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You might still be saying that there isn’t a better show than Breaking Bad, and honestly, I can’t even blame you. There’s only a handful of series that seem to have had the same impact on television; but if you’re even going to get close, these shows like Breaking Bad would have to be it.
Here’s the catch: You have to be willing to take the deep dive. Those of us who got sucked into Walter White’s wild story—from cooking meth in a trailer, to cartel dealings and nursing home explosions (if you know, you know)—only got to that point after giving the curmudgeonly high school teacher a chance. When it comes to these shows that feature their own fair share of antiheroes, just know that their own redemptive qualities are about as difficult to parse as Walter White’s. But at the end of the day, it makes for some damn good drama.
From crime classics and more smuggling of all sorts, here are five shows like Breaking Bad available to watch on streaming services now.
The Wire (5 Seasons)
For all the drugs and darkness that Breaking Bad has to offer, The Wire puts it all into sprawling perspective from the streets of Baltimore. This real-world HBO crime drama follows the city’s narcotics scene from all angles of law enforcement, dealers, and users—and everyone caught in between. The result is a series often heralded as one of the best sociocultural snapshots on television.
Boardwalk Empire (5 Seasons)
During the Prohibition era, smuggling alcohol was about as dangerous as Walter White’s meth trade. It’s crazy to believe that now that the substance has been legalized, but Boardwalk Empire paints a gripping picture of what it was really like—and with an outstanding 57 Primetime Emmy nominations, it’s certainly worth stopping to see why.
Fargo (3 Seasons)
If you loved the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of the same name, you’re already going to be a fan of this one. And even if the original didn’t tickle your fancy, this newly imagined version just might. Fargo’s anthology setup focuses on a different crime story each season, but you can’t go wrong after seeing Chris Rock in Season 4 as Loy Cannon, a Black mob boss who makes the ultimate sacrifice to reach a truce with the head of the Italian mafia. Just as Walter White comes to realize in Breaking Bad, these families learn that peace doesn’t come without its serious costs.
Better Call Saul (5 Seasons)
An obvious choice, but it’s surprising how many of us still haven’t given Better Call Saul a good go. For Breaking Bad fans who didn’t think much of sly guy Saul Goodman, a.k.a. Walter’s lawyer, it might have been a difficult sell to get into this spinoff. But if Better Call Saul has proved anything over its five seasons, it’s that it’s surely worth it.
Ozark (3 Seasons)
Ozark might as well be the closest thing we’ll get to in television that ticks all of the same boxes as Breaking Bad. Antihero protagonist? Check. A cunning wife? Check. Drugs—lots of drugs—and crazy cartel bosses? Check and check. Wrap that all up with Jason Bateman’s superb acting (and directing!) in this series, and you’ve got a surefire binge inspired by everything that made Breaking Bad a forever-favorite.
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