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7 Engrossing Shows like Desperate Housewives Everyone Should Watch

Updated on December 14, 2019
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Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".

What Shows Are Like Desperate Housewives?

Desperate Housewives claims to be the no. 1 show in America and the ratings seem to agree. Starting off with the unexpected suicide of Mary Alice, the series depicts the lives of fellow housewives through her lens.

On the outside, everybody is happy and clean as a whistle, but if you take a closer look, these assumptions are disproved in an instant. All of them appear to have a dark secret, which the viewers find out with each episode. Desperate Housewives primarily follows the lives of four women, interwoven with those of other families residing in the town.

These women only come together when there’s something exciting to talk about. In this case, a fellow neighbor’s death serves as the focal point, uniting them under one roof. Maybe there’s nothing fishy regarding the suicide and it’s all in their heads. Maybe they’re expecting something exciting or thrilling as a distraction from their own boring lives. But what if there’s something more going on? Amidst all this chaos and uncertainty, their sisterhood is the only thing keeping them sane.

Unfortunately, this intriguing show ended its run back in 2012. For those of you who have churned through the whole thing, here are some shows similar to Desperate Housewives that will keep you occupied.

Shows Like Desperate Houswives

  1. The O.C.

  2. Grey's Anatomy

  3. Pretty Little Liars

  4. Charmed (2008)

  5. Lipstick Jungle

  6. Ugly Betty

  7. Mad Men

1. The O.C.

The world is full of children who are abused and mistreated every day, with no sign of help. As they grow up, they internalize this cruel behavior and become cold-hearted themselves. This leads to a cycle of hate and violence as every generation passes their toxic traits onto the next. Love is the only way to break this cycle. People don’t change in a day; it requires constant hard work and patience to become better. The show explores all these ideas and much more.

The plot of O.C. revolves around the Cohen family, who have recently adopted Ryan, a troubled individual. They believe he’s just a confused kid who needs a little bit of attention to save himself from a terrible future. The sudden shift in lifestyle leaves Ryan puzzled during the initial period. However, as the episodes go by, he learns to appreciate his new life with the help of his foster parents and brother.

This Fox production ended in 2007 after releasing 4 seasons, during which a troubled boy grows up to become an understanding teenager. Don’t miss out on The O.C., because it teaches you to look beyond the superficial unpleasantness and connect with a person through empathy.

2. Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is one of the best hospital-themed shows available on TV. With a staggering 15 seasons aired already, there are no signs of the show going off prime time television anytime soon. The characters mature with every season as they have life-changing experiences, both in and out of work.

Although the title suggests that Meredith Grey is the protagonist, it gives equal screen time and importance to all of its characters. The doctors come from different socio-economic backgrounds and varying moral standpoints, but they have to work together by putting aside their differences. All the interns at the beginning of the show eventually have assistants of their own, showing how life comes full circle. Since it spans so many seasons, the complicated, yet realistic storytelling isn’t rushed.

Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital is home to the most interesting doctors. We learn about each one of them with every new episode. They fall in and out of love just like the rest of us, but their working environment is a little more hazardous. They have to face immense pressure since each case could turn into a life or death situation.

While there’s nothing more satisfying than saving someone’s life, it’s equally mortifying to deal with the loss of it. Grey’s Anatomy takes you on heart-pounding adventures as it deals with matters of life, death, and everything in between.

If you're looking for some shows like Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy should be your best bet.

3. Pretty Little Liars

Based on a series of eponymous novels by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars revolves around five girls who lost a member of their clique a year ago. A year later, everything seems to be back to normal, but things quickly turn morbid when Alison’s body is found, turning the already bad situation into something much worse.

Who is the killer? Was it one of her friends who thought she knew too much, or is it someone else who’s trying to frame them? The group had already moved on with their lives, but now a mysterious individual called “A” has made their lives hell. This intruder somehow knows all their secrets. This raises the question of whether this puzzling figure is the real killer or is it someone else altogether? The answers are told over seven seasons.

After a point, everyone is a suspect, so the girls have to work together if they want to prove their innocence. Pretty Little Liars takes you down a rabbit hole of lies that doesn’t seem to end. As the series progresses, you are left with more questions instead of answers, but the payoff is worth it.

4. Charmed

Although CW made a reboot in 2018 with the same name, only 22 episodes were aired. The original, on the other hand, tells the story through eight wonderful seasons.

What would you do if you had superhuman abilities? Most of us would like to think we will use them to help others, but in reality, we would probably abuse that power for personal gain.

The story revolves around three sisters who discover their wizardly roots, giving them magical powers. Someone once said, “Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best”, and there are no truer words. The sisters are not perfect themselves as they frequently mention, but that doesn’t stop them from using their powers to do good. In all honesty, if there really were people with superpowers, I would hope it was them.

But the philosophical implications aside, this drama series also has tons of humorous moments. So start your magical adventure by watching Charmed, and cheer for TV’s favorite witches. If you’re looking for some shows like Desperate Housewives, Charmed is a good place to start.

5. Lipstick Jungle

Most people can never be truly satisfied. If we have a perfect family, we yearn for a better career. And if we’re at the top of our profession, we can’t seem to have or maintain strong relationships. Only a few can balance their personal and professional life. Although, it’s easier if people have trustworthy friends to support them through life, which is what the show is about.

Three women who are doing very well in their respective fields become close friends and often come together to share their problems. Success comes with sacrifices, and these ladies know it as they had to say goodbye to personal time in order to excel professionally. It seems the only stable relationship they have is with each other, but they’re trying to change that. Contrary to popular belief, rich and happy are not always synonymous and this American comedy series hilariously points it out.

Watch this underrated NBC show right away if you’re looking for some light-hearted comedy combined with some drama. Unfortunately, Lipstick Jungle was canceled just after two seasons because of plummeting ratings.

6. Ugly Betty

I don’t think any show has directly called out one of its characters as ‘ugly’. Ugly Betty, however, doesn’t shy away from courting controversy.

Betty Suarez is an aspiring writer working for Daniel. She was hired by Daniel’s father in the hopes of putting a stop to his son’s womanizing ways, especially at the workplace. Everybody ridicules Betty, primarily due to her appearance, but she doesn’t seem to care, or at least, she doesn’t let it affect her.

This ABC production ended after 4 seasons and amassed quite a following along the way. America Ferrera does a brilliant job of portraying Betty in this comedy series, bringing vivacity and depth to her role.

Modern society is often superficial, and most people judge others by the way they look. Skin and hair will rot one day, but the ideas in your head have the ability to last many lifetimes. There’s much more to a person than the looks. This is the primary message of Ugly Betty - something it conveys endearingly.

6. Mad Men

Don Draper, the New York ad executive, can sell almost anything. He knows every trick in the book, and executes them perfectly to make people buy things they didn’t even realize they wanted. The world of advertisement is a pressure cooker with companies looking to outdo one another, but there’s no telling when it’ll explode. The world of consumerism and the dark side of rampant advertising is the focal point of this extremely popular show.

Businesses involve selling commodities, but advertisements sell the idea of a product. So, if things go wrong in the advertising department, corporations can fall. With so much riding on them, the characters portrayed in the show may seem a bit twisted and ruthless. However, it’s well worth it to invest some time in them. As the show progresses, we learn more about every individual, including their personal lives, which is just as messy and uncertain as their professional ones.

Watch Mad Men right away to enter the messy world of advertising.

Did I miss out on any other shows like Desperate Housewives? Let me know in the comments section.

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