8 TV Shows Like The Bear To Stream Right Now
From a documentary series to a K-drama.
With just eight episodes in its first season, The Bear leaves viewers wanting more. The frenetic kitchen drama got a rare 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, with critics calling it both a stressful watch and a moving portrait of mental illness and grief. Thankfully, the series was renewed for Season 2 less than a month after it premiered.
Just don’t expect to dive back into the series right away. Drama series tend to take about a year to debut new seasons, which means it might be a while before fans can see what happens to Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), his determined staff, and all those rolls of tomato sauce money they found in the finale. Still, there are quite a few other shows that fans can check out, either because they match the intensity of The Bear and dive into life in the kitchen or hail from showrunner Christopher Storer.
Here are eight other shows like The Bear to watch right now.
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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (HBO Max)
In a review of the season, The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert wrote that “if The Bear has a spiritual cousin, it’s probably Anthony Bourdain.” Bourdain’s travelogues paid respect to local chefs and various cultures, while his insights into high-profile kitchens proved to be both subversive and revolutionary for the genre. Before his 2018 death, he was often pensive about his industry, saying there was no excuse for the toxic “meathead culture” that it engendered.
Similarly, Carmy returns to Chicago after his brother dies by suicide, opening up questions about mental health and burnout in the industry. “Throughout its eight episodes, The Bear is preoccupied with masculinity, and almost anthropological in its analysis of the ways in which men and male-dominated cultures are set up to fail,” Gilbert writes.
It’s an echo of some of the questions Bourdain himself brought up on his show Parts Unknown. The show ran for 18 seasons, but only the first season is available on HBO Max.
The Chef Show (Netflix)
If The Bear had a movie equivalent, it would likely be Jon Favreau’s Chef, which follows a classical cuisine chef who opens a Cuban food truck after he’s fired and humiliated on social media. Favreau later made The Chef Show, a spin-off documentary series where he invites various chefs and actors to just cook and chat with each other. It’s obviously very different in tone from The Bear, but you come away with insights into the industry and some feel-good vibes.
If you want to see more of Carmy’s actor Jeremy Allen White, it’s worth mentioning the long-running drama Shameless, where many viewers first became familiar with White. The series follows the dysfunctional Gallagher family, and White played Lip, the second child whose later storylines dealt with alcohol use disorder. Though it’s not a cooking drama, Shameless is also set in Chicago, and it has a similarly gritty feel that blends humor with heartbreak.
If you enjoyed Storer’s direction of The Bear, it’s worth checking out Ramy, which follows a first-generation Muslim American, Ramy (played by show creator Ramy Youssef), as he juggles his religious upbringing with his modern New Jersey lifestyle. Like Carmy, Ramy goes through a lot of internal conflict as tries to piece his life together. Storer is an executive producer, and he also directed several episodes.
This Is Going To Hurt (AMC+)
If you enjoyed how anxiety-inducing The Bear was, then you might enjoy the British series This Is Going To Hurt. Starring Ben Whishaw from the James Bond movies, it follows a 2006 doctor working in the labor and delivery wing of an underfunded and overworked National Health Service hospital. Indiewire called it “another great portrait of burnout,” and the series never shies away from criticizing the British healthcare system and showing the stress these doctors endure. The series is only on AMC+, but fingers crossed AMC eventually adds it to Hulu.
Reservation Dogs (Hulu)
Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi’s Reservation Dogs is so much more than a story about four teenagers who long to leave their Native American reservation. Throughout the series we learn that a key member of their group died by suicide, and like The Bear, this grief is woven throughout the show even in its lighter and sweeter moments. Though the show is billed as a dramedy, Reservation Dogs brings up conversations around mental health and suicide, which is much higher in Indigenous communities compared to white communities.
“It’s hard to explain, because I think [grief] actually lends itself to our humor, Native humor,” Harjo told Variety. “I think that it’s always been close to tragedy, because it’s about survival. Humor has always been about survival. It’s like laughing in the face of all of this tragedy that’s surrounding us.”
Severance (Apple TV+)
If you’re looking for another show about a worker overcoming verbal abuse and learning how to value himself in the workplace, Severance fits the bill. Directed by Ben Stiller, the series follows Mark S. (Adam Scott), who elects to “sever” his outside self from his workplace self so he can compartmentalize his grief following the death of his wife. Like The Bear, Mark’s emotional struggles bring up questions of mental health, and his “Innie” self explores issues around toxic workplaces. While Severance is generally much quieter in tone compared to The Bear, the series definitely ramps up by season’s end, with the finale being absolutely anxiety-inducing.
Itaewon Class (Netflix)
Finally, if you’re looking for another underdog restaurant story, consider checking out Itaewon Class. The Korean drama follows Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon), who’s wrongly thrown into jail by the corrupt CEO of a large food corporation. In true K-drama form, his father also dies in an accident, so when Sae-ro-yi gets out of jail seven years later, he decides to continue his father’s dream of opening a bar-restaurant. He ends up hiring a crew of outcasts, and they all band together to make a business that will eventually beat out the corporation that wronged him. Like Carmy, Sae-ro-yi encounters plenty of difficulties while running the restaurant. The series also explores issues around LGBTQ+ and ex-convict stigmas in South Korea, making it just as subversive and moving as The Bear.