Best Shows Like Gilmore Girls
Updated: Oct 24
Who didn’t love Gilmore Girls back in high school? It was our favorite Tuesday (or Thursday, depending on the year) evening show. Like Sookie sneaking away with her Toblerones to watch Dark Shadows, our time with this WB favorite was sacred. (And yes, it was later on the CW. Then ABC Family, then ultimately on Netflix.)
If you're a fan of Gilmore Girls, too, you’ve likely spent the last several years watching old episodes on Netflix. If you need a break from the quick wit of Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel and the colorful characters in Stars Hollow, good news: there are plenty of shows like Gilmore Girls out there that you're bound to love. Then there are those that also star Kelly Bishop and Gilmore Girls extra Sutton Foster, like the ballerina-filled Bunheads, which we suggest you avoid.
(Please note that this list does not cover Ginny & Georgia starring Antonia Gentry and Brianne Howey, which got a lot of press for being a TV show like Gilmore Girls but ultimately a) wasn't and b) was incredibly bad.)
Other TV Shows Like Gilmore Girls: Dawson’s Creek
Dawson's Creek is one of the most popular shows that is like Gilmore Girls. It's about a group of friends growing up in a small town during the 1990s. The characters are incredibly relatable and the storylines are engaging, especially any involving Jen Lindley and Pacey Witter, who are by far the best characters on the show.
In fact, many of the storylines in Dawson’s Creek are nearly identical to those in Gilmore Girls, which is due in part to some shared staff writers between the two shows. For instance, both revolve around a bookish brunette from a fictional town in New England. In both cases, she is raised exclusively by a female role model, thanks to a father who isn’t in the picture. Pop culture references are the core of both shows, and you will either really love or truly hate the fast-talking references to books, movies, and music that both TV shows bring to the table.
Sunny Shows Like Gilmore Girls: The O.C.
Love Gilmore Girls and want another option that’s pretty similar but gives major California vibes? Another great show to watch if you're a fan of Gilmore Girls is The O.C. (Though arguably this TV show is more like Dawson’s Creek than it is Gilmore Girls).
This show is set in Orange County, California and follows the lives of a group of rich kids (played by the likes of Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, and Ben McKenzie). It's full of drama and romance, and many fans of GG say they love it.
Bonus: Adam Brody hopped over here after abandoning our beloved Lane Kim and Hep Alien when he “went to college in California.” While we can hardly forgive him for forsaking Lane and leaving her to a life of Zach and his banjo, the show is a decent watch.
Serious Shows Like Gilmore Girls: Parenthood
If you're looking for a show that's similar to Gilmore Girls in terms of tone and feel, then you should check out Parenthood. This show is about a family dealing with the ups and downs of life. It's heartwarming and touching, and you'll be rooting for the characters from the very beginning.
It follows the story of the Braverman family, made up of 4 adult siblings, their parents (Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson), and their children. You’ll love that this show also stars Lauren Graham. Her then-real-life boyfriend Peter Krause plays her brother, but if you can forget that while you’re watching, you may just enjoy it. Also get ready for Ray Romano playing a very bizarre love interest and a fabulous performance from Mae Whitman (but what else is new).
Amazon Prime-y Shows Like Gilmore Girls: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Also from the creative team of Amy Sherman Palladino and her husband Daniel Palldino comes the story of Midge Maisel, a fast-talking New York City comedienne who actually tells zero funny jokes, ever. The highlight of the show are its excellent period costumes, the infallible Tony Shaloub, and Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce.
This is one of the best shows on Amazon Prime, yes, but the series copies Gilmore Girls in every conceivable way and does a worse job. Ultimately, the show’s biggest failing is the fact that Midge Maisel is simply an unlikeable character, her on-off?-off relationship with her ex-husband Joel is not believable, and, once again, her jokes are horrible.
Hot take? Rachel Brosnahan’s performance is still great, but her work in House of Cards was much more impressive.
Other Shows Like Gilmore Girls
There are other shows you might enjoy if you’re a fan of Lorelai and Rory. These include Hart of Dixie (about the aptly named Zoe Hart and starring Rachel Bilson), Jane the Virgin (starring Gina Rodriguez), One Tree Hill, Everwood, Veronica Mars, and Seventh Heaven.
What Kind of a Show is Gilmore Girls?
Have you never seen Gilmore Girls? Then why are you here? But anyway, here’s the DL.
Gilmore Girls is a comedy-drama television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (her husband, Daniel Palladino, was also a creator and worked on some episodes). The show follows the mother-daughter relationship of Lorelai Gilmore and her teenaged daughter Rory. The show is set in the town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and it explores the lives of the characters as they deal with friendship, love, family, and life in general. Unless you’re watching the horrific Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls is a feel-good show that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Stars Hollow is filled with quirky, enjoyable characters, many of whom you probably wouldn’t like if you had to deal with them in real life.
-Taylor Doose, a general a**hole who runs the town even though no one likes him and he wears a toupee sometimes
-Gypsy, the pigtailed mechanic who is pretty much never not sarcastic
-Babette, an effervescent cat addict married to the love child of Jerry Orbach and that cartoon cat you always see who plays the blues
-Miss Patty, a middle-aged sex addict and dance instructor who chain-smokes and dresses like a wizard
-Kirk, a delightfully literal jack-of-all-trades who is somehow a secret billionaire keeping the entire town running through a hundred hourly service jobs
-Luke, the grumpy owner of the aptly named Luke’s Diner, who for some reason is in love with self-centered Lorelai for 20 years of show time despite the fact that she never pays for her food
-Sookie, an accident-prone chef who sometimes is written as being a real idiot and other times not, much to the detriment of her storylines. She’s Lorelai’s best friend but is often used as the foil. (One gold star to the Palladinos here, though; despite this being a breakout role for Melissa McCarthy, Sookie’s size is literally never mentioned on the show and she’s allowed to just be a human. You’ll probably notice this is different from any other show or movie McCarthy has ever been in, in which her size is the only thing talked about. That said, there is plenty of fat phobia and body-shaming in Gilmore Girls, which is unacceptable despite its 2000 premiere date.)
-Mrs. Kim, an overprotective Korean mother so rife with offensive stereotypes we really should hate her but can’t
-Emily Gilmore, the ultimate b***h, a rich and entitled DAR wife who emotionally abuses her daughter for years but who is written in a surprisingly three-dimensional manner. Played by Kelly Bishop to perfection, Emily is easily the best-acted character on the show.
-Richard Gilmore, a middle-aged rich WASP who adores his granddaughter and softens as he ages but is sometimes a huge jerk (like when he sues Jason Stiles)
-Jason Stiles, ultimately the best match for Lorelai because he was witty, rich, and selfish, but we respect the canon of Luke and Lorelai too much to push this
-Christopher, Rory’s dad and Lorelai’s ex (then husband, then ex again), a despicable and gross human being who uses names like “Lor” and “Kiddo” and makes us yell “ew” every time he comes on screen
-Max, Rory’s teacher who Lorelai is briefly engaged to after a strange lack of buildup and with no chemistry whatsoever
-Dean, who is exceptionally tall and has the worst hair of any "teen heartthrob” ever, and also treats his wife like utter trash
-Jess, who was probably your favorite if you watched this as a teen because he’s the “hot one”
-Logan, who is also pretty good-looking despite being an absolute prick, but he’s definitely the best match for seasons 4-7 Rory since she becomes a really horrible person
-Andrew, the owner of the local bookstore who loves pie but hates Liam Neeson
-Liz, Luke’s sister who starts out as a drug addict but then turns out to just be kind of an earthy RenFaire jeweler because the writers couldn’t decide
-TJ, a carpenter (like Jesus!) who recognizes that laps don’t exist and touts the myriad benefits of tights (Air Pants, the Pants that Breathe), all while being busy in escrow
-The Stars Hollow Musical, a character of its own debuting in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix. It is equal parts cloying and superfluous, and Gilmore Girls fans hate this addition to the TV series perhaps more than any other.
Who Might Like Gilmore Girls?
Gilmore Girls is a show for anyone who loves comedy, family drama, or slow-burning romance. If you're looking for a feel-good show to watch with more meat than an NBC sitcom and with brighter colors than anything you’ll see on HBO, then Gilmore Girls is the perfect choice. It's also a great option for anyone who wants to watch a show that's set in a small town.
What Happens in Gilmore Girls?
The show follows the mother-daughter relationship of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Lorelai is a single mother who has raised Rory on her own since she was a baby. Rory is a bright and talented student who attends an exclusive private school. The show follows their lives as they deal with friendship, love, family, and life in general.
Side note: my husband bought me this epic Gilmore Girls cookbook as a gift and not only are the recipes delicious, it's a really fun way to trip down memory lane and remember all the hilarious and touching moments of the show. Yum! You should give it a try if you're a fan of the show!