It’s unlikely that Malcolm in the Middle will be revived, but the show has a long line of spiritual successors and predecessors.
After six years on the air, Malcolm in the Middle came to an end in 2006, but its impact on television culture endures to this day. Many shows that aired concurrently with or after the Fox sitcom had the same vibe and shared many similarities with it. These seven shows, although they don’t appear to be so at first glance, are ideal successors to Malcolm in the Middle.
1. Ed, Edd n Eddy
Ed, Edd n Eddy made its Cartoon Network debut in 1999, a year before Malcolm in the Middle, but the two shows have a lot in common. When it came to the live-action sitcom’s funniest moments it had to do with Reese’s gang running amok without any supervision, it was Reese, Malcolm, and Dewey.
Even though Ed is stupider than Reese and Double D knows more than Malcolm, the series’ preteen misadventures are amplified by Eddy’s constant conniving schemes to obtain jawbreakers. HBO Max has all five seasons of Ed, Edd n Eddy available for streaming.
Even though it’s difficult to see now, Malcolm in the Middle was a ground-breaking show. The show was not afraid to stray from its formula, as evidenced by its frequent breaches of the fourth wall and explorations of alternate realities, but these days, it is Community that reigns supreme in terms of displaying those qualities.
Dan Harmon’s series, which intentionally parodies virtually every sitcom trope in the book, begins with the setup of smooth-talking grifter Jeff Winger attending community college and spirals out of control. Fans of Malcolm X’s more daring episodes will enjoy the same things inCommunity, which you can watch on Amazon Prime and Hulu right now.
Most sitcoms at the time ignored the financial woes that plagued the majority of Americans, but Malcolm in the Middle drew attention to a middle-class family. As a result, Shameless zooms in even further, exploring a lower-class Chicago family’s tumultuous lives on the South Side of the city’s South Side. You’ll even find parallels between Lip and Fiona and Frank, the family patriarch, who is immature and prone to mischief.
While Malcolm has a few irreverent laughs along the way, Shameless takes its characters’ plights far more seriously than any previous sitcom has ever attempted to do. There’s plenty of content to keep viewers interested in the Gallaghers’ lives after they’ve watched all 10 seasons on Netflix.
4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
There have been so many sitcoms produced over the years that the formula has become stale. However, there are some shows that manage to break the monotony by breaking the rules. This trope states that a show’s focus should be on good people, and this is true. Shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Shameless defy that assumption, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia goes even further in defying it..
Always Sunny, which is about a group of Philadelphia bar owners who are smugly proud of their alcoholism, puts its viewers in the shoes of characters they already know are bad. It’s impossible not to fall in love with each member of the gang as the series progresses, despite the fact that they all become more and more despicable as the story goes on. Sunny Weather is Year-Round in Philadelphia has the most seasons (14 total) available to watch on Hulu, making it the most watched show.
WanaVision can be held responsible for the recent resurgence in popularity of sitcoms. There is no escaping the fact that WandaVisionis a love letter to sitcom history buffs everywhere, especially in a show likeMalcolm that uses it as a point of reference and inspiration.
The Disney+ series, which builds on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, places Wanda Maximoff and the android Vision in a suburban setting where magic transforms and remakes their reality into a mashup of classic TV shows like The Wonder Years. As the truth about what’s going on in Westview comes to light, it’s normal for viewers to get antsy for the shows it references.
6. Everybody Hates Chris
Everybody Hates Chris shared enough time with Malcolm in the Middle to pick up the slack left by the Fox show. There are numerous similarities between the shows in terms of structure, setup, and format, but the spirit is what unites them all. It perfectly captures the mentality (and humor) of a disadvantaged adolescent growing up in the world, based on comedian Chris Rock’s own childhood.
After four seasons, Rock decided the show’s timeline had reached the point where he wanted to end it. The seasons have been consistently good, with a well-rounded cast. Everybody Hates Chris on Hulu is about to get an animated reboot, so it’s the perfect time to catch up on the series.
7. King of the Hill
While King of the Hill was still on the air, the entire series of Malcolm aired from 1997 to 2010. A middle-class family’s adventures were captured in the animated Fox series, but with so much room to develop its cast and the small-town world, it came alive like few other sitcoms do.
Even though Hank Hill’s liberal tendencies provide much of the humor, the characters around him—from Peggy’s smug husband to Dale, his conspiracy-theory-loving neighbor—are grounded in enough reality that the best laughs come from identifying with the cartoon characters in their own lives. On Hulu, you can watch King of the Hill right now.