24 Shows Like "Gilmore Girls" For When You're Craving a Comfort Watch — or a Bit of Drama
To the devoted "Gilmore Girls" fan, an episode of Amy Sherman-Palladino's sweet and savvy series is like a warm blanket or cup of cocoa on a cold night, and for many, it's hard to imagine life before Kirk's hilarious mishaps or Emily Gilmore's telling glances. Fans were blessed enough to get a sweet but much-too-brief reboot a couple years back, but like Lorelai with coffee, many have still found themselves craving more in the time since then.
Similar to many shows from the aughts (we're looking at you, "Friends"), "Gilmore Girls" is frequently looked back at through nostalgic rose-colored lenses. It's hard to deny the show's lasting impact — the fandom continues to loudly love the series. And for a good reason; Sherman-Palladino has blessed us with complex women characters, snappy dialogue, and insatiable family drama, among so much else. But like any show from the aughts, its legacy has been put under a microscope, too. It isn't necessarily a deeply problematic fave, but in retrospect, it's hard to deny the show's neat glaze over matters of race and class, as well as some manipulative behavior from its beloved characters. Still, Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham will always have a special place in many a heart thanks to their years as Rory and Lorelai.
While this is by no means meant to discourage you from a cozy rewatch of "Gilmore Girls," if you're craving more strong friendships and small-town drama but need a break from Lorelai and Rory's shenanigans, there are plenty of similar shows to enjoy. If you've been longing for a new version of the nostalgia and familiarity of Stars Hollow, read on to see our favorite shows like "Gilmore Girls" that'll warm up even the curmudgeonly Luke Danes.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Virgin River"
While romance is a little bit more central to "Virgin River" than "Gilmore Girls," this show takes place in a town even smaller than Stars Hollow — though with just as many quirky and lovable characters. "Virgin River" follows a nurse practitioner named Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) who leaves behind a tragedy in her old life to start over in a small town by a gorgeous river in Northern California. Once there, she quickly meets a cranky doctor (Tim Matheson) and a mysterious former Marine named Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson), and winds up developing deep bonds with both of them. If you're looking for a comfort show to replace "Gilmore Girls," look no further.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Dead to Me"
The subject matter of "Dead to Me" might be a little more intense than in "Gilmore Girls," but the female friendship at the core of the show definitely resembles some of the best relationships in Stars Hollow. Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) meet in a grief support group and develop a close bond, only to discover that what they're grieving over is a lot more connected than either of them realize. Still, their friendship grows and deepens over the show's three seasons to become something truly memorable, and Jen's no-nonsense, fast-talking approach to parenting can't help but evoke Lorelai's on occasion.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Never Have I Ever"
"Never Have I Ever" is all about Devi Vishwakumar's trials and tribulations as an overachieving teenager. While sweet and funny, the show is also bound to make you cry, just like "Gilmore Girls." Like Lorelai, Devi's mom, Nalini, is a working single mom who's trying her best to keep her family together while navigating what it means to raise an adolescent daughter by herself. If we're making comparisons, Devi herself is only Rory-like in that she's a great student — her personality's closer to that of Paris Geller. But like Rory, Devi also finds herself in a love triangle with Paxton Hall-Yoshida and Ben Gross vying for her affection.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Ted Lasso"
For an unfailingly kind show, you can't go wrong with "Ted Lasso," which stars creator Jason Sudeikis as the titular lead character. Ted seems like he came straight from Stars Hollow itself with his folksy and cheerful demeanor. The show's premise is that he's a small-time American football coach who's recruited to coach an English Premier League soccer team. Though he doesn't know much about the culture or the sport, he unexpectedly changes the lives of every player he meets. While team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) initially brings him on to sink the team and get back at her ex-husband, she eventually gives in to his effortless charms.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "The Fosters"
If you're looking for good old family drama, you'll find a dose of it in "The Fosters," the Freeform series about an interracial lesbian couple — Steph Foster (Teri Polo) and Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) — and their one biological child and four adopted children. "The Fosters" is sweet and sentimental like "Gilmore Girls," but it also tackles issues of race, sexuality, and mental health with greater depth. The series ran for five seasons, so if you're a fan of a long-winding drama with many turns, you'll get a kick out of it. Its spinoff, "Good Trouble," follows the lives of adoptive sisters Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) as they settle down in Los Angeles.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "New Girl"
If Rory ever went down the teaching route and had a bigger friend group, we'd imagine her to be a little like "New Girl"'s Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel) — smart, sweet, and lovably flawed. The show's premise is that Jess moves into an LA apartment with three single guys following a rough breakup. While the bubbly Fox sitcom doesn't have an awful lot of family drama, it'll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside as Jess navigates adulthood with her sometimes silly and always supportive friends. At half an hour each, the episodes also make the show a breeze to marathon through.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Jane the Virgin"
This quirky series, inspired by the telenovela genre, shares with "Gilmore Girls" a plot that builds upon an unexpected pregnancy. 23-year-old Jane Villanueva, the daughter of a teen mother, decides to save her virginity for marriage to avoid her mother's fate. She's got all of her ducks in a row and is studying to become a teacher. But after a mix-up at a clinic, Jane accidentally ends up pregnant . . . all while being engaged to another person. Beyond its wonderfully soapy story, "Jane the Virgin" takes on the mysteries of family and love and is anchored by the wonderful Gina Rodriguez's beloved performance.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Hart of Dixie"
After stealing our hearts as Summer Roberts on "The O.C.," Rachel Bilson plays the "Hart of Dixie"'s heroine, a doctor who decides to practice medicine in a charming small town. The dramedy has a feel-good quality and a witty female protagonist that'll give you vintage "Gilmore Girls" vibes. Not to mention there are plenty of similarities between this small town and the beloved Stars Hollow. Rory and Lorelei might be definitive locals, but Zoe Hart will have some major work to do to win over the people in her new town. And you can expect quite a few laughs as she settles in.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life"
The "Gilmore Girls" reboot belongs here because, duh! Although the revamp is only four episodes (one for each season of the year), each installation is like a mini-movie that bathes us in Stars Hollow nostalgia. But don't think for a minute that the coziness and fan service don't come with juicy drama. We see how our intrepid heroine Rory copes with being an adult and how Lorelai and Emily find themselves hanging on after Richard's death. And we've got Jess, Dean, and Logan returning into Rory's life, for better or for worse. There's no sign of a second season of the reboot, so interpret the ending as you'd wish.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "The Carrie Diaries"
Rory's thing is that she wants to be a writer. A prequel to "Sex and the City," "The Carrie Diaries" follows a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) who also aspires to write for a living, as she juggles life as a young woman living in suburban Connecticut. While the original HBO series is more adult, there's a guilelessness in the short-lived prequel show since it's all about Carrie as a teenage writer and student. Carrie will remind you of Rory in her high school and college years — though, admittedly, Carrie's literary adventures do have more gloss and shine than Rory's dive into dusty vintage books at Yale.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Friends"
As a sitcom, "Friends" might not follow "Gilmore Girls"' serial drama format, but both iconic shows share the goofy, wholesome humor of the early aughts that'll leave you feeling nostalgic. Given its mass appeal, you probably already know the premise of "Friends": It follows a tight-knit group of 20-something friends juggling their messy love lives and careers as they try to make ends meet in New York City. We can imagine Rory binge-watching it while figuring out her life in season six. She's definitely a Monica who became a Rachel after life hit her with all of those unexpected twists and turns!
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Switched at Birth"
"Switched at Birth" taps into the same teary, sentimental vein as "Gilmore Girls," featuring a drama-laced story about two girls who, as its title suggests, accidentally went home to the wrong families when they were born. The discovery of the mix-up brings the two girls and their families closer together, despite some initial tensions. The story hones into class matters — one family is wealthy while the other is more working class. "Gilmore Girls" might not have a birth mix-up storyline, but you can always rely on it for a good helping of family drama; you might even still get chills thinking about those Friday night dinners between the Gilmores.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Parenthood"
We always welcome more Lorelai content — well, at least Lauren Graham content! In "Parenthood," Graham portrays Sarah Braverman, another quirky single mother. Instead of bringing up a bibliophile like Rory, her character, an artist, raises two rebellious, often difficult teenagers, Amber (Mae Whitman) and Drew (Miles Heizer). Unlike Lorelai, Sarah ends up moving back into her parents' house when her finances toughen up. Despite her aspirations to work in design, she takes on various gigs to support her kids but eventually finds more creative opportunities opening up for her as the series progresses. Her relationship with her ex Seth (John Corbett) isn't as amicable as Lorelai's is with Chris, though, which makes the series all the more dramatic.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Gossip Girl"
"Gossip Girl" might be a bit darker than "Gilmore Girls," but you have to admit that they share striking similarities. Rory herself is an ambitious East Coast private school kid who comes from a partially posh family background. (Though, instead of a Serena van der Woodsen or Blair Waldorf, she's really more of a Dan Humphrey with her love for all things literary.) Plus, both shows as products of the early aughts, pack a punch of boy and family drama. Obviously, we're talking about the original CW show here, but you may also want to check out HBO's updated version of the iconic series for a modern touch.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Grey's Anatomy"
What does a steamy medical drama have in common with "Gilmore Girls"? Like Amy Sherman-Palladino, Shonda Rhimes has created a world filled with complicated women including Meredith Grey, Miranda Bailey, and Cristina Yang. While the medical drama creates a level of devastation and sadness that's not often at the forefront of "Gilmore Girls," "Grey's Anatomy" also embraces familiar themes of love and friendship. If you're looking for more heartbreak than Emily Gilmore passive-aggressively turning her back on Lorelai, you will definitely get more drama with the deaths and disasters on "Grey's." And if you've ever wished "Gilmore Girls" was twice as long, you'll have many, many episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" to binge.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"
In "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," the titular character discovers an ability to see people express their deepest feelings through musical performances. While "Gilmore Girls" isn't a musical show, it shares a commitment to developing relationships and friendships with "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist." Much of the series takes place at Zoey's workplace, but much of it is also about her family, especially her relationship with her mother (Mary Steenburgen) and her ailing father (Peter Gallagher). And Zoey's also in a bit of a love triangle with her colleagues Max and Simon, although the drama is friendly and tame compared with Rory's tumultuous situation with Jess and Dean.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "This Is Us"
With its warm cinematography, heartfelt moments, excellent music, and family drama, NBC's "This Is Us" will definitely give you that cozy "Gilmore Girls" feeling. Progressing with a nonlinear narrative, the wholesome show focuses on multiple timelines involving a trio of siblings (or "The Big Three") from the Pearson family: Kate, Randall, and Kevin. Over the years, we learn about family secrets, breakups, and relationships, and more. While each episode skips back and forth over multiple timelines, they're united by common themes, so we clearly see how traumas and behaviors cycle through different generations. Just be warned: Tissues are highly recommended when watching "This Is Us."
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Schitt's Creek"
Imagine if the Gilmores suddenly lost all of their wealth, and you might have something like "Schitt's Creek." The iconic Canadian series follows the Rose family as they lose their money and end up at a motel in a small town called Schitt's Creek (which is like a rougher Stars Hollow). Moira's love for the finer things in life definitely gives us Emily Gilmore vibes, if Emily was about 100 percent more ridiculous and had an extensive wig collection. Plus, we've got a nice shout-out to the hospitality industry; by the end, the Rosebud Motel is basically on its way to becoming something as fancy as Lorelai's Dragonfly Inn.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Dash & Lily"
"Gilmore Girls" perpetually feels like autumn and winter. If you're looking for a show that hits those cool-weather notes, watch Netflix's "Dash & Lily." Just like Rory, Lily (Midori Francis) is a bit of a bibliophile and a romantic. To find love during Christmas, she leaves a notebook full of dares at The Strand bookstore, where fellow book lover Dash (Austin Abrams) discovers it. He takes on her dares, so they spend the entire show sending each other to their favorite New York City places without meeting for most of the series. There's a sprinkling of drama, but for the most part the show remains quaint and uplifting, just like "Gilmore Girls."
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Maid"
Based on Stephanie Land's memoir of the same name, "Maid" is a tearjerker for sure. Like "Gilmore Girls," it's about a single mother, but it's a much darker story, as the lead character, Alex (Margaret Qualley), is a survivor of domestic abuse. To become independent from her toxic ex and family, Alex signs up for a thankless job as a house cleaner to support her daughter. Despite being full of harrowing scenes, "Maid" doesn't come up short when it comes to humor and heart, which are other aspects it shares with "Gilmore Girls." The talented cast also includes Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Billy Burke, and Andie MacDowell (Qualley's real-life mother).
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Ginny & Georgia"
Netflix's "Ginny & Georgia" has often been referred to as a modern take on "Gilmore Girls," and there's definitely a grain of truth to that. In the dramedy, Georgia (Brianne Howey), a young single mother, takes her kids Ginny (Antonia Gentry) and Austin (Diesel La Torraca) to a quiet New England town for a fresh start. Like Lorelai, Georgia had her daughter Ginny when she herself was a teenager. But where "Ginny & Georgia" differs from "Gilmore Girls" is that it definitely gets much darker, so give it a try if you're in the mood for some piping hot scandal.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Little Fires Everywhere"
Maybe you're someone who's more invested in the drama part of "Gilmore Girls" than the cozy part, and in that case, check out Hulu's take on Celeste Ng's "Little Fires Everywhere," which also has major themes of motherhood. The story starts when mother and daughter Mia (Kerry Washington) and Pearl Warren (Lexi Underwood) arrive in Shaker Heights. Because of their free-spirited and unstructured lifestyle, they're deemed as outcasts by the town's adults, but the affluent Richardson children can't help but feel drawn to these outsiders. However, their mother, Elena (Reese Witherspoon), finds the Warrens suspect and snoops around for information about their past.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "PEN15"
So, what does a show about two women in their 30s (Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine) pretending to be awkward preteens have to do with "Gilmore Girls"? Yes, "PEN15" explores all of the weird parts of middle school, touching on everything from peer pressure to masturbation, but it's also about the rock-solid friendship between Anna and Maya, its two leads. Despite their flaws and various dramas, these two girls love one another. Similarly, when Rory's not focused on untangling her family or romantic dramas, she's focused on being a good friend to Lane and, often unexpectedly, Paris Geller. Her relationships with Dean and Jess might be tumultuous and fleeting, but her friendships only grow with time.
Shows Like "Gilmore Girls": "Ms. Marvel"
Disney+'s "Ms. Marvel" follows Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a teen (and Avengers superfan) who accidentally unlocks her own powers and tries to figure out what being a hero means. Though the series has tons of action and adventure, the heart of the show is Kamala's relationship with her mom and grandmother and her connection to her great-grandmother, making it a thematic sister to "Gilmore Girls." There's also high school hijinks with her friends Bruno (Matt Lintz) and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), and Kamala finds herself in a supersized love triangle with Bruno, Kamran (Rish Shah), and Kareem (Aramis Knight). You'll get sucked into her world during this miniseries.