8 shows and movies to watch after ‘Euphoria’

Boyce Rucker, Staff Writer

Going through “Euphoria” withdrawal? Not to worry, there are plenty of other options to hold us over until the show returns. Whether we watch “Euphoria” for its adolescent themes, striking visuals, powerful performances or distinctive characters, there are other shows and movies with more of the same. These shows and films cement themselves as compelling watches even without the similarities. This list contains works that are comparable to “Euphoria” in terms of themes, style, direction and shared cast members. Who knows? This list might hold your next TV addiction.

Asa Butterfield and Ncuti Gatwa in ‘Sex Education’ (2019). (Sam Taylor/IMDB)

8. Sex Education

Where to watch: Netflix

Starting off is Netflix’s hysterical British comedy-drama “Sex Education,” with three seasons currently released. As the title suggests, the series dives into the awkwardness of sexual intimacy in high school and how to face the insecurities it brings on. Asa Butterfield (“Ender’s Game”) stars as Otis Milburn, a high school student whose sexual knowledge stems from his single sex therapist mother (Gillian Anderson, “The X-Files”), but he has no experience with intercourse himself. After recognizing the usefulness for his advice, his classmate Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey, “Death on the Nile”) suggests the two set up an underground sex therapy clinic for students. 

While the series can be raunchy and gratuitous, it focuses on underlying themes of self-acceptance and being comfortable with one’s own quirks. The show stands out for its eccentric characters, tasteful theme presentation and whimsical humor. If “Big Mouth” and “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” were a couple, “Sex Education” would be their child. If you like “Euphoria” for its funnier moments amid the drama, this is a great show to start.      

7. Mr. Robot

Where to watch: USA, Amazon Prime Video

“Mr. Robot” is one of the most exhilarating and mind-stimulating shows to air on basic cable in the past decade. The show’s premise seems dystopian and tech-heavy, but it is set in 2015. Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) turns in an Emmy-winning performance as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer who moonlights as a vigilante hacker. Anarchist Mr. Robot (Christian Slater, “Heathers”) recruits Elliot into a hacktivist group known as “fsociety,” which aims to take down the corrupt financial company E-Corp and cancel all consumer debt.

The four-season series is a dark and heavy watch at times as it delves into themes such as mental illness, drug abuse, capitalism and government corruption. Just as Rue (Zendaya) is the tragic anti-hero of “Euphoria,” Elliot is in the same camp as an unreliable narrator throughout the series. Malek gains sympathy as the protagonist to the point where we cannot help but cry for him in his hardest moments and cheer for him at his best. Show creator Sam Esmail demonstrates an auteurship with strong visuals and seamless storytelling that makes the show an incredible experience, similar to Sam Levinson’s vision for “Euphoria.”  

6. Trainspotting

Where to watch: Showtime

British director Danny Boyle’s (“Slumdog Millionaire”) dark comedy film about a group of heroin addict friends in Edinburgh, Scotland is a gritty but enlightening watch. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor, “Star Wars” prequel trilogy) is a 26-year-old heroin addict whose life is on the downward path as he still lives with his parents, does heroin with friends and dates a 14-year-old. The film follows Mark as he tries to kick his heroin addiction to escape the company of his friends and leave Edinburgh. The film blends absurdity with sober realism to create a cautionary tale about the terror of drug use. “Trainspotting” is not for the faint of heart, but it drives home the horrifying nature of drug addiction.  

Jordan Kristine Seamón and Jack Dylan Grazer in ‘We Are Who We Are’ (2020). (Sean Conway/IMDB)

5. We Are Who We Are

Where to watch: HBO Max

Luca Guadagnino’s (“Call Me By Your Name”) eight-episode miniseries explores identity and coming-of-age in a piercing drama. Set in 2016, the series focuses on two American teenagers living on a U.S. military base in Chioggia, Italy. The pair form an ardent friendship as they work to make sense of their lives and insecurities. 

Guadagnino characterizes the main characters, Fraser Wilson (Jack Dylan Grazer, “Shazam!”) and Caitlin Poythress (Jordan Kristine Seamón), with the same care and vulnerability as he does the main characters in “Call Me By Your Name.” Together, the two experience the joy of youth, first love and the difficulties of being a teenager. For those who watch “Euphoria” for its coming-of-age themes and relationship-building, “We Are Who We Are” is a series that is just as impassioned.

4. Assassination Nation

Where to watch: Hulu

While “Euphoria” is Levinson’s most popular work, his feature films are worth acknowledgement as well. What his films lack in storytelling, particularly depth, he makes up for with a polished directing style. Levinson delivers engaging visuals and gripping social commentary for a film unlike any other. After a hacker leaks sensitive information and secrets about its residents, a small town descends into chaos. Four teenage girls must fend for themselves against the widespread violence.

The satire and ultraviolence of “Assassination Nation” may not be for those who prefer subtlety, but it is an energetic thriller that calls out misogyny in spectacular fashion. The film’s star-studded cast, including Odessa Young, Bella Thorne, Suki Waterhouse and Bill Skarsgård, only adds to the draw. Several “Euphoria” cast members also make an appearance. “Euphoria” season three is a long time from now, but Levinson’s other work should be enough to tide over viewers who enjoy his aesthetic.  

3. The Fallout

Where to watch: HBO Max

“Euphoria” examines the grief or trauma that consumes its characters and displays the long-term effects of these emotional forces. “The Fallout” also delves into trauma as it shows how teenagers heal after surviving a school shooting. Lead performances from Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler drive home the devastation of the violent act as their characters try to recover pieces of their lives. “The Fallout” is a tense and heart-wrenching trauma study that conveys the difficulty teenagers face when dealing with grief under any circumstance. “The Fallout” is not an easy watch, but it is one that calls for urgency with its message.   

Kaya Scodelario in ‘Skins’ (2007) (Jamie Brittain/IMDB)

2. Skins

Where to watch: Hulu

“Skins” is arguably the most similar show to “Euphoria” and equally as controversial. Running from 2007 to 2013, the British teen drama follows three generations who try to better themselves while issues surrounding drugs, mental illness, dysfunctional families, relationship drama, bullying and sexuality dominate their adolescence. 

The series garners controversy for its depictions of self-harm, mental illness, graphic nudity and violence. The show’s bleakness contrasts with “Euphoria’s” sometimes fantastical depictions of substance abuse and addiction. Due to the content both shows share, “Skins” almost functions as a spiritual predecessor to “Euphoria,” though the former’s gritty, urban feel provides unique contrast to the latter’s glamorous and dreamy aesthetic. It’s challenging to replicate the powerful storylines and charm of “Skins,” but “Euphoria” gives it a run for its money. 

Renée Elise Goldsberry and Sterling K. Brown in ‘Waves’ (2019) (Trey Edward Shultz/IMDB)

1. Waves

Where to watch: Showtime

“Waves” is a hard-hitting drama that examines the difficulties that lead to one suburban family’s hardships. A tragic loss shakes the Williams family, resulting in disconnection and a test of the family’s strength to grow past trauma. “Waves” works like a companion piece to “Euphoria” given its focus on teenagers who struggle with acceptance and their resulting downfalls. The film meditates on themes of self-acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. Mesmerizing performances from Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“It Comes At Night”), Sterling K. Brown (“This is Us”), Taylor Russell (“Escape Room”) and Alexa Demie (“Euphoria”) amplify the film’s soul-stirring weight. This is a film that surprises and shocks viewers, leaving them with much to think about.

“Euphoria” is a hypnotic show that is all at once disturbing, funny, sad and enlightening. As we examine troubled characters and dark subject matters, we discover within ourselves a greater appreciation for the light and a stronger resolve to combat ongoing issues. Maybe this is what draws viewers to “Euphoria.” “Euphoria” is far from over, but this list of similar films and shows should give us the fix we need until then.