10 Shows Like 'Mad Men' to Watch Next

If you're fresh off your latest 'Mad Men' rewatch and looking for a new series to try, Metacritic has you covered with a list of shows similar to the period drama.
by Annie Lyons — 

'Mad Men'


Fifteen years ago, Mad Men introduced viewers to the cigarette-smoking, martini-drinking world of Madison Avenue's ad men.  

Set throughout the 1960s, the character-driven drama revolves around Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a charismatic and womanizing advertising executive. His genius for ad campaigns befits his own highly calculated identity as he struggles with family life and a mysterious past. Counter to its title, the show's also driven by a trio of nuanced women: dissatisfied housewife Betty Draper (January Jones), secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), and confident Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).   

Created by Matthew Weiner, the period drama premiered on AMC on July 19, 2007 and ran for seven seasons. Throughout its course, the series explores the changing culture of the 1960s and also specifically examines the workplace politics of the ad world, including Don's often contentious relationship with ambitious Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and the rampant misogyny that Peggy and Joan face. With instances of dark humor, the show tackles existential themes, like the dissonance between the manufactured happiness that the deeply flawed Don constructs in his work and his personal struggle to find inner peace. 

Mad Men has a Metascore of 86 and is often recognized by critics as one of the greatest television dramas of all time and a stalwart of the Peak TV era. Its fourth and best-received season has a Metascore of 92, currently ranking 55th on Metacritic's Best TV Shows of All Time list. Mad Men earned numerous accolades in addition to critical praise, including eight nominations for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (winning four of them in consecutive years, tying the record for most wins in the category). Hamm also received eight Emmy nominations, eventually winning for his performance in the final season. 

If you're fresh off your latest Mad Men rewatch and looking for a new series to try, Metacritic has you covered with a list of shows similar to the period drama. The below list will especially appeal to Mad Men fans craving more critically acclaimed American period dramas and series dedicated to nuanced explorations of complicated characters. 

Here, Metacritic highlights 10 shows like Mad Men to watch next. 


Edie Falco and James Gandolfini in 'The Sopranos'


The Sopranos

Metascore: 94
Best for: Fans of antiheroes, shows that mix tragedy and comedy, and crime dramas
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 6

Weiner previously worked as a writer and executive producer on The Sopranos, another drama deeply concerned with the American dream. Created by David Chase, the show centers around antihero Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), a New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster. Suffering from panic attacks, he struggles to balance his job's demands with his tumultuous family life, and meets on/off with a psychiatrist. Amidst affairs and violence, the show explores corruption, existentialism, and whether people can change. Widely regarded as one of the greatest shows of all time, The Sopranos earned 21 Emmy Awards out of a total of 111 Emmy nominations, including nominations for Outstanding Drama Series for each of its six seasons, winning that top prize in 2004 and 2007.

"It is a show driven not so much by story line as by story telling. We may never have seen a TV program so adept at painting brilliant little vignettes that have nothing to do with anything except the sheer pleasure of watching a scene unfold or hearing pitch-perfect dialogue." — Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star


Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in 'The Americans'


The Americans

Metascore: 89
Best for: Fans of period dramas, spy thrillers, and explorations of complicated characters
Where to watch:

, Google Play, ,
Seasons: 6

Set during the 1980s, The Americans follows Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), two KGB spies masquerading in suburban Washington, D.C. as American citizens. The pair married as part of their cover story and have two kids who are unaware of their volatile secret identities. Created by former CIA agent-turned-writer Joe Weisberg, the spy thriller delves into how the Cold War tests their complex marriage, family dynamics, and sense of duty. The Americans received 18 Emmy nominations overall, with Rhys winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for his performance in the final season, the same year showrunners Weisberg and Joel Fields took home the Outstanding Writing in a Drama statue. Margo Martindale also took home two Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Emmys. The Americans also became one of the rare shows to earn two Peabody Awards, with the second one recognizing the series finale. 

"The stakes are high, and the rewards are plenty. It's why The Americans has been and remains one of the best programs on television: It challenges viewers for all the right reasons. It pushes back on expectations to make you dwell on many fleeting moments that build who you are overall." — Ben Travers, IndieWire


Steve Buscemi in 'Boardwalk Empire'


Boardwalk Empire

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of antiheroes and period dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , ,
Seasons: 5

Set in Atlantic City, this period crime dramatells a fictionalized account of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), a corrupt politician who rises to power during the Prohibition era. While he appears as a benevolent figure to the public, Nucky is a ruthless gangster behind closed doors who profits from bootlegging liquor throughout the city. The show was created by Terence Winter, based on Nelson Johnson's book about the real-life Nucky. Boardwalk Empire earned 20 Emmy Awards out of 57 total nominations, which included two nominations for Outstanding Drama Series. Like Weiner, Winter previously worked on The Sopranos as a writer and executive producer. 

"This instantly captivating period piece feels thrillingly modern as it captures with remarkable detail a chaotic time of invention and re-invention, of social progress and prosperity upstaged by the gaudy corruption and jazzy debauchery of the Prohibition era." — Matt Roush, TV Guide Magazine


'Masters of Sex'


Masters of Sex

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of mid-century period dramas and those fascinated by the science of human sexuality
Where to watch:

, , ,
Seasons: 4

This 1950s-'60s period drama fictionalizes the lives of William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), two famous researchers of human sexuality. Masters of Sex explores the tribulations the pair face as they try to get their research off the ground and their eventual ascent into the pop culture consciousness. However, their personal lives cross over into their work, especially as their sexual tension becomes clear. The show was based on Thomas Maier's biography of the couple and developed by Michelle Ashford. Caplan and Sheen both received award nominations for their performances, such as at the Critics Choice Television Awards. The show received 11 Emmy nominations, including one for Caplan's performance; its only win was in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama category for Allison Janney.

"Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along." — Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture





Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of satirical dark comedies and explorations of complicated characters
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 3 (so far)

Mad Men fans fascinated by the ad world's power dynamics might enjoy this dark comedy about a dysfunctional family who puts loyalty to business first and family second. Created by Jesse Armstrong, Succession revolves around patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the billionaire owner of a global media conglomerate. After a health scare, Logan begins to contemplate the future — namely, which of his four children might eventually take over as CEO. Ambitious but ineffectual Kendall (Jeremy Strong), his second eldest son, feels primed to take over, but clashes and tragedies ensue in the struggle for company control. Over consecutive years, Cox and Strong both won Golden Globes for their performances. The show has also taken home nine Emmys to date, including a trophy for Outstanding Drama Series.

"An intoxicating mix of wicked comedy and Lear-like tragedy. ... There's nothing all that likable about the Roys. They are a vain, petty and avaricious lot. But they are incredibly fascinating, thanks to the riveting performances and the razor-sharp writing." — Mark Dawidziak, Cleveland Plain Dealer


'BoJack Horseman'


BoJack Horseman

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of adult animation, existential dread, and shows that mix tragedy and comedy
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 6

It might seem like a funny comparison at first, but if Don Draper happened to be an actor — and a humanoid horse — he'd be a lot like BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett). This adult animation show from Raphael Bob-Waksberg takes place in an alternate world where anthropomorphic animals live alongside humans. BoJack is the alcoholic and washed-up former star of a popular 1990s sitcom who strives to regain his old status. However, he can't help but self-destruct in his search for happiness, and his selfish behavior often hurts those he cares about. The existential dark comedy received three Emmy nominations, including two in the Outstanding Animated Program category.

"In the end the depressed horse show didn't just give us a way to vocalize our own vulnerabilities, insecurities, and mental anguish. It also gave us hope for a better future, as well as a guide for us all to find our own happiness." — Kayla Cobb, Decider


Rachel Brosnahan in 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'

Prime Video

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of mid-century period dramas and comedies focused on women
Where to watch:

Seasons: 4 (so far)

Much like Peggy and Joan struggle with the sexist, male-dominated ad world, Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) deals with the "boys club" of stand-up comedy in the late 1950s. After her husband cheats on her, Jewish-American housewife Midge performs an impromptu and drunken stand-up routine, inspiring sarcastic manager Susie Byerson (Alex Borstein) to take her under her wing. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel features fast-paced dialogue, colorful production design, and a more fantastical, less cynical view of New York City than Mad Men. The show received 20 Emmy Awards so far, including one for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Brosnahan and Borstein have both earned numerous accolades for their performances, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Emmys, respectively.

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel pulls off an enviable feat in making us fall in love with a story about ambition and dreams while flirting with ideas about a woman's role in the spotlight, on stages and in history. And it does this without taking itself too seriously." — Melanie McFarland, Salon





Metascore: 77
Best for: Fans of the 1970s, shows about creative industries, and stories that explore sexuality
Where to watch:

Seasons: 1 (so far)

Set in 1970s Los Angeles, this comedyfollows a young feminist writer who inadvertently learns an advertising lesson of her own: Sex sells. Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) has always dreamed of running her own feminist magazine but has long struggled to find funding or support. Created by Ellen Rapoport, Minx follows her unlikely team up with an opportunistic publisher Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson) to create the first women's erotic magazine. While much more comedic in tone than Mad Men, Minx also explores the changing culture of its time period, most notably the sexual revolution and second-wave feminism. 

"What we've seen of Minx is downright addictive, from its groovy period-appropriate costumes to the careful balance of sleaze and satire." — Clint Worthington, RogerEbert.com


'Halt and Catch Fire'


Halt and Catch Fire

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of period dramas and stories about the intersections between technology and human connection
Where to watch:

, , , Google Play, ,
Seasons: 4

This tech-focused period drama chronicles the rise of the personal computer. Starting in 1983, Halt and Catch Fire follows former IBM executive Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), and programmer Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) as they attempt to reverse-engineer IBM PC technology. Like Mad Men, the show also explores gender roles in the workplace, cultural change, and tensions between professional ambitions and personal relationships. While the first season received mostly positive reviews from critics (Metascore: 69), Halt and Catch Fire grew significantly in acclaim over its course, earning a Metascore of 92 for its final season. 

"The thrill comes not from the actual computer building, but the people doing the building. These characters are complex and well-developed, especially Pace's fiery exec, who is a mesmerizing manipulator." — Jeff Korbelik, The Lincoln Journal Star


'Six Feet Under'


Six Feet Under

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans of shows that explore death and stories about dysfunctional families
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , ,
Seasons: 5

Created by Alan Ball, this drama spotlights another unique industry: the funeral business. After their father's death, Nate (Peter Krause) and David Fisher (Michael C. Hall) must take over the family funeral home. The nature of their work causes them to often reflect on death and their own mortality, which influences how they lead their personal lives. The show employs dark humor and surrealism, particularly by having dead characters frequently appear in visions to the living. Over its five seasons, Six Feet Under received numerous accolades, including nine Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. 

"The gracefully gonzo result is funny and affecting, and sometimes it is downright insightful. Good grief." — Mike Duffy, Detroit Free Press