10 Shows Like 'Virgin River' to Watch Next

If you've finished the fourth season of 'Virgin River' already and are looking for more relationship drama, discover these 10 shows.
by Taylor Freitas — 

Martin Henderson and Alexandra Breckenridge in 'Virgin River'


Netflix just released the fourth season of Virgin River, its romantic drama set in a fictional town in Northern California. Created by Sue Tenney, the popular show first premiered in 2019 and is based on Robyn Carr's 22-novel series (also titled Virgin River).

The show stars Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda "Mel" Monroe, a Los Angeles-based nurse practitioner grieving the death of her husband, Mark (Daniel Gillies). Ready for a change of pace, she accepts a job offer to work as a midwife in the small town of Virgin River, Calif. 

As she's settling into her new life, she meets Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson), a former Marine who owns the local bar and, like Mel, has a traumatic past. There's an instant spark between the two, but each of them has unsettled personal business that makes it difficult to commit.

If you've already watched the latest season of Virgin River and aren't ready to give up bingeing relationship dramas quite yet, we've found 10 shows that are similar to Virgin River to keep you entertained (and probably emotional).

Most of the titles on our list are television shows that have been adapted from a book or book series. Some picks share Virgin River's medical theme, while others share its small-town theme. Every title on the list fits within the drama genre, with a good mix of romantic dramas, historical dramas, and dramedies. 

Here, Metacritic highlights 10 shows like Virgin River to watch next, ranked by Metascore.


Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in 'Normal People'


Normal People

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of coming-of-age love stories
Where to watch:

Seasons: 1

Based on Sally Rooney's novel of the same title, Normal People is an Irish limited series that follows a pair of young lovers with very different backgrounds. Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) comes from a life of wealth and privilege, while Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal) lives with his single mother, who works as a cleaner for the Sheridans. Despite their differences, Marianne and Connell can't help but fall for one another — even though their love comes with many complexities. Following its 2020 release, Normal People was nominated for several major awards, including two Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmys.

"There's an earnestness to it that you won't find in other TV shows aimed at young adults." — Ellen Johnson, Paste Magazine


Reese Witherspoon in 'Big Little Lies'


Big Little Lies

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of mystery-centric dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , ,
Seasons: 2

Season 1 of Big Little Lies is HBO's adaption of Liane Moriarty's novel and revolves around several women who become involved in a murder investigation in cushy Monterey, Calif. The show's main players include Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), mothers whose children attend the same school. Both women are dealing with secret struggles in their private lives when they meet Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), a single mom who's new in town. As Madeline, Celeste, and Jane grow closer, they discover the ugly truths about each other's lives in a way that forever changes all three women. Then, in Season 2, the story moves beyond the book pages to follow new complications in the women's lives as guilt and yet another new face in town (played by Meryl Streep) come into play.

"It doesn't need dragons or mobsters or robots to stand as HBO's best drama in years." — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly


Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore in 'This Is Us'


This Is Us 

Metascore: 76
Best for: Fans of heartfelt family dramas
Where to watch:

, , , , , ,
Seasons: 6

While she was starring in Virgin River, Breckenridge also played Sophie on all six seasons of This Is Us, a drama series that premiered on NBC in 2016. The show chronicles the lives of the Pearson family through multiple decades. Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) are a married couple and parents of triplets Randall, Kate, and Kevin (played in adulthood by Sterling K. BrownChrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley, respectively. Over the years, the characters have to tackle complex issues including abusive relationships, addiction, grief, and racial identity, but the show also focuses on the love and warmth of a solid family. This Is Us won a number of awards over its run, including four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

"The performances are nicely detailed and fully credible, contributing to the level of credibility necessary to keep the conceit of the show from seeming gimmicky." — David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle


Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in 'Outlander'



Metascore: 76
Best for: Fans of historical dramas
Where to watch:

, , , Netflix, ,
Seasons: 6 (so far)

Although the settings and time periods are very different, Outlander — like Virgin River started as a novel series that was then adapted for television. Adapted from Diana Gabaldon's books, Outlander tells the story of World War II nurse Claire Randall (Caitríona Balfe), who travels to Scotland after the war ends in 1945. While there, she's pulled back in time to the 1700s, where she falls in love with a Scottish Highlander named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). As seasons go on, they come up against many poignant moments in history that challenge their relationship, as well as Claire's modern ways. Outlander, a Critics' Choice Award winner and Emmy nominee, currently has both a seventh season and prequel series in the works.

"Some episodes chug along faster than others, but the stellar production values render even the slower-paced installments worthwhile viewing." — Lori Rackl, Chicago Sun-Times


Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page in 'Bridgerton'



Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of period romance stories
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 2 (so far)

Produced by Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes' production company, Bridgerton is an incredibly popular novel-series-turned-Netflix-show (just like Virgin River). Julia Quinn penned the books that inspired this series, which follows eight siblings from the powerful Bridgerton family in 1800s England. Bridgerton's focus in the first season is on oldest daughter Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), who is well-regarded in the London social scene, and her relationship with Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), the Duke of Hastings. Season 2 then pivots to Daphne's brother Anthony's (Jonathan Bailey) time to settle down. All the while, there are glamorous parties and a mysterious Lady Whistledown reporting gossip on all the high-society individuals and budding relationships. Since debuting at the end of 2020, Bridgerton has broken several Netflix records and doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon. (The forthcoming third season will focus on Penelope, played by Nicola Coughlan, and Colin's, played by Luke Newton, courtship.)

"Bridgerton is a satisfying inversion of tropes, a bonfire of our period-drama vanities." — Sonia Saraiya, Vanity Fair


Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer in 'Looking for Alaska'


Looking for Alaska 

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of romantic teen dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , ,
Seasons: 1

Released in 2019, Looking for Alaska is a Hulu miniseries based on John Green's 2005 novel of the same name. It tags along with Miles Halter (Charlie Plummer) as the teen transfers to an Alabama boarding school and meets a new group of friends — including his eventual romantic interest, Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth). Looking for Alaska follows the kids as they get into typical high-school high jinks, but also shows them exploring deeper topics, including death and intimacy. It was adapted for TV by Josh Schwartz, who's best known for his work on other teen-centric shows like The O.C.andGossip Girl.

"It's a solid adaptation of a much-loved book, even if its successful adapting can't always fix its problems." — Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter


'Grey's Anatomy'


Grey's Anatomy

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of medical dramas
Where to watch:

, , , , , Netflix,
Seasons: 18 (so far)

Grey's Anatomy depicts the personal and professional lives of the medical professionals who work at the fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Surgeon Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is at the heart of it all, balancing her demanding job with her romantic life, including her tricky relationship with fellow doctor Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Virgin River and Grey's Anatomy have several things in common, including a medical theme and a love triangle storyline. Virgin River's Henderson also appears in three seasons of Grey's Anatomy, playing Nathan Riggs, one of Meredith's romantic interests.

"Some good dialogue, but it also suffers from a mild case of predictability." — Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Gregory Smith in 'Everwood'

Warner Bros. TV


Metascore: 62 
Best for: Fans of syrupy family dramas
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Seasons: 4

Virgin River and Everwood share a similar theme: a medical professional moves from the big city to a smaller town, thus kicking off a simpler life. In the case of Everwood, that professional is Andy Brown (Treat Williams), a New York doctor and widower who relocates to rural Everwood, Colo. with his two children, Ephram (Gregory Smith) and Delia (Vivien Cardone). The show follows the Browns as they adjust to life in Colorado, coming to terms with the death of their matriarch and forming friendships in their new locale.

"The plot twists fit together too conveniently, but all the actors do well despite the sticky situations." — Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel


Andie MacDowell in 'Cedar Cove'

Hallmark Channel

Cedar Cove

Metascore: 62 
Best for: Fans of the Hallmark Channel
Where to watch:

, , ,
Seasons: 3

Inspired by Debbie Macomber's book series, this romantic drama from the Hallmark Channelintroduces audiences to Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell), a municipal court judge living in the idyllic Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove. After building a successful career for herself, Olivia is offered a job as a federal judge in Seattle, forcing her to make the difficult decision between her hometown and the big city. To make things more complicated, the news of her appointment is discovered by the local newspaper editor, Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal), who also happens to be a romantic interest of Olivia's.

"It's comfortable, uncomplicated, unchallenging entertainment, which makes it ideal for Hallmark's brand." — Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke in 'Firefly Lane'


Firefly Lane 

Metascore: 57
Best for: Fans of feel-good friendship stories
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 1 (so far)

Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke co-star in Firefly Lane, a Netflix original series that premiered in 2021. In it, they play Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey (respectively), two women who have been best friends since their teenage years. Now in adulthood, Tully and Kate are faced with break-ups, career problems, family issues, and more — all of which they navigate together, just like they've done since they were kids. Firefly Lane, which is based on the book by Kristin Hannah,debuted on Netflix in 2021 and has a sophomore season due out soon.

"Considering the ideas it's exploring are relatively unique in the TV landscape, it's at least a mom show with merit." — Caroline Siede, AV Club