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Finished Normal People? Here’s what to watch next

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Helen Bownass
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Normal People: Marianne and Connell in Italy.

If you’ve completed Normal People and are bereft about it we’ve got you covered with a guide to the TV shows like it to watch now.  

Since launching just over two weeks ago Normal People has become a record breaker with over 21.8 million programme requests for the BBC Three show - and a large proportion of those aged 16-34.

And those many, many millions have excellent taste. Normal People is one of the most beguiling shows you’ll ever watch. The drama about the relationship between Connell and Marianne as they move from school in Sligo to college in Dublin is truly transportative. It shows the intensity of first love in a way rarely depicted, there’s proper sex and intimacy, painfully honest depictions of mental health struggles and the chemistry between the two leads is off the charts.

But now what? Now you’ve finished the show we know you need something to plug the gap. We’ve come up with a list of shows to tuck into that will fulfill some of those feelings or tackle some of those same themes.

And if all else fails, you can always just watch the whole thing on iPlayer again, right? 

Love: Netflix

Love

Set in Los Angeles this three series comedy by Judd Apatow is about love, sure, but it’s not just love – is it ever? It follows the relationship between Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) an ostensibly mis-matched duo. He’s a nerdy nice guy (who’s not always that nice) who at the start of series one has just been dumped, she’s a cool, free-spirited, recovering addict. They’re both flawed, they both have baggage and their doubts about themselves and each other thread through the relationship as they come apart and together on repeat.  

Watch Love on Netflix 

Never Have I Ever: Netflix

Never Have I Ever

It’s currently one of Netflix’s most watched shows and has a 96% fresh rate on Rotten Tomatoes and for good reason. Never Have I Ever is a fresh, tender and funny coming of age story created by Mindy Kaling, about Devi (brilliant newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) a first-generation Indian high-school student dealing, badly, with grief after the recent death of her father at a school concert. It’s about fitting in, about alienation, about wanting to be loved – and wanting a “stone cold hottie to rock me all night long.”

Watch Never Have I Ever on Netflix 

The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word

Dramas showing the queer experience of love and sex are still not frequent enough, but The L Word did not hold back. The ground-breaking show about the lives and loves of a group of lesbian and bisexual women in Los Angeles ran from 2004 to 2009, and got a reboot in 2019. It was, and still is, hailed for showing successful lesbian women navigating a heteronormative world – plus there was a lot of great sex. It’s so important we widen the lens of whose love stories get told on telly and the L Word is a great place to start.

Watch The L Word on iTunes and the L Word: Generation Q on Now TV

Easy: Netflix

Easy

There’s a post-coital moment in Easy where the wife is laid on her stomach, horizontal on her bed, wearing her cardy and a naked bottom. Her husband has gone to the toilet. Its striking as it’s so reflective of real life sex – with none of the artfully placed sheets, and lovely underwear so often seen on screen. It’s just one story in this connected anothology that authentically explores love and sex in all its forms with a cast that includes Orlando Bloom, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Emily Ratajkowski.

Watch Easy on Netflix now.

The End of the F*****g World: Channel 4

The End of the F*****g World

A pitch black coming of age story told in tightly wound episodes about wannabe psychopath, James (Alex Lawther) who goes on the run with Alyssa (Jessica Barden) a teenager who’s perpetually annoyed with life and beautifully complex. The premise might not sound like the start of a great love story, but the pair form a beautiful but twisted connection, very True Romance. Like Normal People it’s visually gorgeous too – but with a specific highly stylised retro/modern feel than artsy and windswept.

Watch The End of the F*****g World on All 4

This Is Us

This is Us

On the surface this family drama is saccharine sweet and made to pluck at your heart strings – crying is guaranteed– but it also has a true humanity that shouldn’t be underestimated as it follows the lives of three siblings and their parents in the present day and through flashbacks. Particularly of note is how the award-winning US drama sensitively explores male mental health in protagonist Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and his ongoing battle with his anxiety.

Watch This is Us on Amazon Prime

Dawson's Creek: Amazon Prime

Dawson’s Creek

We need to talk about Dawson’s Creek…. While Dawson’s was super earnest in a way that Normal People manages not to be and lacks the adaptation of the Sally Rooney novel’s grit, there is no denying it was laden with emotion. The characters – especially the boys - felt their feelings while the 128 episodes explored similar tropes of first time sex, affairs with teachers, young love and series upon series worth of will they/won’t they end up together?

Watch Dawson’s Creek on Amazon Prime 

Images: Netflix, Getty, Channel 4, BBC