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Shows Like Normal People That Drama Fans Need To See

Based on the popular novel of the same name by Sally Rooney, the BBC Three/Hulu drama miniseries "Normal People" follows the years-long on and off relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal). Their relationship begins in the latter years of secondary school in a small Irish town, during which Connell insists they keep their relationship a secret because of Marianne being an outcast at school. Later, they both end up at Trinity College, where their relationship evolves through spurts of dating and of just being friends as they navigate early adulthood. Rooney adapted the series alongside Alice Birch and Mark O'Rowe; every episode was directed by either Lenny Abrahamson or Hettie Macdonald.

The series launched to praise up and down the board, but particularly for its delicate, intimate writing and for the two lead performances — Edgar-Jones' and Mescal's — who brought the intimacy of the young adults' shifting relationship to life. James Poniewozik of the New York Times wrote of the series, "Watching it feels like walking through someone's memories, sampling crucial bits of experience and image — a bike ride, a figure reflected in a pool — that, only in retrospect, turn out to have meant everything. I found it all moving and emotionally wrecking, in the best way."

If you too watched "Normal People" and felt "emotionally wrecked in the best way" — and want to feel that way again, read on for other drama shows to check out next.

High Fidelity

Much like the characters in "Normal People," Rob of "High Fidelity" has trouble navigating her strong emotions and the love she feels for her romantic interests. Based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nick Hornby (complete with a gender swap of its protagonist), Hulu's short-lived series "High Fidelity" follows record store owner Rob (Zoë Kravitz) as she struggles to get over her breakup with former fiancé Mac (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

Despite being canceled after just one season, "High Fidelity" was adored by both critics and viewers. Critics found it to be an update on the story completely worth one's time (following the 2000 film starring John Cusack), as it added nuance and new perspective, fueled by the decision to make Rob a woman. Reviewer Andi Zeisler remarked on this, writing, "'High Fidelity' is an update that feels timely while remaining true to much of its source materials' ultimately softhearted optimism."

Kravitz also received a significant amount of attention for her leading role, with critics pointing to a layered performance as the complicated Rob. Kylie Northover at The Age wrote, "Despite looking effortlessly cool, Kravitz manages to embody the slacker superfan perfectly; she's both annoyingly self-pitying and relatable (particularly to those of us who have ended relationships on the basis of bad record collections)." All in all, "High Fidelity" will pull you in — whether you're a music lover like Rob or not.


"Normal People," at its core, is an exploration of intimacy, love and relationships. Another series that tackles those topics head on is the Netflix anthology show "Easy," created, written and directed by Joe Swanberg. Set in Chicago, each episode focuses on a different storyline — although there are some overlaps in story and recurring characters — about the ins and outs of modern love. The storylines include a married couple exploring an open relationship, a writer trying to reconnect with his ex after publishing a book about their relationship, and more.

Each of the three seasons have been very well received — the show has an average 90% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics have pointed out that the show sets out to depict honest portrayals of love and relationships — and succeeds. Jacob Clifton of The Austin Chronicle wrote, "What we find — the hidden grace, the beauty — in these eight stories is a moment, a hinge in the conflict, where honesty and openness can win the day."

Relatedly, Swanberg has been praised for his writing, above anything else, as the episodes are undeniably driven by dialogue. Fran Hoepfner of Jezebel wrote, "Swanberg's work is undeniably best when people are talking. He likes to let people talk and learn and discover things from each other, and when his characters are allowed to do that, they sound like people I know." It's this genuine, honest feel of the show that makes it so compelling as it jumps from character to character, story to story.


This British series "Scrotal Recall" only got one season on its original network (the UK's Channel 4), but lucky for its fans, Netflix swept it up and commissioned a second season — fit with a brand new name: "Lovesick." The series follows Dylan Witter (Johnny Flynn), who, after being diagnosed with chlamydia, sets out to call all of his exes to inform them to get tested. The show takes place both in the present and through flashbacks, as each of Dylan's past trysts are shown in detail. Despite the series featuring a slew of flings and love interests, the central relationship of the show is really Dylan and his best friend, Evie Douglas (Antonia Thomas), who has secretly been in love with Dylan for years. The two share a flat in Glasgow with their other close friend, Luke (Daniel Ings), who deals with his own love life, while acting as somewhat of a middle man between Dylan and Evie.

The show has garnered a substantial amount of praise for its writing and, specifically, how it's able to be brutally candid and hopeful at the same time. New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum wrote, "The title suggests 'The Hangover' marinated in home-brew backwash, but 'Scrotal Recall' is in fact the most delicate of these shows... Like a folded-paper fortune-teller revealing someone's fate." Ben Travers of IndieWire expressed a similar sentiment, writing, "The show trades off regrets, wistfulness, heartache, and tragic circumstances, but always comes back to the idea that love exists, and with it, hope."

All in all, if you loved the longterm wistfulness and yearning of "Normal People," but wanted a few more laughs, then "Lovesick" is the perfect ft for you.


Created, written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who used her own one-woman play as source material), "Fleabag" became somewhat of a delayed sensation upon its arrival on the TV landscape. While its first season was received positively, its second season blew both critics and viewers completely away. Following that second (and final) season, "Fleabag" picked up six of its 11 Emmy nominations, including a win for Outstanding Comedy Series.

"Fleabag" follows an unnamed woman living in London — played by Waller-Bridge — struggling to find a stride in her life after the death of both her mother and her best friend, Boo (Jenny Rainsford). Further, she often butts head with her sister Claire (Sian Clifford) and has a strained relationship with her very uncommunicative father (Bill Paterson) — who also happens to be dating her late mother's former best friend and the sisters' godmother (Olivia Colman). In Season 2, when her life is more on track, she meets and develops inappropriate feelings for a priest (Andrew Scott), further complicating her life.

The series was beloved by critics and received praise up and down the board — for the writing, directing, acting and other elements. In a 5/5 star review, Allison Keene of Collider wrote, "'Fleabag' distills the rawest human emotions down into the most economically precise dialogue, cutting directly to the quick, and all of it wrapped up in brightly glib packages. It's universal and also incredibly female." Adding on to that, Caroline Framke of Variety called the second season "a meticulous triumph as gorgeous as it is wrenching."

Love Life

The HBO Max series "Love Life" follows its protagonist Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick) through multiple years of her life, beginning with her first romance and ending with her last, once she has found her "person." Each episode focuses on a different person in Darby's life, whether it be a love interest, a friend, or a family member — the show explores all types of love. The second season is slated to premiere on October 28, 2021 and will follow a new protagonist, named Marcus Watkins, played by "The Good Place" actor William Jackson Harper.

The series has been received generally well so far, especially by viewers — the first season has a 65% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 83% audience score. Critics found the show charming and entertaining and noted Kendrick as an ideal choice for the lead role.

Comparing it to the fondly-remembered "Sex and the City," Lucy Mangan of the Guardian wrote, "I could happily binge the entirety of this baby SATC exactly as is. It is the perfect balm for troubled times." Valerie Anne Liston of Autostraddle wrote, "As time goes on, Darby starts to realize that romantic love isn't the only kind of love she should be focusing on. And I think that's why I ended up being so entranced by this show. Yes, it chronicles Darby's love life throughout the years, but it's never about the men she dates or marries or loves. It's about Darby."

Feel Good

Similar to "Normal People," "Feel Good" centers on one couple and the hurdles that they face while pursuing their relationship. Created by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson, "Feel Good" stars Martin as a fictionalized version of herself. Mae is a standup comedian and recovering addict who meets a woman named George (Charlotte Ritchie) at one of her shows. The two begin dating — only to quickly face challenges, such as the details of Mae's addiction and George's reluctance to come out to her friends and family.

The series was extremely well-received, currently boasting a perfect 100% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya of The AV Club, for one, had nothing but positive things to say about "Feel Good," writing, "It doesn't always feel good to watch it, but that's part of Feel Good's magic. It tells a story full of discomfort and insecurity with self-assuredness, empathy, and charm."

Additionally, Martin received much of the praise as both the writer and star. Joshua Kosman at the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Martin, who co-wrote (with Joe Hampson) and stars, hits each mark of the rom-com formula faithfully — and then turns it around to make it feel unprecedentedly true to life. The result is at once uproarious and restlessly provocative." All in all, "Feel Good" shows a committed relationship is its full form — with the challenges on display right alongside the best moments.


"Dickinson," on Apple TV+, explores many of the same themes of "Normal People" — love and longing, friendship and artistic endeavors — but in the form of a period piece with modern twists. It follows 19th century poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), exploring the constraints of society and gender from the perspective of a writer — including the fact she's in love with her best friend Sue (Ella Hunt), engaged to Emily's brother Austin (Adrian Blake Enscoe).

The show was well-received from its debut episode but, according to critics, has only gotten better as it's gone on; looking at Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 75% Tomatometer score, while the second has a perfect 100% score. "Dickinson" has been praised for depicting a complex coming-of-age story with Emily's arc, compelling performances and blending of genres.

Valerie Anne Liston of Autostraddle wrote, "'Dickinson' dances on the line between drama and comedy, biographical and supernatural, historical and modern. Some of the quieter, more poetic scenes tug at my heart and hold a mirror up to my soul and make me want to lie on the ground for a few hours." Adding on to this, Danette Chavez of The AV Club wrote, "'Dickinson' season two has more of everything: poetry, sex, longing, ambition, relevance, and spot-on performances." The second quote could easily also be applied to "Normal People," making "Dickinson" the perfect companion.

Modern Love

In a similar vein to "Easy," "Modern Love" explores themes of relationships, connections and intimacy in the form of an anthology series. Developed by John Carney, "Modern Love" is based on the New York Times weekly column of the same name, in which real people write about their love stories — whether it be romantic, familial or otherwise. Each episode tells the story of one column, with the plots ranging from a dating-app CEO longing for his lost love to a middle schooler trying to come to terms with her sexuality by consulting online quizzes. The ensemble cast also boasts some recognizable names, such as Anne Hathaway, Kit Harington, Dev Patel, Anna Paquin and Tobias Menzies.

"Modern Love" received praise for its heartwarming nature, compelling stories and the charming performances from its many leads. Nicole Abadee of The Age summed this up well, writing, "I found myself cheering each set of lovers on, hoping they could work it out ... I felt a warm buzz of happiness at the end of each episode — and there aren't many shows you can say that about." Erin Carson of CNET added, "What saves it from being overly saccharine is that the stories are real, and not every one wraps up tidily."

If you're looking for a bunch of mini love stories told with charm and thoughtfulness, "Modern Love" will definitely deliver.


As one of the many shows on this list with "love" in the title, you can probably guess what Netflix's "Love" is doing here. Much like the others, it shows the evolution of a relationship throughout its many stages. The official synopsis of the series describes it as a "down-to-earth look at dating from creator Judd Apatow ... showing both the male and female perspective as they navigate the good and bad, the exhilarations and humiliations on their way to Love." It stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust as Mickey and Gus, the two characters who meet and begin a relationship with each other, having to deal with each of their pasts.

Sam Wollaston of The Guardian declared that "Love" is as giddy and messy as the real thing, leaving him "hooked." This short sentiment gets to the root of what resonated with many critics and viewers — "Love" is unflinchingly honest about a portrayal of its subject. Mickey and Gus both have their fair share of baggage that is bound to cause their relationship some extra hurdles — and "Love" doesn't shy away from that fact, but embraces it.


"Catastrophe," the British series created by Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan (both of whom also star), presents a love story in reverse, so to speak. After a short fling with American executive Rob Norris, Irish schoolteacher Sharon Morris finds out she's pregnant. From there, Rob and Sharon decide to commit to a life together, raise their baby and pursue a relationship with one another.

Hank Stuever of The Washington Post declared it "peak TV's finest love story," which is quite the praise to live up to. But, according to most critics, it does rise to the occasion, presenting an honest, compelling look at the everyday challenges of a long-term romantic partnership. In a review of the final season, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The last six episodes of 'Catastrophe' are not unlike the 18 that came before — often brilliant, relentlessly hilarious and searing in the process, depicting one of TV's best and most unexpected pairings of two actors (also the creators and writers, of course), who somehow made their coupling, as unromantic as it was, believable, with every episode over the course of the series run giving off an authenticity that allowed viewers to think, 'Yeah, I can see how this works for them, even when it's not working.'"

Overall, it's clear that love is one of the most fascinating themes out there to viewers — and these shows are the perfect place to start when you want to dive into a series about love, in all of its complexities.