Many complex human themes and societal issues were explored in Mad Men. Do you still require a fix of depth? See if you like these shows and series.
A compelling show on television for seven seasons, Mad Men depicted the world of advertising in the 1960s. The series, set in 1960s New York, focused on the world of Don Draper, a brilliant advertising executive. Period drama that became a huge hit on television because of how interesting, exciting, and thought-provoking it was.
Few shows have been able to fill the void left by Mad Men’s cancellation. While nothing will ever be able to match the magic of that show, there are a few that are sure to please fans. These are some of the shows you should watch if you like Mad Men, from similar period pieces to the complex protagonist to shared themes of inequality.
According to Colin McCormick, who updated this article on March 31st, 2020: Today, everyone wants the latest show to keep them busy, and Mad Men is still one of the most binge-worthy in recent memory. So, if you’ve just finished watching Don Draper and Company relive the 1960s and are looking for something new to watch, we’ve got a few suggestions that might suit your tastes. If you enjoy Mad Men’s flawed protagonists, common themes, and period setting, here are some other shows to check out.
1. Breaking Bad
Shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad have complex protagonists because they are from the modern era of television. Because of our support for Don Draper, we’re thrilled when he achieves his goals. In any case, he consistently demonstrates that he is not a hero worth rooting for.
As in Breaking Bad, Walter White is a sympathetic character who gradually descends into evil as the series progresses. That binge-worthy quality of Breaking Bad keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.
Someone who is so unlikeable in so many ways but is also endlessly intriguing has a certain allure. Don Draper and Dr. Gregory House from the medical drama House both have these characteristics.
House, like Draper, is not particularly outgoing. He’s rude, blunt, and cocky, but he excels at what he does. As an audience member, it’s enlightening to see a character try to balance these opposing aspects of their personality.
3. The Dick Van Dyke Show
Mad Men’s setting in the 1960s allows the show to delve into a wide range of intriguing topics. A look back at a different time, from the dynamics of the time’s families to pop culture touchstones and major events of the day. The Dick Van Dyke Show is an excellent choice for Mad Men fans because of this.
To a degree, the Dick Vann Dyke Show depicts the single-mindedness that character Don Draper exhibits in his portrayal of himself. It’s fascinating to see a show set in the same time period as Mad Men. It’s an intriguing side-by-side comparison.
4. Six Feet Under
Despite being set in the vibrant and exciting world of advertising, Mad Men frequently explores darker themes. The show frequently explores how the characters deal with death as a major theme. The show does a good job with the material, but it’s no Six Feet Under.
There were five seasons of the critically acclaimed show, which followed a family of funeral directors. A compelling series was created by the show’s frankness, honesty, and frequent beauty in dealing with death. It also has a well-deserved reputation for having one of the best endings in movie history.
Don Draper’s addictions and the way they control his life are a major theme in Mad Men. He gets into a lot of trouble because of his drinking, and his womanizer only makes things worse. In the comedy-drama Californication, one of these issues reflects on the main character.
The film stars David Duchovny as a writer who is a recovering alcoholic who spends his time womanizing and fueling his destructive tendencies. The show depicts a seedy life for the main character and doesn’t shy away from depicting addiction in an unflattering light, even if it is lighter than Mad Men.
In Suits, a fast-paced, high-stakes law firm serves as the setting for a legal drama. Mike Ross, an aspiring lawyer who conned his way into a job at the firm, is paired up with Harvey Specter, the firm’s brilliant but careless top lawyer.
In the minds of Harvey and Mike, they could form a character in the mold of Don Draper. Harvey is a cocky, yet successful businessman, while Mike is a mysterious figure. When you throw in the posh world of lawyers, it starts to resemble Mad Men.
7. The Sopranos
New York mobster Tony Soprano is the focus of the groundbreaking television series The Sopranos, which premiered in 1997. It follows Tony’s violent adventures as he juggles the perils of his job with the consequences of his criminal lifestyle on his family. Due to his stress, Tony decides to seek help from a therapist.
Tony Soprano paved the way for characters like Don Draper, who are more nuanced. Don isn’t always an easy hero to root for, but he’s always entertaining to watch. It’s also explored in both shows what it’s like to have a relationship with someone like him.
8. Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad’s spin-off, Better Call Saul, manages to be a brilliant and deserving one that succeeds on its own terms despite its parent series’ immense popularity. The show follows Saul as he transforms from an aspirational personal injury lawyer to a wanted criminal.
Jimmy McGill, a.k.a. Saul Goodman, is like Don Draper in that he is trying to make a name for himself in a competitive professional world while keeping a secret that could endanger his success. It gets more entertaining to learn about these cunning characters as time goes on.
When it aired, the small, little-known drama Rectify received a lot of praise. Southern Gothic follows Daniel Holden, a man freed from prison after being cleared of a murder he committed decades earlier. A great many people still doubt his innocence despite the fact that he is free.
Another show that delves into a character’s troubled mind is the gripping, quiet drama The Quiet, Tense, and Relentless. There is a compelling parallel between Daniel and Don’s struggles, despite their vast differences.
10. The Americans
‘The Americans,’ an award-winning FX drama, was one of the most intense shows on television for a long period of time. Following two Russian spies during the Cold War as they infiltrate the United States and begin a family together.
While husband and wife in this series share a dark secret, it doesn’t make it any easier on them to deal with it. The show’s suspense and intrigue are vastly different from Mad Men’s, but its exploration of relationships and secrets is strikingly similar to that of the latter.
11. Call The Midwife
This BBC production takes place in 1950s London, like most of the others on the schedule. The story revolves around a young midwife who moves to a new city and has to deal with the hazards of her new job, including the threat of death.
The exploration of a woman’s life in the 1960s is one of the show’s most intriguing and well-done aspects. They may be in worlds apart, but even the most talented and accomplished women in this era faced challenges.
12. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
This year marks the start of a third season of the award-winning period comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The story takes place in 1950s New York City and centers on a housewife who wants to be a stand-up comedian.
The setting in New York and the time period lend the show a distinct Mad Men flavor. In addition to that, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does an excellent job of portraying the oppressed lives of housewives and women trying to succeed in a male-dominated career.
13. BoJack Horseman
BoJack Horseman is a groundbreaking work of animated comedy-drama. An anthropomorphic horse who was a washed-up actor in Los Angeles is the subject of a Netflix series. Despite his best efforts to make a comeback, he is still battling personal issues.
Don Draper’s journey can be likened to the journey of a cartoon horse, despite the fact that the two characters are very different. They both have varying degrees of success, but they can’t seem to stop sabotaging their own attempts at improvement. These movies and television shows take harrowing portrayals of people committing suicide.
14. Masters Of Sex
The period drama Masters of Sex is set in the 1950s as well. Using real-life events from the Masters and Johnson human sexuality research as a starting point, this series examines the relationship between the two researchers.
In addition to the time period, Mad Men and Masters of Sex have a lot in common thematically. Both shows devote a significant portion of their time to delving into the complexities of interpersonal relationships. Both films also take a look at the lives of working women in the era.
15. Halt And Catch Fire
It’s a period drama, but it’s quite different from the others we’ve seen so far on this list. Set in the 1980s, this show follows a small group of computer scientists as they work to create a revolutionary new system.
While Halt and Catch Fire takes place in a different era, it explores the professional landscape in a similar way to how well Mad Men does. It follows a group of driven, obsessive professionals as they navigate a complex professional landscape.
A senior writer at Screen Rant, Colin McCormick has been with the company since its inception in 2019. Colin writes news, features, and reviews for Game Rant in addition to his work as Screen Rant. When Colin saw The Lion King for the first time in theaters, he fell in love with movies and hasn’t looked back since. Colin also watches a lot of TV, so he’s always up to date on the best shows on television. While he is always on the lookout for new projects, he has a particular fondness for crime films with a dark sense of humor, a la Elmore Leonard, his favorite author.