8 Shows Like Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe You Would Enjoy

In the gritty streets of 1980s Brisbane, a young boy named Eli Bell finds himself entangled in a web of chaos and resilience, his life unfolding against the backdrop of a turbulent family dynamic. Originating from Trent Dalton’s novel, ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ takes us on an immersive journey through the trials and triumphs of Eli’s coming-of-age. Living with a heroin-dealing stepfather, a junkie mother, and a selectively mute brother, Eli maintains an unwavering optimism despite his daily struggles.

As Tytus Broz, a menacing drug dealer, kidnaps Eli’s stepfather, the fragile family faces imminent rupture. Eli, determined to rescue his mother from Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, confronts the criminal underbelly of Brisbane. The narrative weaves themes of love, resilience, and self-discovery, offering an experience that is similarly replicated in these shows like ‘Boy Swallows Universe.’

8. Blood &Water (2020–)

‘Blood & Water,’ crafted by Nosipho Dumisa and Travis Taute, dives into the complex world of high school drama, mystery, and secrets. Pulled into the orbit of the prestigious Parkhurst College, teenager Puleng Khumalo embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind her long-lost sister’s disappearance.

As Puleng infiltrates the world of the wealthy and privileged, the show unravels a web of hidden agendas along with her own family’s secrets. It skillfully combines the coming-of-age genre with a gripping mystery, exploring the challenges of identity, and social dynamics. As was the case with Eli from ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ Puleng Khumalo’s family is disrupted by an organized criminal syndicate, and she has to fight against the odds to protect her family from their clutches.

7. Reservation Dogs (2021-2023)

‘Reservation Dogs,’ created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, offers a fresh and authentic portrayal of Native American youth navigating life on an Oklahoma reservation. The series follows a group of four friends as they embark on various misadventures, blending humor, friendship, and a unique cultural perspective.

Set against the backdrop of the rural reservation, the show explores themes of identity, community, and the challenges faced by Indigenous youth. ‘Reservation Dogs’ can strike a similar philosophical cord with ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ in the protagonists’ search for their place in the world, understanding morals, family, and the social structure they must navigate.

6. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (2023)

‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ is a television series adaptation of the novel by Holly Ringland, skillfully brought to life by creators Sarah Lambert and Glendyn Ivin. The show revolves around Alice Hart, a young woman who endures a traumatic childhood marked by a devastating fire that claims her family. As Alice grows older, she navigates the intricacies of healing and self-discovery, while haunted by the shadow of her past.

Both ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ and ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ are based on best-selling novels speaking of a child facing unthinkable odds, and are set against the backdrop of the Australian landscape. The series artfully intertwines Alice’s journey with the language of native flowers, which becomes a poignant means of expression and connection. Each episode unveils a new chapter in Alice’s life, delving into its complex exploration of love, loss, and resilience.

5. Please Like Me (2013-2016)

Created by and starring Josh Thomas, ‘Please Like Me’ is a poignant dramedy series that weaves humor into the fabric of life’s complexities. The show follows Josh, a young man navigating the challenges of adulthood, relationships, and self-discovery. When his girlfriend comes out as gay, Josh finds himself embarking on a journey of self-realization. The series explores mental health, sexuality, and the evolving dynamics of friendships and family relationships with a candid and heartfelt approach.

Josh’s awkward charm and genuine vulnerability make him an endearing protagonist, and the ensemble cast, including the lovable Tom and the candid Arnold, contributes to the show’s authentic portrayal of modern life. If you were captivated by the heartfelt storytelling and humor in ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ ‘Please Like Me,’ might appeal to you with its unique blend of humor and moments of introspection.

4. Outer Banks (2020-)

‘Outer Banks,’ created by Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Shannon Burke, unfolds as a captivating coming-of-age mystery set against the stunning backdrop of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The series centers on a group of working-class friends known as the “Pogues” – John B, Sarah, Kiara, and JJ. Their lives take an unexpected turn when they embark on a quest for hidden treasure linked to John B’s missing father.

As the Pogues navigate the dangerous world of the affluent “Kooks” and unravel long-buried secrets, the show seamlessly blends adventure, romance, and suspense. Its narrative explores class divisions, teenage friendships, and the pursuit of identity. Much like ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ it has plot twists, a charismatic cast, and a picturesque setting. Both shows explore extraordinary adventures and struggles of youth, captivating us with a rich setting and thrilling escapades.

3. Home Before Dark (2020-)

Created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, ‘Home Before Dark’ unfolds as a compelling mystery drama with a young investigative journalist at its heart. The series follows 9-year-old Hilde Lisko, who returns to her father’s small lakeside town. Inspired by her journalist father’s past, Hilde unravels a cold case involving a local boy’s mysterious disappearance. As Hilde tenaciously digs into the town’s secrets, she confronts the complexities of her own family’s history and the community’s resistance to the truth.

The narrative shares the exploration of themes of resilience and familial bonds with ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ as the protagonists of both shows are precocious children facing challenges far beyond their years. ‘Home Before Dark’ brilliantly juxtaposes the innocence of childhood with the dark underbelly of a seemingly idyllic town, keeping us on the edge of our seats with suspenseful plot twists.

2. How to Sell Drugs Online (2019-)

‘How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast),’ created by Philipp Kässbohrer and Matthias Murmann, takes a darkly comedic dive into the world of online drug dealing. Moritz Zimmermann decides to win back his ex-girlfriend by launching a small online drug business from his bedroom. With the help of his computer-savvy friend Lenny, he creates an ambitious online platform. As Moritz’s enterprise gains unexpected momentum, the show navigates the consequences of its risky venture, including threatened criminal elements and narcotic investigators.

If the discussion of drug abuse and its trade through criminal networks piqued your interest in ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ this crime series will satiate your curiosity. Mixing humor with the darker aspects of the drug trade, its narrative touches on themes of entrepreneurship, friendship, and the consequences of moral compromise.

1. On My Block (2018-2021)

Created by Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft, ‘On My Block’ is a coming-of-age tale set against the vibrant backdrop of South Central Los Angeles. The series centers around a tight-knit group of friends – Monse, Cesar, Ruby, and Jamal – as they navigate the challenges of adolescence, friendship, and the complexities of their neighborhood.

As the group faces the typical trials of high school, they also grapple with the harsh realities of inner-city life, including gang influences and family expectations. Like ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ ‘On My Block’ deftly combines humor, drama, and social commentary, with references to organized crime and drug peddling.

Read More: Boy Swallows Universe: The True Story Behind the Netflix Show, Explained