7 best shows like Gilmore Girls to watch on Netflix, Hulu and more

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls
(Image credit: Alamy)

If you narrate your life’s most basic daily activities with a series of “La la la’s,” you’re not alone — you're one of many fans of Gilmore Girls. The beloved comedy-drama from the early aughts appealed to adults, teens and kids during its seven-season run. The show takes place in the fictional small and picturesque Connecticut town of Stars Hollow — where Lorelai (Lauren Graham) put down roots for herself and her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) after leaving home at 17 with a baby in her arms.

Gilmore Girls streaming details

Gilmore Girls (seasons 1-7) is streaming on Netflix.

Contrasting the loving and communicative relationship that Rory has with her mom, Lorelai’s fraught dynamic with her estranged wealthy parents comes to a head when her mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) and father Richard (Edward Herrmann) insist on Friday night dinners in exchange for paying Rory’s tuition. 

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left before the final season but got her originally intended ending when she revived the show in 2016 with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a four-part mini-series on Netflix.

Since there are only so many times you can rewatch Lorelai and Rory's adventures in a given month, here are some other shows like Gilmore Girls to binge when you take a vacation from Stars Hollow. 

Ginny & Georgia

Ginny and Georgia

(Image credit: Netflix)

There’s just something about small New England towns that make you want to grab a pumpkin spice latte and cozy up with a soft blanket — even when you’re on the run. Ginny & Georgia’s comparison to Gilmore Girls is even acknowledged in the show when Georgia (Brianne Howey) tells her daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry), “We’re like the Gilmore Girls but with bigger boobs.” But this Netflix series puts an an edgier spin on the original small-town show about a co-dependent young mother and her teenage daughter.

Lorelai may make some pretty self-sabotaging and chaotic decisions in Gilmore Girls, but Georgia has her beat with a criminal past and even worse choices regarding the men in her life. Meanwhile, Ginny gives off some Rory vibes as the more level-headed and pragmatic of the mother-daughter duo. 

Watch on Netflix


The cast of Parenthood

(Image credit: NBC)

Everyone needs more Lauren Graham in their lives. Luckily for Gilmore Girls fans, the seven-season show wasn’t Graham’s only foray into family dramas. In 2010, Graham went on to star in Parenthood, which chronicles the lives of the massive Braverman family. Graham’s character Sarah is somehow even more chaotic than Lorelai, but there are definitely some similarities between her two characters and their not-so-stellar decisions. 

Parenthood is more of an anthology series that simultaneously tells the stories of each Braverman siblings’ family. The show also tends to be more hard-hitting than the often comedic and largely fun tone of Gilmore Girls. However, Peter Krause (Adam Braverman) and Graham’s on-screen Parenthood daughter Mae Whitman (Amber Holt) have small cameos in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Other Parenthood stars include Craig T. Nelson (Zeek Braverman), Dax Shepard (Crosby Braverman), Ray Romano (Hank Rizzoli), and Sarah Ramos (Haddie Braverman). 

Rent/buy on Amazon or Apple

The Fosters

The cast of The Fosters

(Image credit: Freeform)

There’s only one thing better than one doting mom: two of them. When it comes to ditching nuclear family norms, The Fosters has nearly every show beat. There’s something reassuring about a title with a double meaning. The 2013 series centers around a foster family with the surname Adams Foster. It’s a little on the nose, but it works. 

Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo) head up their blended family of bio, adopted and foster kids. The Fosters is one of the most inclusive family shows out there, with varied cultural, racial, and LGBTQ+ family members. The series certainly has its fair share of heartwarming moments between each mom and their kids, but those scenes are contrasted with intense subjects like the less-than-ideal aspects of the foster care system, homelessness, and abuse. 

For fans looking for a lighthearted and fun Gilmore Girls-esque vibe, this one probably isn’t for you. However, Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige’s wholesome and hard-hitting series has plenty of plots that Gilmore Girls fans will love.

Watch on Hulu

Once Upon a Time

Shows like Shadow and Bone: Once Upon a Time

(Image credit: ABC)

Sometimes, Stars Hollow seems so quirky and picturesque that it feels like a fairy tale. Sure, there’s no actual magic in the show, but the nostalgia and homey feeling it elicits is basically the same thing. But what would happen if Stars Hollow did have magic? Once Upon a Time basically gives us that answer. 

Instead of Connecticut, the show takes place in a fictional Maine town called Storybrooke. Unbeknownst to the townsfolk, they’re actually fairy tale characters cursed to live in the mortal realm with no memory of their real lives. But if Anastasia has taught us anything, it’s that amnesia only lasts so long. 

Emma (Jennifer Morrison) heads to Storybrooke after Henry, the child she gave up for adoption as a teen, seeks her help. The minute she arrives in Storybrooke, everything changes. Gilmore Girls would have been a much different show had Lorelai opted to put Rory up for adoption when she became a teen mom.

And hey, the actor who played Henry is actually named Jared Gilmore, so the glass shoe fits. The show, created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, features quite a robust cast. The 2011 series’ roster includes names like Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills), David Nolan (Prince Charming), and Colin O’Donoghue (Hook).

Watch on Disney Plus

The O.C. 

Mischa Barton and Benjamin McKenzie in The OC

(Image credit: Maximum Film / Alamy Stock Photo)

Orange County may be a far cry from the ever-humble Stars Hollow, but Lorelai Gilmore is torn between two worlds: her quaint small town and the lavish and largely superficial lifestyle she grew up in. Her mother Emily Gilmore and her DAR darlings would fit right in with the equally pretentious Newpsies in The O.C. 

Fans of Gilmore Girls’ Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia) will no doubt swoon over The O.C.’s bad boy with a heart of gold, Ryan Atwood, whose tumultuous family life has landed him in juvie. Enter the Cohens, who take Ryan in as their own, quickly becoming the loving parents he never had. The show is chock-full of intense romantic storylines, Newport teens (and adults) that would give Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry) a run for his money, and the charming family bonds that make Gilmore Girls such a staple. 

Of course, the 2003 series also features a familiar face. Gilmore Girls alum Adam Brody played the Cohen’s son Seth — who’s just as nerdy and music-obsessed as his Gilmore Girls character Dave Rigowski. Sure, The O.C. is a bit more intense and teen-centric than Gilmore Girls, but Josh Schwartz’s first show overlapped with the last four seasons of Gilmore Girls time and largely reached the same target demo. 

Watch on Hulu

Never Have I Ever

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, Richa Moorjani as Kamala and Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini wear saris in Never Have I Ever

(Image credit: Netflix)

Lorelai Gilmore and Never Have I Ever mom Nalini Vishwakumar (Poorna Jagannathan) would certainly agree on one thing: Raising a teenager as a single mom is hard. Despite Gilmore Girls’ status as a drama and Never Have I Ever’s sitcom genre, there’s plenty of overlap between the two shows. Of course, the core of both centers around a mother-daughter relationship. While Lorelai and Rory have an ever-coveted best-friend dynamic, Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and Nalini constantly butt heads while they grieve over the loss of Devi’s dad. 

In some ways, the Vishwakumar women communicate a lot like Emily and Lorelai — except their trauma is fresher, which allows them to work through their issues before 20 years pass. Like Rory, Devi has a handful of paramours to choose from, with each one bringing their own brand of challenges along for the ride. But the best thing about Mindy Kaling’s 2020 show is that therapy and body positivity are at the forefront, while Gilmore Girls was largely lacking in that department. 

Watch on Netflix

Switched at Birth

Constance Marie, Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano and Lea Thompson in Switched at Birth

(Image credit: ABC Family)

So, what exactly happens when you suddenly have two moms that can’t get along? Like Gilmore Girls, Switched at Birth is a mishmash of privileged lifestyles and a more grind-until-you-make-it way of life. Instead of having to contend with one teenage girl, the Kennishes and the Vasquezes discover that their daughters were switched at birth. 

Given that Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc) are nearly 16 when this revelation unfolds, the two families opt for a blended approach. Naturally, single mom Regina Vasquez (Constance Marie) and the privileged John (D.W. Moffett) and Kathryn Kennish (Lea Thompson) butt heads over their respective parenting approaches. 

If you miss Friday night dinners at the Gilmore mansion, this is probably the show for you. Gilmore Girls fans may recognize April Nardini actress Vanessa Marano in Switched at Birth. But don’t worry: Bay isn’t nearly as annoying as many fans’ least favorite character April. Switched at Birth also incorporates a significant amount of sign language into the series, as Daphne is deaf. Even better, the deaf roles are portrayed by deaf or hard-of-hearing actors. 

Watch on Hulu

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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.