X

10 Shows Like 'This Is Us' to Watch Next

If you've dried your tears after finishing 'This Is Us' and are ready for your next family drama, discover these 10, ranked by Metascore.

Allison Bowsher
nup-195631-01416.jpg

'This Is Us'

NBC

For six seasons, the Pearson family of This Is Us took viewers on an emotional rollercoaster ride, earning ample awards and critical acclaim (Metascore: 76).

With a large ensemble cast that includes Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Sterling K. Brown, the drama unfolds follows family dynamics, love, and loss over several decades and around several mysteries, including when and how major characters die, as well as which characters are still standing in the flash-forwards.

This Is Us tells the love story of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore), as well as the lives of their three children: Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and their adopted son Randall (Brown). The love lives of all five characters are told over several decades, with the series using time jumps to move between the characters' current lives, their childhood, and their future. Jack's death and the decline of Rebecca's health due to Alzheimer's are two of the major threads that weave together the timelines in This Is Us, with repercussions from both events unfolding over a long amount of time, giving viewers who have suffered loss and grief ample opportunities to see themselves on screen.

Additionally, the show deals in such difficult subject matter as PTSD, addiction, anxiety, and adoption, while also telling two great love stories: that of Jack and Rebecca Pearson, and that the love story of a family that always comes together to support and uplift one another.

But This Is Us wrapped up its six-year run at the end of May 2022. It might be early to finish your mourning of its loss (look how long it took the Pearsons to mourn Jack, after all), but if you are ready for your next similar binge, here are 10 shows to watch next, ranked by Metascore.


screen-shot-2022-05-17-at-1-36-00-pm.png

Dominic West and Ruth Wilson in 'The Affair'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Affair

Metascore: 81
Best for: Fans of smart, sexy dramas with an element of thrill and a touch of whodunit?
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, iTunes, , Showtime
Seasons: 5

To say the relationships on The Affair are messy would be an understatement. While the series doesn't have the feel-good charm of This Is Us, it should intrigue viewers who are fans of non-linear mystery storylines. The same events as seen from various characters' viewpoints makes The Affair a unique feat in television, with an impressive cast that includes Dominic WestRuth WilsonMaura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson. Starting with an affair in a sleepy seaside community, The Affair dabbles in murder, grief, absentee parents, guilt, and a whole lot of sex.

"As unnerving as it is erotic, The Affair promises to be a show to remember." — Matt Roush, TV Guide Magazine


big-little-lies.jpg

'Big Little Lies'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Big Little Lies

Metascore: 78
Best for: Murder mystery fans who want to see Oscar winners on the smaller screen
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes,
Seasons: 2

Few shows have been able to play the mystery long game quite as well as This Is Us, and while Big Little Lies has less ground to cover in its two seasons, it still does an admirable job of hooking viewers with a murder mystery and paternity case told in flashbacks and flash-forwards. Complicated family dynamics are also explored in Big Little Lies, which is adapted in the first season from Liane Moriarty's novel of the same title and tells an original story in the second season, and it boasts an all-star cast of Hollywood elite including Meryl StreepReese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman. The real estate of the Monterey, Calif.-based series and a strong indie soundtrack also add to the emotional weight of the series.

"Big Little Lies is offering up some of the best psychological storytelling on television." — Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic


screen-shot-2022-05-18-at-11-29-11-am.png

From left to right: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in 'Gilmore Girls'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Gilmore Girls

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of This Is Us who want to see Ventimiglia play a character opposite to Jack Pearson
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix,
Seasons: 7 and a follow-up limited series

While Ventimiglia's Jack Pearson can seemingly do no wrong on This Is Us (#dadgoals, #husbandgoals and #bestfriendgoals), his earlier role as Jess Mariano on Gilmore Girls is a far cry from the dependable Pearson patriarch. Gilmore Girls is a series about family dynamics, in this case focusing on former teen mom Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her now-teen daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), as well as Lorelai's parents. The women are often at odds with the elder Gilmores but find an extended family in the residents of their small town. Ventimiglia's Jess, who is one of Rory's long term boyfriends, often divided audiences with his behavior. Teenage Jess would have benefited with some guidance from Jack Pearson.

"A family show that's sweet, but not too syrupy, bitingly funny, but not mean-spirited and fun for viewers of all ages, without appealing to the blandest common denominator." — Alan Sepinwall, The Star-Ledger


outlander.jpg

'Outlander'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Outlander

Metascore: 76
Best for: Fans of historical pieces, romances, and time jumps
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Starz,
Seasons: 6 (so far)

While This Is Us jumps a few decades to tell the story of the Pearson family, Outlander jumps centuries. The series follows the relationship between Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a nurse from the British army, and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a Highland fighter. Claire is accidentally transported from her Scottish honeymoon in 1945 to the Highlands in 1743, where she meets and eventually falls in love with Jamie. Claire travels back to her old life for a few decades before returning to Jamie, with the pair picking up where their relationship left off. Those are just the basics of the Emmy-nominated series, but essentially if Game of Thrones (bloody battles, sweeping scenery, sex, nudity, and assault) was mashed together with This Is Us (epic love stories, time-hopping) and sprinkled with a healthy dose of history, you would get the very entertaining Outlander.  

"Its core is about the emotional and cultural differences between men and women, and how their relationships have and have not changed over the centuries." — Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture


trying.jpg

'Trying'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Trying

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of British comedies and anyone who has struggled with infertility
Where to watch: iTunes
Seasons: 2 (so far)

Trying may be set in the U.K. and highlight the vibrant Camden neighborhood where couple Jason (Rafe Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith) live, but it's a comedy that people everywhere can see themselves in. Viewers meet the loving 30-something pair just as they are ready to embark on parenthood. When infertility issues arise, Jason and Nikki try adoption, with the realities and heartaches of the process lightened slightly with humor and charm. Career changes, divorce among friends, and aging parents also take center stage from time to time, which relates to This Is Us in its realistic handling of the ups and downs of romantic relationships and adoption.

"It's great to have this much candor in a series that is still so highly entertaining." — Amy Amatangelo, Paste Magazine


greys-anatomy.jpg

'Grey's Anatomy'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Grey's Anatomy

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of medical dramas, romance series, and shows that will definitely make you cry
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, , iTunes, Netflix,
Seasons: 18 (so far)

There haven't been many storylines left untouched by Grey's Anatomy in its 18 seasons (and counting), and that includes adoption, addiction, divorce, blended families, and PTSD — all territory that has also been covered on This Is Us. Both series use flashbacks to help create fully formed characters and explain complicated family dynamics. Like This Is Us, Grey's Anatomy also knows how to pull on viewers' heartstrings, create some ugly-cry-inducing moments and inject a little reprieve of comedy when it's needed most. Oh, and those characters that you have spent multiple seasons forming an attachment with? Both shows are will kill them off in a way that will break your heart. Thankfully, they sometimes bring them back in dreams and flashbacks to reward loyal viewers. Set in a fictional hospital, the characters here become like family as they work alongside each other, and get involved romantically, but the drama is a blend of complex interpersonal dynamics and life-or-death medical cases.

"Grey's wants to offer something for everyone, it seems, and does an admirable job not only of mixing drama, comedy and romance, but also of mixing in issues of today's complicated world of science." — Chuck Ulie, Chicago Sun Times


screen-shot-2022-05-17-at-2-10-32-pm.png

'Parenthood'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Parenthood

Metascore: 64
Best for: Anyone who likes a cathartic ugly cry
Where to watch: 

Google PlayiTunes
Seasons: 6

Much like the Pearsons, the Braverman family in Parenthood has no shortage of loving, heartfelt moments and lots of family drama. The series centers on Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille Braverman (Bonnie Bedelia), their four adult children, and their grandchildren. Like This Is Us, Parenthood deals with once-considered taboo subject matter, including substance abuse and adoption. While This Is Us has helped shine a light on what it's like to raise a visually impaired child, Parenthood gives a voice to parents and children navigating an Asperger's diagnosis. Both shows are strongly grounded in exploring the dynamics of large families and all the love (and frustration) that comes with the territory.

"Parenthood shows a funny, affecting, distinctive voice that you'll want to keep listening to." — James Poniewozik, Time


love-life.jpg

William Jackson Harper and Anna Kendrick in 'Love Life'

Courtesy of HBO Max

Love Life

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of modern-day love stories that have a few bumps along the way
Where to watch: 


Seasons:

While the love story of Jack and Rebecca Pearson is relatively smooth on This Is Us, their kids — specifically Kate and Kevin — have rockier moments in their quest to find "the one." Love Life follows that rougher road, first with Darby (Anna Kendrick) in Season 1 and later Marcus (William Jackson Harper) in Season 2. Those protagonists jump between the present, the past, and into the future as they form various meaningful relationships with lovers, friends and family, become parents themselves, and also work on their careers.

"It's a smart showcase for a talented actor who seizes it with both hands, giving the rom-com genre a jolt as welcome as it is overdue." — Caroline Framke, Variety


a-million-little-pieces.jpg

'A Million Little Pieces'

Courtesy of Apple TV

A Million Little Things

Metascore: 51
Best for: Fans of family and friendship dramas, as well as fans of cathartic crying (and a few laughs) in front of the TV
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, , iTunes,
Seasons: 4 (so far)

Much like how This Is Us largely centers on the mystery of Jack's death and later the fallout from his passing, so too does A Million Little Things feature a tragedy. The series opens with a group of longtime friends coming together following the shocking suicide another friend, which leads to several revelations among the group. Affairs, depression, and life-threatening illnesses make up much of the show's first season of the ensemble series that includes David Giuntoli, Romany Malco, Grace Park, Allison Miller, and James Roday

"And it's a story well-acted and well-told, its cast folding together like fingers in a glove." — Glenn Garvin, Reason


brothers-and-sisters.jpg

'Brothers & Sisters'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Brothers & Sisters

Metascore: 51
Best for: A-list ensemble casts
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes,
Seasons: 5

In keeping with This Is Us' theme of the end as the beginning, Brothers & Sisters also opens with a major character's death. In the case of this ensemble series, audiences are introduced to the Walker family following the death of patriarch William Walker (Tom Skerritt) and the revelation that William had a mistress and a secret daughter. (This Is Us also loves long-lost family members.) Those left to pick up the pieces include William's widow Nora (Sally Field, who won a SAG and an Emmy for the performance) and their five children, most of whom help to run the company business (thinkSuccession, but everyone is much nicer). The drama focuses on the usual familial topics but differentiates itself from the pack thanks to standout performances from its impressive cast.

"TV desperately needs a straightforward drama that explores family dynamics without some imposed gimmick, and Brothers & Sisters could just be the show to fill that bill." — Robert Bianco, USA Today