5 best shows like 'Palm Royale' to watch now

Kristen Wiig in Palm Royale
(Image credit: Apple)

“Palm Royale” has wrapped up its story of Maxine (Kristen Wiig), an ambitious woman desperate to use her questionable connections to ingratiate herself into Palm Beach high society. Set in the turbulent year of 1969, the counterculture and fight for women's rights are embodied by Laura Dern's Linda, Maxine’s new friend. Maxine is clocked as a social climber, and despite her cheery disposition, is disliked by reigning high society matron Evelyn (Allison Janney), Linda's despised stepmother. 

Where to stream 'Palm Royale'

"Palm Royale" is streaming on Apple TV Plus

Evelyn’s influence has grown since frenemy Norma (Carol Burnett) fell into a coma. Norma is also the rich aunt of Maxine’s husband, and always hated her. Maxine takes her silence as permission and co-opts Norma’s couture, jewels, and good credit to maintain appearances. 

The production design and costumes nicely accentuate the time period setting. The vibrant, Floridian colors of aqua, pink, and tangerine decorate each scene in contrast with the darker elements of this soapy dramedy. Every character has secrets, which Norma lords over them. Maxine's naturally earnest demeanor usually leaves her several steps behind the other women whose approval she craves. Here are more shows like "Palm Royale" to check out if you like camp and quirky schemers. 


A self-involved, unemployed comedy writer, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), is paired up with aging comic Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), by their exhausted mutual agent. Formally the biggest female stand-up on the planet, Deborah is now in danger of losing her Las Vegas residency if she doesn’t freshen up her act. 

Neither of them wants to be stuck with the other and both seem to get some pleasure from making each other miserable. However, the more time they spend together, the more their relationship evolves, and they realize they might be creative soulmates. 

In many ways, Deborah has the career Ava wants because she’s made it and has garnered the industry’s respect, and she’s still incredibly talented after several decades in the spotlight. Similarly, Maxine idolizes the lives of the Palm Beach socialites, especially Evelyn and Norma who’ve clawed their way to the top. Maxine can’t imagine they have any problems, although she eventually gets a rude awakening when she realizes their dark secrets. 

Watch on Max 

'On Becoming a God in Central Florida'

It’s not set in the same time, but "On Becoming" is set in the same place — Florida!!! And, the show perfectly reproduces the muted, early ‘90s setting. Krystal Stubbs (Kirsten Dunst) is a new mom left on the brink of ruin when her bozo husband dies, right after tying all their money up in a marketing scheme. Determined her child won’t also grow up in poverty, Krystal becomes queen of the pyramid by selling a bunch of low quality goods. Like Maxine, she’s not giving up on her higher-status dream.

Singer Beth Ditto appears in a supporting role and gives major, next-gen Edie McClurg energy. If this show was made 30 years ago, this would have been her part. Oscar winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph is also a scene stealer. The show was funny and originally set to return. However, the pandemic got its renewal canceled, keeping it at "one-season wonder" status

Buy on Amazon or Apple

'Funny Woman'

This series introduces some British humor to the list. It stars Gemma Arterton as beauty queen Barbara, from 1960s Blackpool, who abandons her life to travel to London and make it in comedy. She sees herself as the next Lucille Ball, but casting agents disagree. Barbara perseveres, becoming the star of an edgy sitcom and beloved by audiences. 

Like Maxine, Barbara is determined to change her life through sheer will and not taking no for an answer. Maxine wasn’t above sneaking into a country club or orchestrating a car wreck with a lady who lunches to force an introduction, just like Barbara wasn’t above lying that she had an appointment to audition because they both knew the underhandedness would help them reach their larger goals. 

It’s set in the same decade as “Palm Royale,” and has good production values. It also touches on women’s liberation. Barbara and her friends’ career ambitions would probably thrill Linda, who thinks Maxine should want more than being a housewife. 

Watch on PBS and Sky Max

'Ugly Betty'

Both "Palm Royale" and "Ugly Betty" feature a colorful, soap opera-esque world with a campy sensibility and a female protagonist trying to fit in. Aspiring writer Betty (America Ferrara) lands an assistant job at a cutthroat fashion magazine because it’s believed she won’t tempt her vain, nepo baby boss. Despite this humiliation, Betty works hard and proves herself while also combating corporate sabotage and dealing with a murder mystery involving the mag’s last editor-in-chief. Maxine gets dragged into a lot of shocking mysteries too, including a shooting that involves many prominent characters.

Vanessa Williams plays Betty’s other superior, the one who should have been promoted. While she's initially disdainful of Betty's presence, mutual respect grows. This is similar to Maxine’s relationship with Norma, who begins to rely on her niece-in-law. Also, Betty’s relationship with rival assistant Mark (Michael Urie), mirrors Maxine’s clashes with Norma’s live-in manservant, Robert (Ricky Martin).

Watch on Hulu and Netflix

'Mad Men'

“Mad Men,” while a drama, can be deeply funny at times. The vibe may be slightly different, but there are similarities because of the time period, design aesthetic and story elements. Like Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Maxine is ashamed of her trashy past and reinvents herself. She frequently tells a misleading version of her life so she can pass with a better class of people. 

Meanwhile, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) begins the series in the traditional role of a secretary looking for a husband and transforms into a thriving career woman. Often the only woman in the office meeting, she brings a “fish out of water” element, much like Maxine when she tries to fit in with old money. Peggy also embraces a lifestyle Linda would approve of, by rejecting marriage and children in favor of a fulfilling profession. 

Watch on AMC Plus

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Freelance writer

Jenna is a freelance writer who covers TV, film, and all things pop culture. Her work has appeared on Teen Vogue, The Mary Sue, and Women & Hollywood, among other outlets. In her free time, she alternates between watching romcoms, romantic period dramas, and true crime, and is making her way through the list of movies on the National Film Registry.