Patrick Melrose: 10 Similar Shows That Deserve Your Attention

Patrick Melrose‘ is a riveting drama series that looks into the tumultuous life of its titular character, brought to life by the exceptional Benedict Cumberbatch. Adapted from the acclaimed semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St Aubyn, this miniseries captures the harrowing journey of Patrick Melrose, a troubled aristocrat grappling with addiction and a traumatic past. The narrative spans several decades, chronicling Patrick’s descent into substance abuse, his desperate attempts at recovery, and the haunting memories of his abusive father, David Melrose (Hugo Weaving), and neglectful mother, Eleanor Melrose (Jennifer Jason Leigh).

Set against the backdrop of opulent yet oppressive environments, the series intricately portrays Patrick’s battle with his inner demons. Each episode of this 2018 mini-series carefully weaves themes of trauma, redemption, and the pursuit of self-discovery, making it a compelling exploration of human resilience and the complexities of healing. If you crave more intense, character-driven narratives covering all spectrums of flawed human nature, have a look at these 10 shows like ‘Patrick Melrose.’

10. Sweetbitter (2018-2019)

‘Sweetbitter’ is a drama series created by Stephanie Danler, based on her own novel of the same name. The series follows Tess (Ella Purnell), a young woman who moves to New York City and lands a job at a prestigious restaurant. As she tries to keep up with the fast-paced world of fine dining, Tess experiences the complexities of relationships, ambition, and self-discovery. Like ‘Patrick Melrose,’ ‘Sweetbitter’ explores themes of personal transformation and the search for identity amidst chaos. Both shows tap into the protagonists’ struggles with their pasts and their journeys toward finding a sense of belonging.

9. After Life (2019-2022)

After Life,’ created by and starring Ricky Gervais, is a poignant, dark comedy that follows Tony, a man coming to terms with the death of his wife, Lisa. Consumed by grief, Tony contemplates abandoning his moral compass and embracing a life of apathy and bitterness. However, his interactions with colleagues and townsfolk gradually influence his outlook. The show features a talented cast alongside Gervais, including Tom Basden, Tony Way, and Diane Morgan in prominent roles. Similar to ‘Patrick Melrose,’ ‘After Life‘ explores deep themes of loss, trauma, and the difficult journey towards healing and self-rediscovery, offering a raw, human portrayal of coping with life’s harsh realities.

8. Lucky Hank (2023)

Lucky Hank,’ a comedy-drama series developed by Paul Lieberstein and Aaron Zelman, stars Bob Odenkirk as Hank, the English department chairman at an underfunded Pennsylvania college. Based on Richard Russo’s 1997 novel ‘Straight Man,’ the show follows Hank as he teeters on the edge of a midlife crisis, dealing with quirky chaos in both his personal and professional life. Much like ‘Patrick Melrose,’ ‘Lucky Hank‘ is all about the conundrums of the human psyche, portraying a protagonist struggling with inner turmoil, self-identity, and the challenges of navigating a turbulent, often absurd world. Both shows offer a deep, character-driven narrative that resonates with personal crisis and self-discovery themes.

7. Bad Sisters (2022-)

Set against the vibrant backdrop of Dublin, ‘Bad Sisters‘ is an Irish black comedy series developed by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer. Adapted from the Flemish series ‘Clan,’ it tells the story of the five Garvey sisters—Eva, Grace, Ursula, Bibi, and Becka—whose lives take a dark turn after Grace’s oppressive husband, John Paul, dies unexpectedly. The show skillfully shifts between timelines: one where the sisters conspire to kill John Paul and another where an insurance agent desperately seeks to prove their guilt. Starring Sharon Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, and Eve Hewson, ‘Bad Sisters’ shares with ‘Patrick Melrose’ a darkly comedic exploration of complex family dynamics and the fallout from a troubled past.

6. BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)

BoJack Horseman,’ an animated dramedy created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, offers a satirical and poignant look at fame, addiction, and personal redemption. The series features Will Arnett voicing BoJack, a washed-up actor from a 90s sitcom, navigating his struggles with substance abuse and the search for meaning in a Hollywood filled with anthropomorphic animals and humans. With a voice cast including Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul, the show unfolds around the complexities of its characters’ lives. ‘BoJack Horseman’ shares with ‘Patrick Melrose’ a raw, unflinching exploration of personal demons and the quest for identity amidst the mundane chaos of the modern age.

5. The Virtues (2019)

‘The Virtues’ mirrors ‘Patrick Melrose’ in its profound exploration of personal struggles and the pursuit of redemption. Written by Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne, the series centers on Joseph (Stephen Graham) as he deals with a haunting past and battles addiction. Meadows’ signature raw storytelling and Graham’s captivating performance bring Joseph’s journey to life, portraying the layers of trauma and the human spirit’s resilience. As Joseph embarks on a cathartic quest for healing, ‘The Virtues’ engrosses audiences with its poignant narrative and authentic portrayal of inner turmoil and eventual redemption.

4. Barry (2018-2023)

‘Barry,’ a dark comedy series created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, aligns with ‘Patrick Melrose’ in its exploration of a hitman’s existential crisis. Starring Bill Hader as the titular character, the show follows Barry Berkman, a disillusioned assassin who discovers a passion for acting while on a job in Los Angeles. As Barry comes to terms with his dual identities and moral dilemmas, ‘Barry’ plunges into themes of identity, redemption, and the search for purpose. With its concoction of dark humor and intense drama, the series offers a haunting perspective on the deep-rooted complications of human nature.

3. Frayed (2019-2021)

In ‘Frayed,’ a catchy comedy-drama series created by Sarah Kendall, the story reeks of ‘Patrick Melrose’ by jumping into the life of Samantha, a woman struggling with her past after her husband’s sudden death. Set in the 1980s, the show follows Samantha as she treads the problems of family secrets, financial woes, and societal pressures. Kendall leads the cast, guiding viewers through Samantha’s contrasting worlds: from her privileged upbringing in London’s high society to her return to the humble surroundings of Newcastle, Australia. ‘Frayed‘ combines humor, emotion, and a sense of nostalgia, providing a fresh perspective on themes of resilience, self-discovery, and the search for connection.

2. Feel Good (2020-2021)

In ‘Feel Good,’ Mae Martin takes center stage, offering a charming and accurate portrayal reminiscent of ‘Patrick Melrose’ and the elements of addiction and personal turmoil. As Mae, a stand-up comedian grappling with substance abuse, deals with the convoluted web of her relationships, the series dabbles into arcs of self-discovery and redemption. Set against the backdrop of London’s comedy circuit, ‘Feel Good‘ offers an intimate look at the challenges of confronting one’s demons and forging authentic connections in a world filled with uncertainty. Through its blend of humor and heartache, the show resonates with audiences, much like ‘Patrick Melrose,’ for its unflinching portrayal of the human condition.

1. This Way Up (2019-2021)

Aisling Bea’s creation, ‘This Way Up,’ featuring her in the lead role, presents an enthralling storyline that echoes the themes found in ‘Patrick Melrose’ by tapping into the intricacies of personal turmoil and the journey towards redemption. The series follows Aine (Bea) as she navigates life after a stint in rehab, coming to face the issues of mental health and self-discovery. Brimming with dark humor and poignancy, ‘This Way Up‘ captures the essence of human resilience and vulnerability, inviting audiences to empathize with its flawed yet endearing characters. Alongside Bea, the talented cast includes Sharon Horgan, Tobias Menzies, and Aasif Mandvi, further enriching the show’s exploration of the human experience.

Read More: When and Where Does Patrick Melrose Take Place?