells the story of two girls: the very popular Kate, who suddenly disappears, and the socially awkward Janet, who seemingly takes Kate’s place.
One of the reasons behind “You” becoming a phenomenon is the writing of the show, which for the most part, is absolutely top-notch. Sure, there are so many head-turning, at times logic-defying twists. However, the pulp is mashed so beautifully that the juice you get is always very tasty and refreshing. Cruel Summer shares this same aspect with “You.” The fantastic writing is the main reason for it working out so brilliantly, along with two great lead performances by its two leads. Another great thing about Cruel Summer is that the show is highly binge-worthy, just like “You.”
2. The Americans
Alright, this is a far-reach. This show is set in eighties America, where two Russian spies posing as an American Couple to spy on the American Government during the cold war. As exciting as this might sound, there are no contextual or even thematic similarities between “The Americans” and “You.”
But I am putting this here because a lot of “You” is basically Joe Goldberg carefully observing people and what they are doing. In fact, for most of the second and fourth seasons of the show, Joe poses as someone else, and he fits into his new alias effortlessly. Although the motives are entirely different, Phillip and Elizabeth from “The Americans” do the exact same thing. Not to mention, the writing of “The Americans” is as good as “You.” In fact, even better, I dare say. It is one of the greatest shows of modern times and deserves to be watched and appreciated.
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1. Gossip Girl
And last but not least, the iconic Gossip Girl. I am sure you have heard about this if you are a fan of “You.” Just in case you haven’t, Penn Badgley stars as one of the main leads, a character named Dan Humphrey, in this teen drama about the rich upper-east siders kids, who would seem like more adults than actual adults.
Along with Penn Badgley, Gossip Girl stars all the popular people like Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, Leighton Meester, and even freaking Sebastian Stan before his Winter Soldier days. Just like “You,” this show is also filled with an infinite amount of toxicity and manipulation, along with backstabbing, hard-to-believe twists, and turns. It is also six seasons long, so if you get hooked, you do not have to worry about “what to watch” for at least a few months. And I promise by the end of it, you will have the uncontrollable urge to sign off your emails with the phrase “XOXO, Gossip Girl.”