7 Shows Like This Is Us That Aren’t This Is Us That You Should Watch If You Like This Is Us
This Is Us is officially back for Season 5, and while the Dan Fogelman drama didn’t waste any time getting you back in your feelings in the latest season premiere, this is 2020 and is there really such thing as getting too in your feelings? We don’t think so. That’s why TV Guide has compiled a list of shows that can be just as cathartic and emotional as This Is Us, whether you’re also looking to process some grief, relate to complicated family dynamics, or get gut-punched by time tricks you didn’t know were happening.
Some of these choices may be shows that you’ve heard of and we’ll explain why they make a great compliment to This Is Us, but we also hope you discover some new emotional gems that you can fall in love with.
Where to Watch: Hulu
The similarities between This Is Us and ABC’s A Million Little Things are so obvious that James Roday Rodriguez (who stars on the ABC drama) even included a joke about it in Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, but the best jokes are the ones that come from truth. AMLT centers on a group of friends after the leader of their group dies by suicide in the series premiere. It’s about coming together after a tragedy, and as the group recovers from losing the person they believed held them together, their bond only grows deeper. Also like This Is Us, A Million Little Things likes to throw a mystery into the works with creatively cut scenes that leave out important info, but both shows are at their best when they focus on the relationships between the relatable and beloved characters. You’ll definitely need tissues while watching this one as well.
Many of the hardcore This Is Us fans love the show because of how it deals with the Pearsons’ grief over the loss of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), whose death in the mid-’90s still shadows the family in their current lives. For those looking for other shows that provide cathartic release over the loss of a parent, we recommend Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Austin Winsberg‘s truly magical, musical series stars Jane Levy as Zoey, a young woman who gains the power to hear people’s “heart song” as she struggles to cope with her father’s (Peter Gallagher) terminal diagnosis. While the musical sequences are spectacular, Zoey’s sings because of the grounded emotional turmoil within the show. Zoey gains this mystical power at a time when she crucially needs to figure out how to connect to other people, and her journey to becoming a more open and understanding person is a beautiful one to watch. More specifically, how her gift allows her to connect with her father on a deeper level during his final days is simultaneously heartbreaking and endearing in a way that This Is Us fans will truly appreciate. For bonus points, Zoey’s Emmy-winning choreographer is also named Mandy Moore, so the similarities keep growing.
Watch it on: Starz
Following on that note, there is Starz’ Vida. Created by Tanya Saracho, Vida sees two estranged sisters forced to come together after the death of their mother. Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) are haunted by the memory of their matriarch in different ways as they team up to reinvigorate the struggling bar she left behind, and the questions of identity and how our parents shape who we grow up to be feel reminiscent of the struggles the Pearson Big Three face on This Is Us. Heads up, though: Vida is on premium cable for a reason and the sisters process their grief and emotions in a much more sexually explicit fashion than the Pearsons. If you’re watching with the family, wait for the little ones to go to bed.
Before This Is Us premiered, the Bravermans walked so the Pearsons could run. Parenthood has all of the This Is Us staples: It’s a multi-generational complicated family drama that will make you cry at the drop of a hat. Parenthood just doesn’t mess with the jumping around in time and throws the emotional curveballs at you straight up. Also, have you taken a look at this cast? Lauren Graham, Dax Shephard, Peter Krause, Erika Christensen, Mae Whitman, Craig T. Nelson… it’s an all-star lineup delivering Emmy-worthy speeches from Jason Katims (who also wrote Friday Night Lights). What are you waiting for?
Where to Watch: Hulu
Paging all Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) fans for this one. Kate’s struggle with obesity and body image issues is one of the most intensely relatable storylines on This Is Us. Let us introduce you to the British dramedy My Mad Fat Diary, which tackles those same topics better than anyone has ever done it. The series is based on Rae Earl’s memoir and stars Sharon Rooney in the role of a young woman fresh out of the psychiatric hospital after a dangerous period of self harm who must acclimate back to the real world. She gets some help from her BFF Chloe (a still stunning pre-Killing Eve Jodie Comer), but fit boys and the pressure to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life push Rae back and forth from the brink as she has to learn to love herself to truly move forward. It’s funny, heart-wrenching, and comes with a killer soundtrack as Rae makes new friends, and those friends become family, to the backdrop of Oasis and iconic ’90s rock.
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
Adoption and chosen family are two other themes that have drawn a lot of fans to This Is Us. For those that find themselves identifying with Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) through their struggles to adopt a third child, we offer Apple TV+’s Trying. The streaming series focuses on a modern-day British/Irish couple who decide to try and adopt a baby after the National Health Service stops covering their fertility treatments. While Trying is mostly a comedy, the trials and tribulations that the energetic but anxious Nikki (Esther Smith) and the pragmatic Jason (Rafe Spall) have to go through — as well as the friends and family they rely on as a support system — on their way to becoming parents will tug at any This Is Us‘ fans heartstrings and you end up rooting so hard for a couple you may not have been sure you even liked in the beginning. Plus, the first season is only eight half-hour episodes, so it is an incredibly easy binge.
Watch it on: Hulu
The fact that Queen Sugar hasn’t been in the Emmys conversation the same way that This Is Us has is honestly a crime. The OWN series from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay is about three siblings, played by Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley, and Dawn-Lyen Gardner, who inherit their father’s 800-acre sugar farm in modern day Louisiana. It touches on the same themes of legacy and nurture vs. nature that This Is Us does, but also delves into issues uniquely facing Black Americans in today’s complicated world. It’s a story about survival as much as it is about reconnecting with family and becoming the best version of yourself. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Queen Sugar won’t return until 2021, so you have plenty of time to catch up before Season 5 premieres next year.