7 best shows like Breaking Bad to watch on Netflix, Max, Hulu and more

(L, R) Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad
(Image credit: AMC / Sony Pictures Television / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Breaking Bad earned a reputation for being one of the best TV dramas of the past decades. And in the 10 years since the show wrapped up, we've only recently seen the last of Jesse and Mr. White. 

But if you find yourself still yearning for their chaotic misadventures in Albuquerque, there are plenty of fantastic shows that can help fill that Breaking Bad-shaped void. 

Breaking Bad (one of the best shows on Netflix) won 16 Emmys over its five-season run, receiving acclaim for its three-dimensional characters and compelling story arcs. Each of these shows strikes that delicate balance of dark humor and riveting drama that made Breaking Bad such a hit.

Read on for our picks for the best shows like Breaking Bad you can watch during your next binge session. 

Better Call Saul

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul season 6

(Image credit: AMC)

Okay, this is an obvious choice, but if you enjoyed Breaking Bad then you've really got to watch its spin-off Better Call Saul — which is finally on Netflix in its entirety. Through its six seasons, BCS follows sly attorney Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) as the titular Saul Goodman, in the years leading up to and following his fateful run-in with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. 

Better Caul Saul is technically a prequel to Breaking Bad, but is a truly great show in its own right. And while knowledge from Breaking Bad enhances the ride here and there, it's far from necessary. 

Jimmy's journey from reformed con artist to earnest defense attorney to every criminal in Albuquerque's go-to legal representation is one of the best-told stories on TV. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way as he struggles to support his troubled genius brother (Michael McKean) and navigates a tumultuous relationship with romantic interest Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).

Watch on Netflix

Mad Men

(L to R) Jon hamm, john slattery and vincent kartheiser in Mad Men season 7

(Image credit: Michael Yarish/AMC)

Another obvious choice, but with good reason: Mad Men didn't win 16 Emmys for nothing. This period drama is a fascinating look at the drama and politics of the 1960s advertising industry, centering on the cigarette-smoking, martini-drinking and adulterous world of New York City's ad men.

At the center of it all is the charismatic and womanizing advertising tycoon Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Much like Walter White, Draper is not a great guy, but you still might root for him despite it.

Mad Men's seven seasons follow the ups and downs of his career and personal life, as well as the people in his orbit. Each character is complex in their own unique way, and it's truly a treat watching them grow throughout the twists and turns of the main story. 

Watch it on Amazon Freevee


Bill Hader in Barry season 3

(Image credit: HBO)

This dark comedy stars Bill Hader as the titular Barry, a hitman-turned-actor after he becomes disillusioned by the murder industrial complex. On a job, Barry realizes his true passion lies in Hollywood thanks to the odd and manipulating teaching style of his new mentor Gene Couisneau (Henry Winkler). As he tries to put his troubled past behind him, his criminal associates keep finding ways to drag him back to the dark side. 

Trying to live two lives puts Barry in increasingly tricky situations he has to find ways to navigate out of. In many aspects, his character arc mirrors that of Walter White, only in reverse: While Barry is a criminal struggling to transition to a normal life, Walter is attempting the opposite. Both shows are as tense as they come.

Watch on Max


Chris Rock (seated) surrounded by other men in Fargo

(Image credit: FX)

This spin-off of the cult classic Coen brothers film Fargo encompasses the core themes of the movie in an anthology format. It focuses on the trials and tribulations of seemingly ordinary people living in small towns dotted around the Midwest who turn to a life of crime. 

Each season (four in total, with a fifth set for 2023) tells an entirely different story with entirely different characters, filled with the kind of darkly comedic digressions and asides that may or may not mean something that have become synonymous with the Coen brothers brand. (The show is largely the brainchild of Noah Hawley, with the Coen brothers cited as executive producers.) 

Just as we saw in Breaking Bad, Fargo showcases how anyone can become a criminal with a few poor decisions, as well as how far they're willing to go to avoid being put behind bars when things inevitably spiral out of control. 

Watch it on Hulu


Pedro Pascal, as Javier Peña, points to an evidence board in Narcos

(Image credit: Netflix)

Narcos is probably the show most frequently suggested to people that enjoyed Breaking Bad. This drug cartel drama is inspired by the criminal exploits of real-life drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura). Set in Columbia during the 1980s, it charts Escobar's rise and battle for dominance of the international cocaine trade. Naturally, a team of DEA agents is working tirelessly behind the scenes to put an end to the billionaire's reign, forcing Escobar to fight a war on two fronts. 

The Scorsese-influenced true crime drama is one of Netflix's most acclaimed hits, and its three seasons are definitely worth a watch if you enjoyed the plot twists and nuanced characters of Breaking Bad. Narcos was even popular enough to spawn a spinoff, Narcos: Mexico.

Watch it on Netflix


Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde stands alongside his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) in Ozark season 4

(Image credit: Steve Dietl/Netflix)

Another Netflix home run, Ozark is similar to Breaking Bad in many ways. It follows a seemingly normal family after the head of household, financial adviser Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), gets roped into the criminal underworld. When a money-laundering scheme for a drug cartel goes South, Marty strikes a deal with the kingpin to launder $500 million in five years to make amends. But that means uprooting his family from the suburbs of Chicago to Missouri's remote Ozarks region to go after an even bigger score. 

Over the course of the show's four seasons, Marty's wife and children get pulled into his criminal exploits. The family is tested and pushed to the brink as his scheme begins to unravel. Think of it as Breaking Bad: The Family Edition. 

Watch it on Netflix

Boardwalk Empire

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire

(Image credit: HBO / AJ Pics / Alamy Stock Photo)

Boardwalk Empire takes a step back in time from the world of drugs, to the criminal empire of decades past. It's set in America during the Prohibition era, and follows the cohort of criminals, political figures and cops that helped move the flow of illegal alcohol sales underground. 

Anchoring it all is the story of corrupt city treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who leads a double life as a mob boss. Similar to Walt, Nucky uncovers new enemies around every corner gunning for him, and those threats combined with the struggles of balancing his double life serve as an endless source of tension throughout the show.  

Watch it on Max

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.