Looking for 13 reasons to watch these shows? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shows to Watch if You Like 13 Reasons Why.
For this list, we’re looking at TV shows that either tackle similar themes or strike comparable tones to “13 Reasons Why.”
#10: “Please Like Me” (2013-16)
It is generally said that any topic can be turned into a comedy, and "Please Like Me" seems to exist to test that concept. Starring and written by Josh Thomas, this Australian series launches with a character's attempted suicide and – throughout four fantastic seasons – closely examines the everyday lives of its often-directionless main cast, particularly the two roommates Josh and Tom. While a joke is never too far away and there is a general pleasantness to most of the episodes, "Please Like Me" earnestly examines chronic depression, mental illness, and the powerlessness someone might feel in these situations.
#9: “Sweet/Vicious” (2016-17)
Lasting for only a painfully short ten episodes, "Sweet/Vicious" still manages to accomplish quite a lot in its one season. Like all of the best odd-couples, personality-wise, Jules and Ophelia have very little in common besides a mutual desire to deliver justice to victims of assault on their campus. "Sweet/Vicious" is a pseudo-superhero series with a generally light-hearted tone, but MTV's show takes a cold look at college campus crime and the way authority figures tend to focus more on protecting the school's image than the victims. Despite the occasional silliness, "Sweet/Vicious" feels all too real.
#8: “How to Get Away with Murder” (2014-)
"13 Reasons Why" is a crime drama centering around a season-long mystery that focuses just as much on why something happened as the who. Structurally, "How to Get Away with Murder" is comparable, particularly to "13 Reasons Why's" second and third seasons, with the principal difference being that the main characters are not generally presented as good people. Annalise is a criminal defense attorney and law professor who gets entangled in multiple murder cases involving her students. For those looking for engrossing mysteries, brilliant acting, and moral ambiguity, "How to Get Away with Murder" should be the perfect fit.
#7: “My Mad Fat Diary” (2013-15)
While the title may scream sitcom, "My Mad Fat Diary" contains far more depth than may seem apparent. A British comedy-drama with a biting sense of humor and a protagonist dealing with mental health and self-esteem issues, "My Mad Fat Diary" starts with the teenager Rae Earl returning to everyday life after a four-month stint in a psychiatric institute. Largely focusing on Rae's often strained relationships with her friends and family, many of which are dealing with their own insecurities, "My Mad Fat Diary" explores bullying, self-harm, and depression through witty banter, character growth, and a dedication to realism.
#6: “Gossip Girl” (2007-12)
Few shows were as inescapable as "Gossip Girl," especially during its first season. Set in the Upper East Side and featuring wealthy teenagers who are anything but young and innocent, "Gossip Girl" toes the line between scandalous soap opera and engrossing character drama about deeply flawed but fascinating people who will burn anyone not part of their inner circle. While "13 Reasons Why's" is all about holding people accountable for their actions, "Gossip Girl" is more interested in getting to the next big moment than penalizing Blair, Serena, or anyone else for their questionable behavior. Either way, it makes for gripping television.
#5: “Degrassi” franchise (1979-2017)
Although the "Degrassi" franchise dates back to 1979, 2001's "The Next Generation" and 2016's "Next Class" are the most relevant. Both incarnations focus on an ever-evolving cast of teenagers attending high school, delving into all sorts of complex topics, including abortion, alcoholism, peer pressure, and gender identity. Even though "Degrassi" can be pretty corny at times and has its share of "very special" episodes that superficially tackle timely topics, the expansive series does a fantastic job of creating likable characters with relatable issues. While the episodes are more stand-alone than "13 Reasons Why," "Degrassi" is still a must-watch teen drama.
#4: “Skins” (2007-13)
There was a timewhen teen dramas mostly presented a romanticized version of adolescence, were authenticity was not given any significant importance. "Skins" changed the landscape, presenting a story where teenagers are depicted naturally rather than through an adult filter. Split into three generations, "Skins" is raunchy, purposefully messy, and unabashedly unapologetic. Episodes typically center around a single character, many of which utilize Bristol's party culture as a way to cope – or escape – from overwhelming personal problems. The characters are not conventionally agreeable, but that is one element that helped make "Skins" so refreshing.
#3: “My So-Called Life” (1994-95)
Nowadays, it is common for programs to prioritizing exploring societal issues, but such themes were generally limited to one-off episodes in the '80s and '90s. In many ways, "My So-Called Life" is a precursor to shows like "13 Reasons Why," where uncomfortable topics are organically implemented as an inescapable part of everyday life. An average sophomore student with a still-developing sense of self, Angela can be sweet, self-centered, sometimes surprisingly naive, love-struck, self-conscious, and strong. The same can be said about the rest of "My So-Called Life's" cast – both the teenagers and adults – who all exhibit traits that are flawed and by extension, real.
#2: “Elite” (2018-)
A thrilling murder mystery, rich students using wealth to mask their self-doubts, tons of raunchy but meaningful scenes, and expertly crafted melodrama; "Elite" is a mishmash of familiar tropes executed satisfyingly. The first season is particularly fantastic, dealing with three students from blue-collar families who are transferred to an elite school in Spain. Isolation and bullying are par for the course, but "Elite" knows better than to depict its characters as caricatures. The present-day character study is accompanied by a flash-forward revealing a murder of one of the students, creating a drama that is impossible to put down.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“The Fosters” (2013-18)
“Veronica Mars” (2004-)
#1: “Euphoria” (2019-)
"13 Reasons Why" isn’t exactly the most sugarcoated show on the market, but it may as well be "Full House" next to "Euphoria." While many shows have depicted the ugly side of adolescence, HBO's series is almost solely concerned with the darkest of timelines, often framing harrowing situations in stylized imagery that somehow only enhances the bleakness. Coming off an ultimately unsuccessful stint in rehab, the 17-year-old Rue acts as the central heart that connects multiple characters and subplots, most of which cover pressing themes such as fear of alienation, mental illness, abuse of power, and the broader broken system that facilitates such situations.