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Shows Like Psych That Comedy-Drama Fans Need To Watch

With eight seasons and two movies, "Psych" has an impressive and undeniable track record as one of the most purely enjoyable TV shows around. We award it five out of five pineapples for its top-notch ability to make crime-solving hilarious. How many shows can juggle spot-on parodies, ludicrous undercover assignments, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and heartfelt emotional beats?

"Psych" may be the only show that offers that particular blend, but we've found a few other series that hit the same sweet spot in their blend of comedy and drama. Everything on the list below has a good chance of giving you some of your funniest TV moments of all time and either tugging your heartstrings or making you think. Because why should you have to choose?

Whether you want a comfort show full of characters you'd like to hang out with or something full of endless surprises, we've got you covered. Dramedies are an endlessly flexible genre, and these are some of our favorites.


If you want some more unconventional private eyes, you have to check out "Terriers," one of TV's best one-season wonders. Leads Hank (Donal Logue), a former cop whose drinking problem tanked his job and his marriage, and Britt (Michael Raymond-James), a former thief trying to go straight, have an unlicensed, under-the-table detective agency. They're barely scraping by, but their talent for unconventional problem-solving wins them a steady stream of clients.

"Terriers" supplements its cases of the week with a season-long hard-boiled mystery, and the show's plots are consistently sharp and well-executed. But the biggest attraction here is definitely the laid-back chemistry among the cast: Everybody here is both funny and real, capable of cracking us up and breaking our hearts.

The show was critically beloved, but as The AV Club explained, low ratings — and arguably lackluster marketing — meant it never really got off the ground with audiences. But it remains a favorite of everyone who caught it. Damon Lindelof, who ran "Lost," "Watchmen," and "The Leftovers," was a huge fan and said in a since-deleted tweet that "Cancellation sucks, but 10 years from now, we'll still be talking about 'Terriers.'" And indeed, here we are.


"Monk" and "Psych" are definitely part of the same family tree: Let's call "Monk" the older brother, the one who paved the way for a quirky, character-driven detective dramedy to be a hit.

Like Shawn Spencer, Tony Shalhoub's Adrian Monk is a consulting detective with a gift for noticing details others miss — but then their characters diverge. Shawn starts off as a lovable slacker who hasn't really gotten his life together; Monk is a man whose life has fallen apart. His wife's murder — still unsolved — made his obsessive-compulsive disorder and various neuroses become almost unmanageable, forcing him to retire from the police force. Consulting lets him tentatively reconnect with his work, even as it often tests his limits. He also comes with his own cast of colorful side characters, from the gruff-but-compassionate Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) to loyal assistants Sharona (Bitty Schramm) and Natalie (Traylor Howard). There are so many standout episodes it's hard for us to even choose favorites.

As the Humanology Project points out, "Monk" takes a lot of liberties with OCD. But if you take it all with a grain of salt, you'll find yourself with one of the most acclaimed comedy-dramas of the 00s. Tony Shalhoub is especially great here, with his performance ranging from hilarious to heartbreaking, and the format and tone were hugely influential on both "Psych" and TV as a whole.

Pushing Daisies

Take all of the strengths of a comedy-drama and add in a generous helping of dark whimsy, and you get "Pushing Daisies," one of the oddest and most enjoyable shows TV ever produced. Set in a quirky, candy-colored version of our more familiar reality, "Pushing Daisies" follows the adventures of Ned (Lee Pace), who has two skills: baking and resurrection. When Ned touches a dead person, they come back to life. If he touches them again, they die. And if he doesn't do the second touch within a minute of the first ... someone else nearby dies.

It's an awful gift, but it undeniably comes in handy sometimes, which is how Ned winds up assisting private detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride). Everything is going pretty smoothly until Ned is supposed to resurrect Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), his beloved childhood sweetheart he's been carrying a torch for all these years. Ned brings Chuck back to life, but he can't bear to kill her again. Thus begins an incredibly unconventional love story that makes "Pushing Daisies" as sweet as it is strange.

Full of charisma, surrealism, and charm, "Pushing Daisies" is distinctive enough that it may well be a love-it-or-hate-it show ... but we definitely love it, and we think you might too.


Classic spy shenanigans take on a great comedic twist in "Chuck." Adorkable electronics store employee Chuck (Zachary Levi) is a smart slacker who, for all of his good points, is going nowhere — and then he gets classified CIA and NSA information downloaded into his brain. And he's now the only person who has access to all of it. That makes him a huge asset for secret agents like Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) ... and a huge target for everyone else. And he still has to report for work as a member of the Nerd Herd.

The show blends derring-do and ordinary life to make great action-comedy, and the sweet romance between Chuck and Sarah provides an awesome emotional throughline. TV critic Alan Sepinwall singled out the show as "overflowing with joy, as if [the writers] repeatedly ask themselves, 'What else can we put into this scene that's awesome?'" Like "Psych," it just packs as much fun as possible into every minute.

Due South

"Fish out of water" setups are a staple of dramedies — and when you watch "Due South," you get an example that's an all-time classic. Mountie Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) — as he'll tell you himself — comes to Chicago to hunt down the men who killed his father, but he stays as an attaché to the Canadian consulate. Honest, honorable, and courteous, Fraser feels like he rivals the maple leaf as a symbol of Canada — which makes him an odd fit for the mean streets. But that's fine, because he's balanced by his alliance with a Chicago cop named Ray (first David Marciano, then Callum Keith Rennie — the cast replacement is smartly and funnily handled as a plot point).

"Due South" isn't really a cop show as much as it's a riff on one, with its own anarchic spirit and weird, particular sense of humor. It's not afraid to drift around between genres: Forget just blending comedy and drama, "Due South" throws in Fraser's father's ghost as a regular cast member and allows Fraser to take his deaf half-wolf everywhere. It may have ended in 1999, but it still feels fresh.


Sometimes you're good at solving crimes because your detective dad trained you to notice the smallest of details. And sometimes you're good at solving crimes because you can gain people's memories by eating their brains. We think you can guess which one of these descriptions applies to the great "iZombie."

Rose McIver plays Liv Moore, who gets a job as a coroner's assistant so that she can surreptitiously snack on the human brains that will keep her functional. But we are what we eat, as Liv finds — and the corpses she feeds on often have insights into their own murders. Who knew being undead could be such a boon to crime-solving? But detective work isn't the only thing that keeps Liv busy. She's also embroiled in major zombie-related conspiracies: The show has a creative and fascinating zombie setup, and it's not afraid to make huge changes in its world. You never know what you're going to get next.

This is the perfect all-you-can-eat buffet of wit, high-stakes drama, charismatic leads ... and (of course) brains.

Ugly Betty

"Psych" paid homage to telenovelas in episodes like "Lights, Camera ... Homicidio," so it's a natural match for the cheerful telenovela adaptation "Ugly Betty."

America Ferrera turns in an iconic performance as the sweet, sincere Betty Suarez. Her braces and total lack of fashion sense — she favors bright patterns, clashing colors, and (memorably) a souvenir poncho — make her stick out like a sore thumb at her job at the fashion magazine Mode. And since Mode is a hotbed of competitive backstabbing and intrigue, her fundamental goodness also marks her as someone special. Even if it might not seem like it on the surface, she's the perfect assistant for the magazine's overwhelmed new editor-in-chief, Daniel (Eric Mabius).

Across the show's four seasons, we loved rooting for Betty as she made her way through a thicket of complications that included everything from company power struggles to faked deaths. Likable characters — even the show's antagonists are ultimately lovable — and soap opera drama make "Ugly Betty" a blast.


"Barry" might look like a comedy — delivered in tightly written half-hour episodes that will supply you with plenty of funny characters and lines — but it's also incredibly, unflinchingly dark. It goes to bleaker places than "Psych," but if that's not a dealbreaker for you, this is a show you need to check out immediately.

Barry (the always awesome Bill Heder) was a soldier who came back from the war so damaged that he felt like killing was all he was good at. A little manipulation by his dad's friend Fuches (Stephen Root) turned him into a hitman ... but as the series starts, Barry is drifting around in a low-key depression. He got a little bit of purpose out of the feeling that his job was actually useful — the people he's killing are bad people, right? — but now that's fading. He winds up hitting on an unexpected, life-changing solution: acting class. But murder-for-hire isn't a job you can leave behind that easily. Even as Barry tries to settle into a new life as an aspiring actor, his brutal past continues to haunt him ... and result in bloodshed.

In addition to sharp writing, "Barry" has one of the best casts on TV: alongside Heder and Root, you also have Henry Winkler playing the delightfully hammy and surprisingly layered acting teacher, Sarah Goldberg as the driven but vulnerable object of Barry's affections, and Anthony Carrigan as a cheerful and irresistibly likable Chechen mobster. This is an innovative must-see show.


Comedy, drama ... and murder. "Psych" is an example of how perfectly those three concepts can go together, and it has good company with "Castle."

Successful mystery writer Richard Castle is going through a creative lull when he gets drawn into a murder investigation. That's how he meets Detective Kate Beckett. Her smart, driven personality clashes with Castle's laidback playfulness, and he drives her up the wall ... in a way that automatically tells viewers they're made for each other. Castle makes her the model for his next series character and, to Beckett's exasperation, gets permission to shadow her. Amid all the bickering and bantering, the two turn out to make a pretty unbeatable team.

"Castle" works with a classic formula. Nathan Fillion joked in an interview that he liked to say "Castle" was "a cross between 'Moonlighting' and 'Murder, She Wrote,' having not really remembered 'Moonlighting' that much and never having actually seen 'Murder, She Wrote.'" Well, for an off-the-cuff comparison, it's not bad at all. Witty, meta, and full of sizzling will-they-or-won't-they chemistry, "Castle" is a total success — which explains how it ran for nearly 200 episodes.

Boston Legal

This splashy and colorful legal dramedy should appeal to "Psych" fans who love the show's ensemble, tonal shifts, and goofy professionalism. "Boston Legal" started as a spinoff of the long-running drama "The Practice," but instead of just offering more of the same, it quickly developed its own distinct style. And one of the things it leaned into was gleeful weirdness.

Because while "Boston Legal" never hesitated to take on politically charged real-life issues and painful moral dilemmas, it also never hesitated to dress its two leads up like flamingos. Main character Denny Crane (William Shatner) struggles with growing disorientation and memory loss, but his larger-than-life persona — and willingness to shoot his own clients when he needs to — makes him as comedic as he is tragic. And his odd-couple friendship with the much more liberal and ostensibly much darker and more depressive Alan Shore (James Spader) is just delightful. Like Shawn and Gus, these two are made for each other. Their repartee and closeness make up the show's bedrock, giving it the freedom to hop up on a few soapboxes and test realism to its limits. As long as Denny and Alan are meeting up on their balcony for cigars and Scotch, all's right with the world.

That all makes for a winning blend of quirkiness and heartfelt connection, just as the series' cases provided both wacky hijinks and serious legal suspense. Dramedy fans — and those who like "Psych" as an ode to friendship — need to check it out.

Jane the Virgin

The smart, satirical "Jane the Virgin" is a bubbly, vibrant must-watch. Gina Rodriguez plays Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a sweet and — as the series opens — virginal young woman whose life takes a hard left turn when her gynecologist makes the exact kind of mistake you'd hope a gynecologist never would: accidentally artificially inseminating Jane during a routine exam. Whoops. Jane rallies, though, and soon, we're following her as she works to sort out her life and ensure a happy future for her child. The series is full of romance and soapy twists and turns, and it's all incredibly satisfying. And the cast is so terrific that we'd follow them anywhere.

It might not scratch your crime-fighting itch — though, hey, it does have a detective and more than a few crimes — but it will definitely satisfy your need for a "Psych"-like tone. It's a fun, wild ride — and an incredibly high quality one. As Maureen Ryan put it in a Variety review, "The fact that it is so entertaining and accessible should not preclude it from being at the center of conversations about the best the medium has to offer." Like "Psych," this show makes narratively propulsive delight look easy, and it deserves all the praise.

Royal Pains

"Royal Pains" excels at offering more of that "Psych" vibe. It even has a similar setup: Snarky, offbeat genius works outside the usual professional institutions and solves problems others can't.

But this is still far from a carbon copy. For starters, "Royal Pains" is a medical show, not a crime show, and Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) started off wanting to work within the establishment. He was actually doing just fine as an ER doctor — until he got booted from the job and blacklisted almost everywhere. Now he works in the fabulously wealthy Hamptons, serving as an on-call doctor for very rich — and often very annoying — patients. It's not his dream job ... but it does give him a fair bit of freedom. And it gives us more than a fair bit of comedy, along with quite a few trenchant moral dilemmas and some great character development. What's not to like?

Nothing, basically, which is why Newsday summarized it thusly: "As always, a sunny, laid-back pleasure."


"House" know that the show wasn't just one of the most engaging dramas on TV — it was also one of the funniest and most acerbic comedies.

Hugh Laurie turns in an stellar lead performance as Dr. Gregory House, a misanthropic and Vicodin-addicted doctor who wields sarcasm like a weapon. He's also a brilliant diagnostician, which means he gets all the cases no one else can figure out. But as smart as he is, his flaws are always on the verge of outweighing his virtues, and the show keeps us all remembering that it's possible that any minute now, the people in his life might decide that this isn't worth it. Or House might torpedo everything himself — which is something he excels at doing.

The show juggles excellent patient-of-the-week episodes with some great — and often emotionally devastating — long-term arcs. And like "Psych," one of its biggest draws is its complicated but powerful portrayal of two friends bound together by work, banter, and affection ... even though one of them has the tendency to mess up the other one's more orderly life. (But what are friends for, really?) This is definitely one of the top network shows of recent years.

White Collar

Another breezy, lighthearted USA Network show that pairs perfectly with "Psych" is "White Collar," where Neal, a cool, charismatic thief (and con artist and master forger) winds up with an ankle monitor and a deal: help the FBI catch people like him and get rewarded with early release. He's assigned to FBI agent Peter Burke, the man who caught him, and against all odds, the two form a low-key odd couple friendship that's one of the show's biggest delights. But just because Neal is temporarily working on the side of law and order doesn't mean he can completely shove all his old con artist instincts and tricks aside.

"White Collar" is just plain entertaining, with exciting caper plots, witty character interactions, and plenty of sharp suits. It has the energy and fun of movies like "Ocean's 11" and "Catch Me if You Can," and its ensemble cast is almost relentlessly charming. It's sure to satisfy your need for a fantastic hangout show that offers up both laughs and dramatic stakes.