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Like Mad Men? Then watch these 5 great TV shows right now

Don sits with Peggy and Harry in Mad Men.

Mad Men is universally regarded as one of the greatest shows in the history of television, and deservedly so. Across its seven seasons, the AMC series introduced more memorable characters and told more compelling stories than most TV shows ever have. In case that wasn’t enough, Mad Men also fully stuck its landing in its final season, a fact that has made returning to it over the years an endlessly appealing prospect.

Thanks to its stylish 1950s and ’60s aesthetic and grounded, character-first storytelling, it ranks as one of the most immersive TV shows that you’ll likely ever come across. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many series that offer the same — let alone as many — pleasures as Mad Men does. For all the fans out there who are hungry for something similar to the acclaimed AMC drama, though, here are five great TV shows you should check out.

Halt and Catch Fire

Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishé sit on a couch together in Halt and Catch Fire.

Set during the computer revolution of the 1980s and the dawn of the internet in the ’90s, Halt and Catch Fire is one of the most underrated TV dramas of the century. That may be due to the fact that, unlike Mad Men, it took some time for Halt and Catch Fire to truly find its footing. The series, which is led by veteran TV and film scene stealers like Mackenzie Davis, Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, and Kerry Bishé, premiered with an uneven first season. After getting off to a slightly rocky start, though, Halt and Catch Fire quickly transformed into one of the most confident and must-see period dramas of the past 10 years.

It doesn’t boast quite as expansive of an ensemble as Mad Men, but it does feature the same level of attention to period detail and dynamite character relationships. It flew far under many viewers’ radars during its 2014-2017 run, but it’s a low-key perfect follow-up to a drama as intimate and epic as Mad Men.

Halt and Catch Fire is streaming on The Roku Channel and AMC+.

Better Call Saul

Kim and Jimmy stand together in Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul may be a prequel to Breaking Bad, but they are two very different shows. The former is a far less explosive and operatic drama that, at times, feels like an off-kilter version of an otherwise straightforward lawyer TV drama. Like Bad, Saul explores the slow, but sure disintegration of its protagonist’s moral compass. However, it doesn’t do so through nearly as many outsized expressions of violence or evil.

Instead, it does it through small moral concessions, personal betrayals, and initially tiny escalations that give it a grounded, smaller scope that, in turn, makes it feel closer to Mad Men than its Vince Gilligan-created predecessor. Those who find great wonder, joy, and entertainment value in watching the interpersonal relationships of Mad Men evolve, unravel, and come back together over the course of its seven seasons will find similar pleasures in Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul is streaming on Netflix.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan sit together in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Amazon Prime Video

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a more straightforward comedy, but it’s set in New York during the same time period as Mad Men and, therefore, boasts a midcentury aesthetic that is as visually appealing as it is immersive. Created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, the beloved Amazon Prime original series frequently operates at a heightened, screwball pitch, but it balances out its outrageous sense of humor with a deeply empathetic, fundamentally dramatic interest in its characters’ inner lives that is positively Mad Men-esque.

It’s a broader show than that TV classic in every sense of the word, but it has just as much style and unexpected heart. There’s a reason why it managed to keep the interest of its intensely loyal fan base for several years.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The Deuce

Candy sits at a bar in The Deuce.

The Deuce is arguably the unsung masterwork of The Wire creator David Simon’s career. After quietly premiering on HBO in late 2017, the series went on to air three seasons before ending to little applause just two years later. Along the way, it patiently crafted a portrait of late 1970s and early ’80s New York City that feels as lived-in and vibrantly alive as it does tragic.

Its focus on the rise of the porn industry may make it a bit too grimy and explicit for some, but those who do decide to give The Deuce their time and attention will likely find themselves blown away by a show that, much like Mad Men, provides an uncompromising look at a world that more or less doesn’t exist anymore — in New York or anywhere. It’s not as undeniably great as Mad Men, but it is just as carefully constructed and executed.

The Deuce is streaming on Max.


Harper looks at Eric in Industry.

The most modern show on this list in terms of its recency and spirit, Industry still hasn’t earned the widespread attention it deserves. Set in the cutthroat world of investment banking in London, the HBO series follows a group of young up-and-comers as they try to carve out places for themselves in their field and balance their professional ambitions with their personal and sexual desires. Stylistically and narratively, it’s much less classical and restrained than Mad Men, but no less entertaining. It’s also the only show on this list that could truly be considered a workplace drama.

As a result, Industry offers both an inside look at a seemingly closed-off world and plenty of interpersonal workplace relationships for Mad Men fans to obsess over and get emotionally invested in. If you haven’t given it a chance yet, there’s no better time than now to start watching it.

Industry is streaming on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
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