X

10 Shows Like 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' to Watch Next

Starz renewed the crime drama for a third season, but if you need something new to watch in the meantime, try these 10 similar series.

Annie Lyons
screen-shot-2022-10-20-at-4-56-07-pm.png

Mekai Curtis and Patina Miller in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'

Starz

In Power Book III: Raising Kanan, viewers learn the origins of one of Power's most notorious villains. 

Power aired between 2014 and 2020, telling the story of James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), a powerful and successful drug dealer who caters to New York City's elite but wants to get out of the drug game and lead a legitimate life as a nightclub owner. Created by Courtney A. Kemp, the Starz drama follows Ghost as he lives this double life and tries to maintain a balance between his family, relationships, professional ambitions, and the dangerous criminal underworld. Executive producer 50 Cent portrays Kanan Stark, Ghost's ruthless and vengeful former mentor who blames Ghost for his imprisonment. 

The show's popularity led to multiple spin-off series: Power Book II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, and Power Book IV: Force. While Power fans know the eventual fate of Kanan, Raising Kanan goes back in time to 1991 South Jamaica, Queens to show how Kanan first got into the drug game. Played by Mekai Curtis, 15-year-old Kanan is a far cry from the hardened criminal introduced in the original series. The book smart yet naïve teenager hopes to follow in the footsteps of his mother Raq (Patina Miller), an ambitious and cutthroat queenpin. However, Raq wants Kanan to have a different life and tries to shield him from the family business, with their complicated relationship providing the show's emotional core. 

Starz renewed the show for a third season, but if you need something new to watch in the meantime, Metacritic has compiled a list of similar shows to add to your watchlist. The below list has plenty of other entertaining crime dramas, including more featuring period settings, family drama, powerful women, and coming-of-age storylines. 

Here, Metacritic highlights 10 shows like Raising Kanan to watch next.


the-wire-hbo

Michael K. Williams in 'The Wire'

HBO

The Wire

Metascore: 91
Best for: Fans of gritty crime dramas with a dedication to realism 
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 5

Often regarded as one of the greatest television dramas of all time, The Wire paints a portrait of a city and the complex characters that live within it. Created by former police reporter David Simon, the Baltimore-set crime drama explores institutional dysfunction and failures, drawing parallels between politics, business, organized crime, and law enforcement. The first season introduces the Baltimore Police Department and the Barksdale family, leaders of a drug-dealing gang. Subsequent seasons focus on the city port, the local government, public schools, and the media. Airing between 2002 and 2008, the show received critical acclaim but only received two Emmy Award nominations and won neither; both were for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. 

"They have done what many well-intentioned socially minded writers have tried and failed at: written a story that is about social systems, in all their complexity, yet made it human, funny and most important of all, rivetingly entertaining." — James Poniewozik, Time


top-boy-netflix

'Top Boy'

Netflix

Top Boy

Metascore: 84
Best for: Fans of crime thrillers
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 4 (so far)

Top Boy takes place in east London, revolving around a fictional housing estate named Summerhouse that's home to a thriving drug business. Similar to Raising Kanan, the show features two teenagers getting involved with the trade: volatile but vulnerable Ra'Nell (Malcolm Kamulete), whose mother is in the hospital, and his best friend Gem (Giacomo Mancini), who begins working for kingpins Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kane Robinson). Top Boy was originally canceled in 2014 but was revived partly due to Drake's interest in the show, with the musician becoming an executive producer. Creator Ronan Bennett returned for the revival, as did Robinson and Walters. The show's first two seasons are titled on Netflix as Top Boy: Summerhouse

"For all of Top Boy's gloom and heavy portent — during almost every scene, you wonder what terrible fate will befall the character in it — there are moments of dry humour. ... It is not a flattering portrait of our times, but as a TV drama, it is up there with the best — tense, gripping and relentless." — Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian


gomorrah-sky-network.png

'Gomorrah'

Sky Network

Gomorrah (2016)

Metascore: 76
Best for: Fans of gritty crime dramas and mafia stories
Where to watch:

, ,
Seasons: 5

Created by Roberto Saviano based on his book of the same name, this Italian crime drama delves into a brutal criminal underworld, focusing on the internal power struggle that threatens one of the top crime syndicates in poverty-stricken Naples. The show follows Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D'Amore), a power-hungry member of the Savastano clan, headed by Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino). After Pietro is arrested, a civil war breaks out between the traditionally minded old guard and the ambitious younger members led by Pietro's son Gennaro (Salvatore Esposito). The show received a 2019 spin-off film titled The Immortal.

"From one episode to the next, it's always a bit of a surprise which character will become the story's central figure, the writers seemingly able to make any of its dramatic players utterly gripping." — Tim Grierson, The Wrap


the-chi-showtime.png

Alex R. Hibbert in 'The Chi'

Showtime

The Chi

Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of coming-of-age dramas 
Where to watch:

, , , , ,
Seasons: 5 (so far)

If you appreciate the coming-of-age aspect of Raising Kanan, you might enjoy Lena Waithe's drama series about a Black neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Executive produced by Common, The Chi begins with two tragic, linked crimes and follows the interconnected lives of neighborhood residents in the aftermath, including a chef with restaurant dreams (Jason Mitchell), a preteen with a crush (Alex Hibbert), and a teen facing new responsibility (Jacob Latimore). While the show does explore the impact of gun violence, corrupt politicians, and sexual assault, The Chi focuses more on the daily lives of people trying to get by, blending tough circumstances with moments of levity and compassion. 

"Where The Chi really shines though is in the way Waithe and her writers room have a talent for crafting natural dialogue and the cadence of everyday speech. Despite its dark turns, the series also trades in hope, and it's instantly engaging on an emotional level." — Allison Keene, Collider


empire-fox.png

Taraji P. Henson in 'Empire'

Fox

Empire

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of shows about dysfunctional families and power struggles
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 6

Fans of how Raising Kanan explores the complex relationship between Kanan and Raq might enjoy this musical drama, which similarly blends family drama with high-stakes business dealings. Partially based on William Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear, Empire focuses on drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who must decide which of his three sons should take over his lucrative entertainment company. Also pulling strings is his ambitious ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), who was recently released from prison after taking the fall for the drug dealings that financed Lucious' early career. The show received six Emmy Award nominations, including two Outstanding Lead Actress nominations for Henson.

"Simultaneously refined and deliciously pulpy, Fox's mega-hit Empire roars back to life in its second year, with all the brand-specific viciousness and gasp-earning twists fans have come to expect from the Lyons." — Mitchel Broussard, We Got This Covered


godfather-of-harlem-epix.png

From left to right: Forest Whitaker and Nigél Thatch in 'Godfather of Harlem'

EPIX

Godfather of Harlem

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of crime dramas with period settings
Where to watch:

, , , , ,
Seasons: 2 (so far)

This mob drama set in 1960s New York City blends historical figures and events with fiction, starring Forest Whitaker as Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, who was a real-life crime boss. The show picks up when Bumpy returns to his old neighborhood after a 10-year stint in Alcatraz, only to discover that the Genovese crime family has gained control during his absence. As Bumpy struggles to regain his kingpin status, Godfather of Harlem also explores the growing civil rights movement, with Bumpy's path intersecting with Baptist pastor and congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (played by Giancarlo Esposito) and revolutionary Muslim minister Malcolm X (played by Nigél Thatch).

"Fast-paced and captivating. ... Its depiction of a racially divided, corrupt and often venal world rings just as true today." — Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times


gangs-of-london-sky-atlantic.png

Sope Dirisu in 'Gangs of London'

AMC

Gangs of London

Metascore: 70
Best for: Fans of crime dramas with lots of action
Where to watch:

, , , , ,
Seasons: 2 (so far)

Loosely based on the 2006 video game of the same name, Gangs of London is another British drama concerning power struggles in the London criminal underworld. The show begins with the assassination of Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), the head of the city's most powerful crime family. His murder creates a power vacuumn, causing the city's slew of international criminals to all violently grapple for increased power, and tensions get excaberated further when Finn's impulsive son Sean (Joe Cole) takes his place. As he faces rivals on all sides, Sean receives advice from Ed Dumani (Lucian Msamati), his father's longtime adviser, while undercover police officer Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu) infiltrates the organization. 

"Gangs of London has an uneasy path to walk but it's mostly successful at navigating it. On the one hand, it's an absorbing drama about a wealthy, viciously unethical family on the cusp of generational change. (Think The Godfather or Succession.) Now, combine that with enough lethal firepower and martial-arts mano a mano to give Jason Statham pause, and you've got Gangs of London." — Cary Darling, San Francisco Chronicle


claws-tnt.png

Niecy Nash-Betts in 'Claws'

TNT

Claws

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of dark comedies and crime dramas led by women
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 4

While much more comedic in tone than Raising Kanan, Claws also features a woman making her way through a more male-dominated criminal underworld. Niecy Nash-Betts stars as Desna Simms, the owner of a nail salon in Manatee County, Fla., who works with her three close friends: Jennifer (Jenn Lyon), Polly (Carrie Preston), and "Quiet Ann" (Judy Reyes). Desna becomes entangled with the Dixie Mafia when she begins using the salon to launder money, hoping to save up for a better salon. After winning over Desna's trust, former stripper Virginia (Karrueche Tran) also begins working at the salon and joins the crew in their criminal activities. 

"Claws works best (and is most engaging) when it sticks closely to the five women that defined this show's appeal from the beginning." — Shannon Miller, The A.V. Club


snowfall-fx.png

Damson Idris in 'Snowfall'

FX

Snowfall

Metascore: 63
Best for: Fans of crime dramas with period settings
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 5 (so far)

While Raising Kanan takes place during the waning years of the crack cocaine epidemic, Snowfall turns back the clock to chronicle the epidemic's beginnings in 1980s Los Angeles. The crime drama revolves around several characters who get involved in the drug's trade and angle for power, their lives eventually intersecting. Characters include Lucia Villanueva (Emily Rios), a Mexican crime boss' daughter who sees lucrative potential in the drug; Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), an ambitious 20-year-old street dealer; Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a former Mexican wrestler who begins working as a cartel enforcer; and Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative using the drug trade to fund Nicaraguan Contras. 

"The story is gripping enough, and the cast compelling enough to make you want to come back for more." — Kelly Lawler, USA Today


queen-of-the-south-usa.png

'Queen of the South'

USA

Queen of the South

Metascore: 59
Best for: Fans of crime dramas led by women
Where to watch:

, , , Netflix,
Seasons: 5

Fans of how Raising Kanan sets itself apart from other male-dominated crime shows by having Raq as kingpin might want to check out Queen of the South. An English-language remake of the popular telenovela La Reina del Sur, the show follows Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), a poor woman from Sinaloa, Mexico who eventually becomes the powerful leader of a drug empire. After the murder of her boyfriend, she flees to the United States to escape his ruthless former cartel. Once there, she joins up with Camila Vargas (Veronica Falcón), the estranged wife of the cartel's boss who runs her own criminal organization. 

"What Queen needs to decide is if it wants to tell the complicated origin story of a drug lord, Breaking Bad-style, or if it's fine being a shallow-but-entertaining thriller. Right now, it's trying to be both, and, as the first episode shows, straddling the line can be a one-way ticket to ruin." — Ariana Bacle, Entertainment Weekly