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5 Shows like Parenthood: Dysfunctional Families

Families, who would have them? If you thought your family was dysfunctional then meet the Bravermans and you will feel a whole lot better. If anything can go wrong for this family it will. If you are love family drama, take a look at other TV series like Parenthood including a cross over show, ‘Friday Night Lights’ and teen favourite, ‘The Gilmore Girls’.

You Can’t Choose Your Family

‘Parenthood’ is a comedy-drama following a large and imperfect family as they tackle the challenges of raising kids and starting over after setbacks.

The show is based on the 80’s film of the same name and, while there is no Steve Martin, the show is packed full of great comedy moments. A great ensemble cast brings the Bravermans clan to life, with plenty of laughter and tears provided in each episode. Here are my top recommendations for TV shows like ‘Parenthood’.

‘Friday Night Lights’ (Imagine Television, 2006-)

‘Friday Night Lights’ follows the ups and down of a bunch of (American) football players in a small Texan town. You can follow the Dillon High School Panthers as they train hard to win every Friday night, something that the town loves more than anything.

As well as training hard, the team plays hard and they find themselves in some tricky situations. The show is a mix of sporting drama and teen angst, that will appeal to the youngster in you.

Similarity Match: 95%
‘Friday Night Lights’ is ‘Parenthood’s’ crossover show, with some characters popping up in both shows and several overlapping storylines. The show is quite similar and would appeal to younger ‘Parenthood’ fans.

‘Brothers & Sisters’ (ABC, 2006-2011)

‘Brothers & Sisters’ is a show about, you guessed it, the drama surrounding a family’s adult siblings. Mother Nora heads up the family and does her best to keep her dysfunctional brood at peace, sometimes with little success.

The loss of family patriarch William has a profound effect on the lives of all family members as they struggle to deal with his death alongside their own personal dramas.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘Brothers & Sisters’ is a grown-up version of ‘Parenthood’ that focuses on some pretty heavy topics without the humorous twist as in ‘Parenthood’.

‘Gilmore Girls’ (Dorothy Parker Drank Here, 2002-2007)

Another series like Parenthood is ‘Gilmore Girls’. The show follows the ups and downs of a mother and daughter relationship, in a small Connecticut town. Single parent Lorelai Gilmore works hard for her daughter, Rory, and the two enjoy a close relationship, in which they tell each other almost everything.

The other characters we meet in the series are an eclectic bunch and provide us with plenty of romance, drama and tears.

Similarity Match: 80%
If you like ‘Parenthood’ for the fly on the wall view of the ups and down of family life, you will enjoy exploring the ‘Gilmore Girls’ mother/daughter relationship and its lighthearted storylines.

‘Modern Family’ (ABC, 2005-)

Jay Pritchett sits at the head of a large and unconventional family, including his second wife Gloria and his grown daughter Claire, who has a lot on her brood of kids. ‘Modern Family’ tells the story of a close-knit family that experience the usual high and lows that every family face only with ad added twist of crazy.

All of the family members have the best intentions towards one and other, but things don’t always turn out as they thought they would.

Similarity Match: 75%
Both shows take a new look on traditional family life, with both families experiencing modern day challenges. There are a lot more laughs in ‘Modern Family’ if the comedy aspect of ‘Parenthood’ is appealing to you.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (BBC, 1999-)

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is a drama centred on the personal and professional lives of a group of surgical interns and their superiors. Meredith Grey is the central character in this high flying medical drama, who we see sharing the most intimate of personal battles as well as her workplace dramas.

There is not a whole lot of medical action in the show despite it being set in a hospital, but there is plenty of blood spilled between various characters as relationships become very complicated.

Similarity Match: 70%
You may wonder why I have recommended a hospital drama, but, in reality, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is more about the relationships and family ups and downs of the group of doctors and nurses, just like the older characters in ‘Parenthood’.


For Your next Drama

I hope you enjoy these recommendations of shows similar to Parenthood.

Is there another TV show that you’d like to recommend to Parenthood?

I’d love to read about how I can indulge in my next comedy drama fix, in the comments below.

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