Shows Like Fleabag You Definitely Need To See

"Fleabag," Phoebe Waller-Bridge's unflinchingly honest and funny (yet devastating) dramedy made quite a critical splash during its release. Based on a one-woman stage play that originally premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, "Fleabag" is the dry, sharply written story of a woman dealing with grief, sexual desire, and an uncertainty about her place in the world in the aftermath of a terrible loss. She navigates life in London, a dysfunctional family, and a string of doomed love affairs all while casting conspiratorial glances and whispered secrets to the camera, letting the audience feel like an intimate part of the action. Not only are they watching the protagonist's spiral, they become complicit in her failures and a companion for her little victories. 

After the second season ended (and the grip of Hot Priest on our collective hearts with it), audiences were devastated to learn that there would not be a third season. However, the show ended on its own terms, wrapping its story up with a hopeful, bittersweet open-ended finale that lets us imagine what the Fleabag herself might be getting up to in the future as she finally lives a life without an audience. If the "Fleabag"-shaped hole in your heart still hasn't healed, there are plenty of shows out there that try their best to fill it. Here are 15 shows to watch if you miss the in-your-face wit, uncomfortable wisdom, and genuine heartache of "Fleabag." 

High Fidelity

If you're looking for another exploration of love, romance, and trying to get by in an often unsympathetic city, Hulu's adaptation of "High Fidelity" will be music to your ears. Based on the film and novel of the same name, the show stars Zoë Kravitz as Robyn "Rob" Brooks, a record store owner and music super-fan with a string of failed relationships in her wake. Against the backdrop of New York City (specifically Crown Heights, Brooklyn), Rob tries to sort through her baggage and find a way to move on, bringing her friends and her habit of making "top-five" lists with her every step of the way.

Do you miss feeling like a part of the action every time Fleabag would wink to the camera or make an aside? Great news. Rob breaks the fourth wall plenty of times throughout the show's run, providing the viewer with an intimate look into her psyche, her romantic past and present, and the way she conceptualizes the world through music. Sadly, Hulu made the decision to cancel it after only one season, so there's not much of it to marathon. Even so, "High Fidelity" plays a sweet tune worthy of one of its protagonist's own top-five lists. 

Russian Doll

What if "Groundhog Day" was a frank look at addiction, self-destructive coping mechanisms, and inherited trauma? A darkly funny and deeply sad look at the patterns we find ourselves in when we repress our pain, Netflix's "Russian Doll" is a story about breaking cycles — literally and figuratively. Natasha Lyonne plays a game developer named Nadia who finds herself trapped in a loop, living the same night over and over again and always dying before the night can end. Then, it all starts again. Things get even more bizarre when Nadia discovers that she is not going through this surreal hell alone.

The premise of "Russian Doll" is quite different from "Fleabag," but, from self-worth to mental illness, it unpacks many of the same vices and virtues. Netflix has officially confirmed that the show will receive a second season, though no official release date has been announced yet. Natasha Lyonne has promised that the new season will be the "same show, just weirder." I can't wait to watch it again and again and again and again and again. 


One of the things that makes "Fleabag" work so well is its creator and leading lady, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her comedic timing, her expressive face, and her inherent magnetism all combine to make her a joy to watch onscreen. If you've got a hankering for more television featuring that signature toothy grin, then look no further than Channel 4's "Crashing." Waller-Bridge also wrote and created the series before most of us had even heard of "Fleabag." 

"Crashing" is an ensemble dramedy that follows a collection of six 20-somethings that live together as property guardians of an old hospital. As the merry (and not so merry) band of weirdos try their best to coexist, their relationships begin to tangle together and tensions begin to mount. Like many British television shows, "Crashing" is woefully short with only six episodes to its name. However, its vibrant cast of characters, messy (in the best way) drama, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments make it a must-watch for any "Fleabag" fan. 

You're the Worst

Sometimes the most exciting romances to watch are the least advisable ones — the kinds of couples that in real life would make you tear out your hair and yell, "No! Get way from each other!" That's Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) of "You're the Worst," a tale of two magnificent messes who somehow keep coming back to each other and even find ways to make each other better (though usually not on purpose). Gretchen in particular has a lot in common with our beloved "Fleabag." She's prone to snide comments as well as rare moments of aching, disarming honesty that make you want to root for her in spite of her (many) sins.

Unlike the previous shows on this list, "You're the Worst" has five glorious seasons to rip through, each tackling a new chapter in this dysfunctional love story. Amidst the sex, humiliation, and occasional violence (someone gets stabbed in a later season — I won't say who) the show also takes time to explore the process of grieving an abusive parent, combat-induced post-traumatic stress disorder, and one of the most accurate depictions of clinical depression I have ever seen.

I Hate Suzie

"Fleabag" is (among many, many other things) a show about pain. One of the groups most intimately acquainted with pain is former child stars. Billie Piper and British playwright Lucy Prebble teamed up to create "I Hate Suzie," a show about a former teenage pop star and actress turned deeply troubled adult. Billie Piper stars as the titular Suzie who struggles to maintain control of her life and career when her phone is hacked and her private photos are leaked to the public. 

From there, the story unfolds with each episode serving as a take on one of the stages of grief, including denial, bargaining, and finally, acceptance. Like "Fleabag," "I Hate Suzie" is hilarious in one moment and incredibly difficult to watch in the next. And like Suzie herself, the audience has to push through a lot of discomfort to find some kind of peace. Thanks to Prebble's writing and Piper's captivating lead performance, even the bumpiest parts of the ride feel worth it. 


When creative, funny women are given space to shine, incredible television can come out of it. Hulu's "Shrill" stars the luminous Aidy Bryant, who also helped to develop the series, as Annie, a struggling journalist who is desperate to find her voice in a world that often tries to drown it out. "Fleabag" was unafraid to touch subjects that might make people uncomfortable, and "Shrill" tackles plenty of its own. Most notably, the show takes an honest look at what it is like to be fat in a culture that prioritizes thinness.

From cruel comments at work to the reality of medical discrimination, "Shrill" does not shy away from the reality of anti-fat bias. For example, one storyline points out that the morning-after pill is less effective for women over a certain weight. Annie goes on a journey of transformation, examining her work, her sex life, and the way she looks at herself. She fumbles plenty along the way, but she grows, learns, and finds a way to try again.

This Way Up

Like "Fleabag," Channel 4's "This Way Up" is the story of a woman trying to put her life together after something turns it completely upside down. The show, which is available to stream on Hulu, centers around a young Irish woman named Aine (Aisling Bea) as she tries to recover and re-center herself following a nervous breakdown and a stint in a rehab facility. Like the protagonist of "Fleabag," Aine has a much more put-together and seemingly successful sister, Shona (Sharon Horgan).

Aine finds that life after rehab is not as rosy as she might have hoped, and she struggles to find her footing while comparing herself to Shona — who happens to be her only company most of the time. Slowly but surely, Aine begins to relax back into the world, connecting with others through her work as an English as a second language teacher. Just like in real life, the changes happen slowly without Aine or the audience really noticing, until suddenly, it starts to get easier. 

Killing Eve

Phoebe Waller-Bridge may not appear onscreen in "Killing Eve," but her voice shines through as the head writer of the first season and an executive producer of the show. This spy thriller from the BBC chronicles the work and life of an MI6 agent named Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) as she tracks enigmatic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) across the world in an increasingly murky game of cat-and-mouse. 

This is a spy thriller like you've never seen before. There's plenty of action, computer hacking, and espionage, but "Killing Eve" brings a flavor to the genre that is all its own. Eve begins the show as our hero, but she's also obsessive, acidic, and prone to impulsivity. Villanelle is a femme fatale in every way, but she is also wounded, lost, and, at times, painfully vulnerable. The give-and-take between the two women — their never-ending game of spy vs. spy as each irrevocably changes the other — is impossible to look away from. "Killing Eve" is a spy story, but it is also a story about two women who, for better or worse, cannot let each other go. 

Sex Education

One Fleabag's obsessions, the thing that occupies her mind most of the time, is sex and all that comes with it. The ecstasy, the awkwardness, the inherent comedy and tragedy of it all — there is so much wrapped up in that intimate act. Another British dramedy that explores all of the ins-and-outs of sex (pun very much intended) is Netflix's "Sex Education." 

Set in a small English town, "Sex Education" is about a collection of characters, ranging from teens to people in middle age, learning about sex, relationships, and themselves. Our protagonist is Otis (Asa Butterfield), the son of a divorced sex therapist who is desperate for her son to be honest with her about his life. While Otis has difficulty opening up about his own feelings, he finds that he has a knack for listening to other people's problems and giving them advice. With help from his best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and his crush Maeve (Emma Mackey), he begins giving out sex advice to his fellow students — for cash. "Sex Education" is blunt, hilarious, heartfelt, frustrating, painful, and joyful all at once. In short, it's everything that comes along with sex and love — and so much more. 

I May Destroy You

When it comes to bold, brave art that looks trauma in the eye and refuses to blink, there is nothing quite like "I May Destroy You." Michaela Coel created, wrote, co-directed, and executive-produced this British series for BBC One and HBO about a woman trying to heal after a sexual assault. Coel stars as Arabella, a famous young novelist struggling to recover and cope in the public eye. 

The acting, writing, and direction of "I May Destroy You" shine bright. Like many brilliant things, it is often difficult to look at, but sticking through the discomfort and the hurt is worth it. The show is an unflinching exploration of one of the most difficult topics to discuss in the context of a medium that so often sensationalizes and exploits it. "I May Destroy You" manages to find little moments of levity amidst the darkness of recovery from sexual violence while refusing to shy away from the darkness itself. It is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after the final credits. 


If one of your favorite parts of "Fleabag" was the flirtation between our protagonist and Andrew Scott's Hot Priest and you're looking for another unorthodox romance, then "Catastrophe" might just scratch that itch. The show follows Rob and Sharon (Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan respectively), two people who have an impulsive fling during London business trip. 

Once Rob returns home to Boston, he gets a surprising call from Sharon who reveals that their six-day lovefest left her pregnant with his child. The two decide that they might as well give the relationship a real shot, and Rob moves to London so they can be together. From there, they throw themselves into the deep end without a life preserver, learning as they go and failing plenty along the way. It's an unconventional courtship done all out of order, but they're both just unhinged enough to try anyway. The show is delightful, frustrating, and as weird and unexpected as Rob and Sharon's relationship itself. If that's not enough for you, the show also features the impeccable Carrie Fisher as Rob's mother. 


The only animated entry on this list, "Undone" is a thoughtful, philosophical adult animated dramedy from the creator of "Bojack Horseman." Its animation is as unique as its story, using rotoscoping to achieve a dreamy, floaty look. Like "Fleabag," "Undone" is about a woman who is forever changed by a terrible event. However, the show takes a much more surreal approach to the subject matter, taking full advantage of its medium to explore the abstract nature of life, time, and reality itself. 

After nearly dying in a car accident, a woman named Alma (Rosa Salazar) discovers that her relationship with time has changed. The world around her begins to shift and morph, and reality itself unravels around her. Although it is fantastical and cosmic much of the time, it also goes to some truly grounded, relatable places. At its core, "Undone" is a story about existence, navigating the world around us, and what is means to be alive. 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

The protagonist of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" may not break the fourth wall to talk to the audience, but she shatters the conventional reality of her show's world in a different, uniquely theatrical way. Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), the titular crazy ex-girlfriend, uses musical numbers to express herself, transforming the world of the show into the setting of a song that expresses what she is going through better than mere dialogue ever could. It might sound a bit kitschy (and it is), but it's so much more than that.

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is about a successful New York lawyer who realizes something earthshattering: She is miserable. Desperately chasing joy, she follows a long-ago ex-boyfriend to his hometown of West Covina, California, hoping she can finally feel truly happy for the first time in her life. There, she finds a job and a community of new friends who care about her. Still, it's not all technicolor musical numbers. Sometimes Rebecca's life takes a dark turn as she struggles with her mental illness, toxic relationship patterns, and the emotional scars left by her overbearing mother. But through it all, she keeps on singing.

Dead to Me

Like "Fleabag," Netflix's "Dead to Me" is a story about lives uprooted by grief and the death of a loved one. The show, created by Liz Feldman, revolves around a friendship that forms between two women: Jen (Christina Applegate), who lost her husband, and Judy (Linda Cardellini), who lost her fiancé. The two approach their losses completely differently. One woman is manically upbeat, and the other is buried under a heavy cloud of depression. Ultimately, these differences pull them even closer together.

However, all is not exactly as it appears, and Judy is harboring secrets that could completely destroy the friendship if they ever came out. As Jen and Judy each do their best to get it together, they continue on an inevitable spiral toward complete and utter disaster. In spite of the story's dramatic twists and turns, its portrayal of loss rings true. "Dead to Me" is emotional and sardonic all at once, blending tears, pulp, and gallows humor into one unique whirlwind.