8 Shows Like Catch-22 You Must See

‘Catch-22’ is a miniseries adapted from the iconic book of the same name written by Joseph Heller. The show is a satirical dark comedy. The story is set during World War II and revolves around a character called John Yossarian. Yossarian works as a bombardier for the US Army Air Forces. The character is portrayed as being very put off and disturbed by the fact that people he never met before or even knew existed are planning the most violent ways to kill him.

What we understand is that Yossarian is more angry with the US Army than with the oppositions because the army has figured out a way to keep people like him in the regiments. There is an interesting bureaucratic rule called Catch-22, which says that it is very natural for a person to be concerned about his safety and security, and no one in their right minds would want to go and fight in a dangerous mission where he/she can be killed. In such a situation, the people who agree that the missions are dangerous are the ones kept back because they have proved themselves to possess a rational mind.

‘Catch-22’ stars actors like Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie, and George Clooney in major roles. If you’re looking for shows that are thematically and stylistically similar to this one, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘Catch-22’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these series like ‘Catch-22’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

8. The Venture Bros. (2004-)

‘The Venture Bros.’ is an adult comedy show which airs on Cartoon Network’s late-night segment called Adult Swim. When the show initially began, it was a satirical take on the boy adventurer and space explorer stories that became quite common in the 1960s. The show revolves around the adventures of a certain Ventures family. The leading characters are Hank and Dean Venture. They are nice guys, but really incompetent considering their age. Then we have their father Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture who is a great scientist but is morally corrupt and wicked to the core. The family is given protection by secret agent Brock Samson. Whenever Samson is not around, Sergeant Hatred becomes the stand-in bodyguard. He was earlier a villain but is a reformed soul now. The Monarch is the arch-nemesis of the Ventures and has based his outfit on butterflies.

7. American Dad! (2005-)

Seth MacFarlane, the creator of shows like ‘Family Guy’, ‘The Cleveland Show’ and others, is the creative force behind this sitcom. The show is centered around a typical Southern/Southeastern white American family and the many situations they face in their day-to-day existence. Their political ideologies are also typically aligned to their description. The patriarch of the family, Stan Smith, is a staunch Republican. He works for the CIA as an agent. His wife Francine is a homemaker with a very interesting backstory. After being abandoned by her parents, she grew up to be an insecure person, heavily indulged in drug use and unprotected sex, which she keeps up even after her marriage.

We see that despite being quite open-minded, Francine always follows the conservative path her husband believes in. They have two children, Hayley, the daughter who is quite liberal-minded in her life, and her brother Steve, who is quite socially awkward. Besides the family, there are two completely absurdist characters in the show — the pet goldfish of the family called Klaus, which has the brain of an East German athlete, and a shapeshifting alien called Roger, who also lives with the family.

6. The End Of The F***ing World (2017-)

This show is adapted from the comics series created by Charles Forsman. The story revolves around two characters, high school kids James and Alyssa. James has a firm belief that he is a psychopath while Alyssa sees her association with James as a chance to escape the mundane existence of daily life as a school kid and do something really adventurous. When the story begins, we find that James is prone to killing animals, but soon grows quite tired of it. He plans to make things more interesting for himself by planning to kill a human being and targets Alyssa as the perfect victim. However, their relationship takes a drastic turn when Alyssa tells him that it might be fun to run away for an adventure. Though James nurtures a desire to kill her even then, their adventures lead to bigger problems which must be dealt with at first. The show was widely praised by critics upon its release because of the intense story, the quirky characters and the great use of music.

5. M*A*S*H (1972-1983)

The concept of ‘M*A*S*H’ is derived from the 1960 Robert Altman film of the same name. The full form of the acronym is  Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The story is centered around an army medical team of the United States during the Korean War. Some of the episodes on the series are based on the plot while the others are more character-driven. The final episode of the show, titled ‘Goodbye, Farewell and Amen’, still remains the most-watched series finale of a fictionalized show in American television history. The series received massive critical acclaim upon release and was also awarded 14 Primetime Emmy Awards in total.

4. After Life (2019-)

Comedy legend Ricky Gervais created, wrote and directed this black comedy series starring himself in the leading role. The character Gervais portrays is named Tony Johnson. Johnson works at a small-town magazine and faces huge problems dealing with life after the death of his wife. Her death makes him very bitter towards everything. Tony takes his bitterness as a power with which he can lash out against anyone and everyone, but slowly he begins to realize the there is some sanity existing in the world even today. The series is a must-watch for fans of Gervais’ comedy. The first season of the show got mixed reviews from critics.

3. Rick And Morty (2013-)

The concept of this series came from a spoof film of the iconic movie series ‘Back To The Future’. The story revolves around a family called the Smiths. The parents are Jerry and Beth; they live with their two children Summer and Morty, and Beth’s father Rick. Rick is a mad, alcoholic scientist who takes Morty along with him on many adventures across time and space. The series is absurdist and also philosophical at times. It studies concepts like nihilism and anarchism in detail. The show is critically acclaimed and also managed to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.

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2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1973)

The Monty Python comedy group is among the most influential comedy groups in the world. They created a genre with their own body of work. The show ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ is a fine example of their genius. It is a sketch comedy with some recurring characters and it mainly pokes fun at the European or British ways of life. Their comedy is surrealist, rich in subtext, and always references great works of literature and philosophy. The show was widely acclaimed upon release and even won numerous BAFTA TV Awards.

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1. BoJack Horseman (2014-)

One of the finest animated shows for adults, ‘BoJack Horseman’ shows us how intense philosophical musings can be seemingly woven into animated comedy. The lead character of the series is the eponymous horse. He was a huge star earlier, but now lives off his previous glory and spends most of his time drinking and womanizing. We get to know a lot about his life when he hires a ghostwriter to write his autobiography and keeps on telling her stories from his past. The character of BoJack has several modern problems like depression, alienation, and loneliness, and he keeps commenting on the utility and purpose of existence and loss of meaning in this highly simulated world. The series has a postmodern, self-referential approach, which becomes very evident in the Christmas special, wherein BoJack comments how showrunners use Christmas as a commodity to earn more money.

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