TV & Movies

7 Shows Like The Vow You Won’t Be Able To Stop Talking About

From a Scientology deep dive to a reality series about escaping polygamy.

Originally Published: 
'The Vow' on HBO

Peering inside the infamous NXIVM sex cult brought down in 2018, HBO's The Vow has all the makings of must-see TV: sordid sexual allegations, criminal investigations, various celebrities, new age beliefs. There have been shows and movies like The Vow before. Investigation Discovery aired a two-hour special, The Lost Women of NXIVM, in 2019, and Catherine Oxenberg, who's daughter India was in NXIVM, produced a Lifetime film about her experience trying to get her daughter out of the group the same year. But The Vow, with its slick production value and new, illuminating interviews with former members, is arguably the most compelling.

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"A cynic might also say the abundance of docuseries has diluted the genre's impact, as has the tendency to drag multi-part projects out too long," Brian Lowry wrote in his review for CNN. "The Vow, by contrast, plunges so deep into this bizarre world that it stands apart from the crowd. Even stretched to nine chapters, its immersive look into how cults can flourish delivers, in TV terms, a different kind of manual for success."

At nine episodes in total, The Vow is already midway through its story. But if you, too, have found yourself enthralled by seeing the manipulative tactics that fuel an organization like NXIVM up close, try these seven shows next.

Wild Wild Country

If docuseries about wild cults are your thing, they don't get much wilder than Netflix's Wild Wild Country, which has the word "wild" twice in its title for a reason. The six-part series chronicles the rise and fall of the Rajneeshpuram cult that settled in Oregon in the 1980s. Led by the guru known as Rajneesh, it was later tied to an illegal wire-tapping operation and the largest bioterror attack in U.S. history, among other crimes.

Watch it on: Netflix

The Family

In this chilling five-part series, you'll learn all about a secretive conservative Christian organization known alternately as The Family or The Fellowship. This group, formerly run by the late Doug Coe, is considered to be massively influential on U.S. politics.

Watch it on: Netflix

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

This four-part series examines the multiple ways alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein used his wealth to avoid prosecution, his famous friends (like Donald Trump), and his controversial death by suicide.

Watch it on: Netflix

Leaving Neverland

In HBO's contentious two-part docuseries, two men recount the alleged sexual abuse they endured from Michael Jackson when they were children. It's a difficult watch that's graphic at times, and it will undoubtedly alter the way you view one of history's most successful recording artists. (Jackson was never charged of any crimes in relation to the men before his death in 2009; his family has slammed the documentary as "outrageous" and "pathetic.")

Watch it on: HBO

Cults And Extreme Belief

This nine-part docuseries examines a number of cults and how they affected their members, including the Children of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, and even NXIVM, which is featured in the first episode.

Watch it on: Hulu

Escaping Polygamy

Across four seasons and counting, this reality series follows a trio of sisters who escaped a polygamous group known as The Order and now help other women escape similar situations.

Watch it on: Tubi

Going Clear

OK, this is a feature-length documentary, not a show. But it's still worth checking out if you're a fan of The Vow. It's arguably the most damning look at Scientology ever produced.

Watch it on: HBO

The Vow continues airing Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

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