TV & Movies

These 10 Shows Rival The Debauchery & Drama Of Gossip Girl

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As the show takes a break mid-season, here are shows like Gossip Girl to watch if you're missing the...
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Spotted: a fresh set of privileged and social-media famous high schoolers perched on the MET steps in HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot. After just six episodes, Constance Billard’s coeds are taking some time off until November 2021, perhaps to attend to some salacious entanglements (aka the mid-season finale’s cliffhangers), including sisterly thievery (of moms and men), a ménage à trois, and an exposed faculty member.

If you’re finding yourself aching for needlessly glamorous parties, steamy love triangles, and swooshing plaids, there are other shows that indulge in the excess and debauchery of the wealthy. There are reality shows that follow the lives of the actual rich and famous, like in Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, and even more fictional dramas about teens with rich kid woes, like 90210. There are also options that are less about the money and more about riveting teen drama. The early aughts, in particular, made room for some of the most memorable sagas of all time, including The O.C. and One Tree Hill. And as your one and only source into the scandalous lives of the real and fictionalized elite, here are 10 shows like HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot to watch while you wait for November.

Gossip Girl (Original)

Of course, the OG, which ran from 2007 to 2012, should be included in the list because it’s a classic. No one can forget best frenemies Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), hotel scion Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), star athlete and overall good guy Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), and lonely boy Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley). In a conversation with Crawford for Variety, Badgley considered the show’s popularity and surmised, “People wanted to watch a show like Gossip Girl because it was escapism.”

NYC Prep

Bravo’s reality show NYC Prep is essentially GG’s IRL equivalent and follows the lives of six prep school Manhattanites, where, according to the description on Bravo, “Everyone's beautiful, and everyone's connected.” The cast, comprised of Camille Hughes, Jessica Leavitt, Kelli Tomashoff, Sebastian Oppenheim, Taylor DiGiovanni, and PC Peterson, navigates the same woes as GG’s teens: fully-booked social calendars, awkward first dates, and Ivy League college applications. Canceled after just nine episodes, some of the NYC Prep cast has since pursued careers in music, snazzy real estate markets, and one had a wedding in The Hamptons, naturally.

90210

The West Coast equivalent of Manhattan’s ultrarich shares the same zip code: 90210. The show, which premiered in 2008, follows wealthy teens as they navigate high school and swap romantic partners and addictions. Their parents, much like in Gossip Girl, also have complicated amorous histories. The CW reboot of the classic 10-season Beverly Hills, 90210 series that made stars out of Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, and Jennie Garth only lasted half the time and went off the air in 2013, but it's available to rewatch in all its glory on The CW’s site.

Elite

In Elite, the Netflix Spanish language teen drama created by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, three high schoolers gain scholarships to Las Encinas, the exclusive private school in Madrid. They — and their households’ income brackets — don’t belong, and their wealthier antagonizers make sure they know it. Similar to the OG Gossip Girl and the reboot, it takes salacious secrets involving sex, drugs, and quite a few murders to unravel their stories and prove they’re far more alike than they seem. The show’s fifth season, which promises to ring in newer faces, will be released in 2022.

The O.C.

The 2003 Josh Schwartz-created drama, The O.C., follows the troubled Ryan (Ben McKenzie), who ends up enmeshed in the lives of the Orange County elite. There, in the sunny SoCal region where everything isn’t as simple as it seems, he catches the eye of Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). Though the hit show was canceled after four seasons, the fictional couple Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen, played by Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody, reigned supreme in the early aughts. To this day, some fans still wax poetic about the on-screen couple’s lasting impact.

One Tree Hill

They may not be designer-lugging gazillionaires, but there’s a lot of conflict among the popular kids in the small town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. Star athletes and brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott (Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty) compete for athletic — and romantic — glory. Meanwhile, Brooke (Sophia Bush), Peyton (Hilarie Burton), and Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) also explore familial, romantic, and financial issues.

From 2003 to 2012, One Tree Hill seamlessly incorporated musical performances from Sheryl Crow, Fall Out Boy, and Lupe Fiasco, among others, which is also a big selling point for both the original and rebooted versions of Gossip Girl. Lady Gaga, Robyn, and Sonic Youth make cameos in the original, while Princess Nokia performs in the reboot.

Skins

British series Skins lacks the privilege and wealth of the fictional Upper East Siders, but it rivals GG in depravity with common themes around sexuality and substance abuse. The show, which changed casts every two seasons from 2007 to 2010, discovered stars Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Daniel Kaluuya. In 2011, MTV released an American remake of the show, but the hardcore partying and adult content didn’t resonate with U.S. audiences and was canceled after a season.

Rich Kids of Beverly Hills

E!’s reality show Rich Kids of Beverly Hills follows the heirs of the mega-rich, including Dorothy Wang, daughter of business tycoon Roger Wang; Morgan Stewart, daughter of architect Herb Stewart; and Stewart’s ex-husband, real estate success Brendan Fitzpatrick. It also stars DJ Jonny Drubel, Roxy Sowlaty, and NBA legend Magic Johnson’s offspring EJ Johnson, who went on to star in his own one-season show, EJNYC.

For four seasons, viewers watched as the cast flaunted their unattainable lavish lifestyle in parties, Rodeo Drive shopping hauls, and crying about getting cut off. #RichKidProblems.

Pretty Little Liars

Freeform’s teen thriller Pretty Little Liars is practically Gossip Girl if GG wasn’t a blog-turned-Instagram account but an anonymous stalker-slash-blackmailer named “A.” And instead of looking to become the next queen bee, these teens were on the hunt for theirs after her mysterious disappearance.

Based on the novels by Sara Shepard and starring Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, and Sasha Pieterse, the Rosewood friends take it upon themselves to uncover who “A” is, with many casualties along the way. If you like Pretty Little Liars, the mystery will continue when the reboot Original Sin comes to HBO.

Clique

Another British series, BBC Three’s Clique follows the friendship of Holly and Georgia in college. Unfortunately, one’s success in an elite group causes the other to conspire against her. According to creator Jess Brittain, the teen thriller, which ran for two seasons, definitely took inspiration from the sheen of the original Gossip Girl. In an interview with Radio Times, Brittain said, “We wanted to be unashamed of heading towards that high-gloss and high dynamic look because that’s kind of how it looked and felt, weirdly to me at uni, watching the women who had it together.”