7 best shows like 'Sex and the City' you can stream right now

(left to right) Cynthia Nixon, Kristen Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall in a promo photo for Sex and the City
(Image credit: Alamy)

If the title doesn’t make it obvious, the Darren Star-created TV show “Sex and the City” hinges on the love (lust) lives of four best friends in New York City. Sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) leads the charge alongside her friends Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis). 

The six-season 1998 series focuses as much on the women’s careers as it does each other and their sex lives, giving viewers a well-rounded female-led show that wasn’t incredibly common at the time — especially given that it centers on career women in their mid-30s and one in her early 40s.

On top of two movies in 2008 and 2010, “Sex and the City” snagged an ongoing reboot called “And Just Like That…” Three of the core women came back, but Cattrall’s Samantha only returned for a cameo in one episode of the sequel series. 


Though “Friends” isn’t a carbon copy of “Sex and the City,” a good chunk of the premise rings true. Instead of characters in their mid-30s, the “Friends” gang is around a decade younger at the beginning of the show. “Friends” is firmly planted in sitcom territory rather than the dramedy genre. The sitcom was even filmed in front of a live audience and features a laugh track.

However, friendship is at the core of both shows, some with overlapping archetypes with the “Sex and the City” crew. The younger ages of the “Friends” characters make them a little less successful career-wise than the “Sex and the City” characters, but they eventually find their way. 

Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) is most reminiscent of Carrie — between her fashion obsession, love life, and general personality. Other members of the NYC-based friend group include Monica Gellar (Courteney Cox), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), and Ross Geller (David Schwimmer). David Crane and Marta Kauffman created the 1994 show, which ran for 10 seasons. 

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'The Carrie Diaries'

Well, if we’re talking about shows like “Sex and the City” we can’t forget the short-lived CW show, “The Carrie Diaries," which serves as a prequel to the original. It features a fresh-faced 16-year-old Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) as she navigates high school, the death of her mother, her dreams of getting out of her small Connecticut town, and her tenacity to kick off her writing career before she even graduates. 

Of the four friends from the OG series, only young Samantha (Lindsey Gort) makes an appearance in the two-season 2013 show. Other characters include Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler), Mouse (Ellen Wong), Maggie Landers (Katie Findlay), and Carrie’s sister Dorrit (Stefanie LaVie Owen). Amy Harris created the two-season series.

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'Gossip Girl'

“Sex and the City” but make it high school. The six-season CW series “Gossip Girl” brings audiences into the lives of “Manhattan’s elite’ — namely, the rich teens of the universe’s most influential and affluential New York City families in the Upper East Side. Except for Dan and his sister Jenny who, gasp, live with their supposedly poor dad in a massive Brooklyn loft. The horrors. 

Though best friends (and occasional frenemies) Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) run the show (and their high school), the 20017 series still has an ensemble core friend group (who sleep together as much as they feud together) consisting of Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), and Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford). 

But there’s a twist. Like “Sex and the City,” there’s a narration component to “Gossip Girl” in the form of an anonymous blogger (voiced by Kristen Bell). Naturally, the Gossip Girl has a vendetta against the affluent families of Manhattan and airs everyone’s dirty laundry. While it’s certainly not a carbon copy of Carrie’s sex column, there are definitely vibes. Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwarts brought the show to life along with the 2021 reboot helmed by Joshua Safran.

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'The Bold Type'

Like “Sex and the City,” “The Bold Type” centers around journalists living in New York City. Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens), Kat Edison (Aisha Dee), and Sutton Brady (Meghan Fahy) are young women who work for a magazine called Scarlet. Meanwhile, Melora Hardin’s Jacqueline Carlyle oversees them as the editor-in-chief. 

Not only is “The Bold Type” also based on a real-life journalist (this time Cosmopolitan EIC Joanne Coles), but the series heavily deals with the trio’s love lives on top of their careers. It’s a bit easier to weave their personal plots together given that they all work at the same publication. The characters in the 2017 show are in their mid-20s and at the beginning of their career, which plays a role in the plotlines — both romantically and professionally. Sarah Watson created the five-season show.

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Sometimes, you just want to start over in your career — which is difficult when you’re not 25 anymore. Sutton Foster’s 40-year-old character Liza wants to get back into the publishing game in “Younger.” Unfortunately, she hasn’t had work experience in over a decade. As any rational person would do, she pretends to be in her mid-20s to rise up the ranks organically (kind of). Hey, publishing in NYC is a tough world to break into, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. No shade.

Naturally, as a newly-minted 26-year-old, Liza has to fit in with her younger colleagues, navigate dating younger men in the city as a new divorcé, moonlight as a millennial, and keep her secret. “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star also created “Younger,” which debuted in 2015 and lasted for seven seasons. The show also stars Debi Mazar (Maggie Amato), Nico Tortorella (Josh), Miriam Shor (Diana Trout), and Hilary Duff (Kelsey Peters). 

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'Broad City'

OK, so “Broad City” may have a very different tone than “Sex and the City,” but if you’re looking for a more chaotic “BFFs in NYC” show, the Illana Glazer (Illana Wexler) and Abbi Jacobson (Abbi Abrams)-led series will do the trick. Though Illana is desperate to not have a career and Abbi isn’t even close to seeing her dream of becoming an illustrator come to fruition, the show certainly chronicles their wild sex lives well. And any NYC friendship that can survive the distance between Astoria, Queens and Gowanus, Brooklyn can survive anything. 

“Broad City,” which was adapted from the stars’ web series, debuted in 2014 and ran for five seasons. Glazer and Jacobson created the show, which was inspired by their own friendship. Other cast members include Hannibal Buress (Lincoln Rice), Arturo Castro (Jame Castro), John Gemberling (Matt Bevers), and Paul W. Downs (Trey Pucker). If you loathe your roommate(s), pay attention to Bevers and you’ll have a new perspective on how bad things could actually be. 

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'The Mindy Project'

When it comes to leading ladies whose love lives are a complete mess, look no further than Mindy Kaling’s show, “The Mindy Project.” Like “Sex and the City,” the series takes place in New York and centers on a career-minded woman who navigates love in the Big Apple. Though “The Mindy Project” focuses less on friendship, Mindy and Carrie would be impressed with each other’s keen fashion senses. Both Mindy and Carrie also narrate their respective shows.

Of course, Mindy is a gynecologist rather than a writer, but she’s obsessed with rom-coms and narrates the show with the same energy. Other characters include Morgan Tookers (Ike Barinholtz), Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks), Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), Tamra Webb (Xosha Roquemore), Beverly (Beth Grant), and Peter Prentice (Adam Pally). At its core, “The Mindy Project” is more of a workplace sitcom than anything, but the Carrie Bradshaw vibes are strong in this 2012 six-season show. 

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Xandra Harbet

Xandra is an entertainment journalist with clips in outlets like Salon, Insider, The Daily Dot, and Regal. In her 6+ years of writing, she's covered red carpets, premieres, and events like New York Comic Con. Xandra has conducted around 200 interviews with celebrities like Henry Cavill, Sylvester Stallone, and Adam Driver. She received her B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Randolph College, where she chilled with the campus ghosts and read Edgar Allan Poe at 3 am.