“Parks and Recreation” remains one of the most popular shows in the U.S., even though it ended in 2015. Over 2 percent of all Netflix streams were “Parks and Rec” episodes last year, making it the third most-watched show on Netflix (behind “The Office” and “Friends”).
With so many streams, Netflix subscribers are definitely watching the saga of Leslie Knope over and over again. Now I love Leslie, Ben, Ron, April, Andy, Ann, Tom and Larry as much as anyone ― I even owned a Ron Swanson doll from Etsy at one point in my life. But just like the characters in the show came to realize, you eventually have to leave Pawnee no matter how much you want to stay there forever.
With that in mind, below I’ve recommended a few like-minded Netflix shows. All of the recommended shows below have qualities reminiscent of “Parks and Rec,” so hopefully at least one of these will become your next go-to watch.
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Premise: A ragtag group of female wrestlers in 1980s Los Angeles try to get a television show off the ground. The male-dominated world creates various unfair obstacles to these dreams of success.
“P&R” Similarity: Leslie Knope’s habit of always finding a way to persevere can also be found with the characters in here.
Stars: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron.
Sum-Up: I ranked this as one of the best Netflix Originals of 2018. The show mixes the loud and colorful moments of the wrestling scenes with quiet, interpersonal dramas. This combination allows the show to have both fun escapism as well as a storyline with nuanced points to make.
Heads-Up: The Netflix algorithm apparently keeps trying to cancel this show. Even though critics praise “GLOW” en masse, it’s clear that the show hasn’t resonated with a large audience. But “Parks and Rec” also struggled in the ratings at first.
Premise: Kids living in the suburbs of New York City experience the joys and horrors of puberty together. Monstrous (but comical) manifestations of their urges hang out with the children as living, breathing characters.
“P&R” Similarity: The show has actors that appeared in “Parks and Recreation,” including Nick Kroll and Jason Mantzoukas.
Stars: Nick Kroll, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate and many more.
Sum-Up: This has some of the dirtiest and most outrageous jokes on television, while also depicting a relatable story of kids just trying to figure out who they are. With all the human-organ-based humor, the show doesn’t forget about the heart.
Heads-Up: “Big Mouth” teeters between appealing to teens and adults (kind of like the earlier days of “South Park”), so you’ll need a stomach for a heaping of sophomoric jokes.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Premise: A woman living in contemporary New York City tries to figure out how to be a person after spending years trapped inside a bunker. With a support team of friends, the protagonist gets into various wacky adventures.
“P&R” Similarity: This has a similar comedic sensibility based around out-there but lovable characters.
Stars: Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski and Ellie Kemper.
Sum-Up: One of Netflix’s first Originals, this show from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock still stands out in the upper echelon of the service’s comedies. Like “Parks and Rec” in the later seasons, all the characters are caricatures, but somehow still caricatures that I always found myself rooting for.
Heads-Up: This just wrapped its fourth and final season. The show had a thin and stretched out narrative by the end, but the jokes always remained clever enough to make this worth watching.
“Master of None”
Premise: A 30-something comic lives a cushy life in contemporary New York City. Amid the riches of his lifestyle, he tries to find love and meaning.
“P&R” Similarity: Aziz Ansari stars in both. Ansari created the show with Alan Yang, who also wrote on “Parks and Recreation.”
Stars: Aziz Ansari, Lena Waithe and Eric Wareheim.
Sum-Up: I named this the best Netflix Original of 2017 ― the last time this show debuted new episodes. The decadence of the characters’ lifestyles make each shot at least visually interesting, but the narrative choices elevated this show to something truly unique. “Master of None” often veers off-the-road from its over-arching plot to tell stories of the underrepresented, inherently making this show unlike anything else.
Heads-Up: The Ansari #MeToo story remains unresolved and looms over the project.
“Friends From College”
Premise: A group of 40-something friends try to stick together despite new dramas and challenges that come with aging. Yet another contemporary New York City setting.
“P&R” Similarity: Both Billy Eichner and Keegan-Michael Key have roles in both shows. “Friends From College” and “Parks and Recreation” have similar fascinations with the art of the pratfall.
Stars: Billy Eichner, Keegan-Michael Key, Annie Parisse, Fred Savage and Cobie Smulders.
Sum-Up: A breezy watch where the simple concept of featuring fun characters having fun together carries each episode. The storyline may not have much substance, but the jokes land and I found it easy to vicariously enjoy the various hangouts.
Heads-Up: The first season is pretty bad, so I’d suggest finding a recap and just starting with Season 2. Unfortunately, Netflix canceled the show pretty much right after the second season debuted earlier this year, so don’t fall for the characters too hard.