I'll be honest:
Normal People blew my mind. Like most people, I loved the book, and was actually rather skeptical when the television adaptation was announced. But the series went above and beyond my expectations; it was poignant, well cast and just as impressive as Sally Rooney's novel. Chances are you also raced through it, so what should you watch next? Well, read on for a list of TV shows like to stream if you're missing Normal People Connell and Marianne already.
A high bar has been set, so it's tricky to find shows that fit the
Normal People-shaped hole in our lives exactly. Although it's a love story, which aren't difficult to come by, this one was told with Rooney's signature nuances and subtleties – connecting with her audience like few others.
However, there are shows that evoke similar feelings to the BBC Three adaptation. Some capture a comparable intensity of love, while others present it with the same frank (and sometimes depressing) honesty. Several of these stories focus on related themes of loss, grief, and college life, and some share the same beautifully shot, evocative cinematography. Here are 12 of our favourite
shows to watch in lieu of Normal People ... 1 'Love' Love is one of my absolute favourite series on Netflix, largely due to the fact that it covers the titular subject in a very realistic, no-holds-barred kind of way. Mickey and Gus weave their way in and out of each other's lives throughout the three series, dealing with everything from alcoholism to sex, and love addiction, while remaining in love pretty much all the way through. It's a favourite for a reason. Watch on Netflix. 2 'Forever'
Starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen,
Forever is likely to charm you in the same way as Normal People did. It's about a couple living in American suburbia, living a pretty mundane life, until they take a ski trip that changes things forever. There are plenty of unexpected plot twists, exploring themes of love in the long term, and whether the contentment that lies in the familiar is better than the passion and excitement of the beginning of a relationship. Watch on Amazon Prime. 3 'Noughts + Crosses' BBC/Mammoth Screen/Ilze Kitshoff
Looking for another super intense, powerful love story? The BBC are hitting the book adaptations out of the park at the moment, cue
Noughts + Crosses. The series follows a segregated society in which the Crosses reign supreme, and the Noughts are outcasts. So can Callum (a Nought) and Sephy (a Cross) defy the odds to let love win out? Prepare to get emotional with this one, a modern Romeo and Juliet situation. Watch on BBC iPlayer. 4 'Banana'
Banana definitely covers a diverse range of intense love to rival that of Normal People – telling the interlinked stories of LGBTQ+ youth in Manchester. Created by Russell T Davies and originally aired on E4 in 2015, 16 years after his original trailblazer Queer As Folk, each of the eight episodes features emerging talent and tackles various issues with wit and sensitivity. Watch on Channel 4. 5 'Easy'
Easy explores modern love in all it's complicated reality, from dating through to the long term — with plenty of sex for good measure. You'll recognise most of the star-studded cast, including Dave Franco, Emily Ratajkowski, Orlando Bloom, New Girl's Jake Johnson, Glow's Marc Maron and Twilight's Elizabeth Reaser – it's like a who's who of TV royalty. Watch on Netflix. 6 'Summertime'
This new Netflix original series is based in Italy on the Adriatic coast, and follows two teenagers from different backgrounds falling in love during one hot summer. It's a different style to
Normal People, but is based series of books by Federico Moccia, so evokes a similar literary magic. Watch on Netflix. 7 'After Life'
For another British series – which has just premiered season 2 on Netflix – that's centred around love, and a fair bit of grief, try
After Life. Created by and starring Ricky Gervais as Tony, it looks at how he's coping in the aftermath of losing his soulmate, dropping all boundaries to do and say what he wants. As is signature with Gervais, it's an astutely observed dark comedy, and arguably his best work in the last decade. Watch on Netflix. 8 'Twice Upon A Time'
This romantic series has a fantastical element, so is perfect for the cross-section of
Normal People and Harry Potter fans. It follows a couple who have recently broken up, but are now able to teleport back to a time when they were together. Travelling into an alternative reality to avoid heartbreak? Not what the relationship experts would advise, but pretty cool for a couple of hours of TV escapism. Watch on Netflix. 9 'Lovesick'
Another British great by Netflix,
Lovesick is about a group of friends living in Glasgow, navigating their love lives. Funny and moving in equal measure, the show begins when one character, Dylan, finds out he has chlamydia and has to get in touch with all of his former sexual partners to let them know. A wild ride, but with that Brit sense of humour that will guarantee you'll fall for it. Watch on Netflix. 10 'Friends From College'
Normal People follows Connell and Marianne as they move through school and university years, this American series sees a group of friends unite 20 years after they were all studying. And it seems that love — and life in general — is no simpler now than it was back then. A lighthearted watch that features Keegan-Michael Key from comedy duo Key & Peele. Watch on Netflix. 11 'Modern Love' Modern Love is a series of good solid love stories, based on The New York Times column of the same name. It explores what love looks like in all sorts of different relationships and features some top talent, from Tina Fey to Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel to Julia Garner. Watch on Amazon Prime. 12 'This Is Us' This Is Us was created and directed by the same people that did Crazy, Stupid Love, so you know it's good from the get go. It's already very well-known, but if you've still not watched it yet, now is the time. While the overall vibe is different to Normal People, it still a powerful exploration of love and relationships. Be ready for some cathartic crying. Watch on Amazon Prime.