Professors, colleges, sorority drama - oh my! These are some of the aspects of one of my favorite genres of TV shows - academic dramas/comedies. While some of us try to watch TV to get away from the stresses of school, I always loved to watch shows that took place in a school or a college, simply for the drama or the comedic hijinks these characters would get up to in their own schools.
That’s why when The Chair released on Netflix, I was eagerly excited to watch it. However, after binging the show so quickly, it left me wanting more and craving another academic drama or comedy to view. If you’re feeling the same way and need a new Netflix TV show or something else, then look no further than these 10 shows that are like The Chair in their own way, with plenty of academic craziness - some of which might even be appearing on the 2021 fall TV schedule.
In this spin-off of black-ish, grown-ish follows the eldest daughter of the Johnsons’ from the original series, Zoey, when she begins to go to college, starting her journey into adulthood, discovering that the world isn’t exactly as she had imagined it to be once she left home.
As someone who has watched both shows, I’d say that you don’t even need to have watched the original series to like grown-ish, because it does a great enough job establishing itself as a separate series. For fans of The Chair, grown-ish does a good job at portraying what life is currently like in higher education, and how it’s sometimes hard for people to fit in there.
Gossip Girl (HBO Max)
In this classic CW show, Gossip Girl tells the story of Serena Van der Woodsen, a young woman with a group of friends attending the best private school in all of New York with the rest of its elite members, following them as they grow up through their own issues, problems, and into their success in college.
There’s a reason why Gossip Girl has become so popular even now almost a decade after it finished, which is why it’s perfect for fans of The Chair. The Gossip Girl cast is full of stars, such as Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley and so many others. The story is actually full of surprising twists and plots that will have you clicking “next episode” several times. The show was so popular it’s even spawned a spinoff on HBO Max years later - albeit not as good as the original. If you’re looking for an excellent academic drama, this is by far one of the best.
Dear White People (Netflix)
Based on the film of the same name, Dear White People follows a group of Black college students at an Ivy League institution, touching on issues that surround modern day race relations, and how that relates to attending college.
I won’t lie when I believe that this is one of the best shows on Netflix, right up there with The Chair. I think not only is it relevant and speaks volumes and lessons about current day college culture, but the story is very compelling and even has a bit of humor to it as well. It’s certainly a very heavy show with plenty of deeper meanings, but I do believe that Dear White People is a dramedy that everyone should watch at least once.
Jeff Winger is an ex-lawyer who must attend a community college after it is discovered that he faked having his Bachelor’s degree. However, in Community, he ends up joining up with a group of misfits for a study group, finding a weird yet surprising community.
Okay, so Community isn’t as serious as The Chair is, but it’s still an amazing show. I binge-watched all of Community within a couple weeks of starting it, and I can say that this is one of the funniest shows ever. From Rick and Morty creator, Dan Harmon, I can assure you there will be moments you’ll end up snorting your drink from laughing so hard. The Community cast has such great chemistry, and the stories are absolutely bonkers but at the same time have so much heart you’ll be rooting for every single character - especially Troy and Abed.
Veronica Mars (Hulu)
In this classic CW show, we follow high schooler (later college student) Veronica Mars as she moonlights as a private investigator under the tutelage of her father, solving mysteries by herself while also working to also solve bigger, more complex cases as the series goes on.
Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars is awesome, and she rocks it in her role, alongside the rest of the great Veronica Mars cast. What really makes Veronica Mars stand out though for fans of The Chair is while it has plenty of focus on the lifestyle of school, it also incorporates mysteries that are genuinely fun to follow and make for a very interesting academic series, one that separates itself from the rest. There’s always something new to discover.
Coach (Amazon Prime)
In Coach, we follow the story of Hayden Fox, a football coach at a university as he tries to not only bring his team to success, but himself and his family as well.
I feel that for fans of The Chair, this is sort of that similar premise where the show is instead focused on the people who do the teaching at the school rather than the students, except Coach is primarily focused in sports and football. Plus, there are so many amazing guest stars that pop up, such as football legend Troy Aikman. It’s really a great show, even if it is a bit older than the others here. And with nine seasons to binge, I think it’s worth a shot.
How To Get Away With Murder (Netflix)
In How To Get Away With Murder, Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a professor of law at a Philadelphia university, who ends up getting entwined in a murder plot with five of her students.
First off, Viola Davis was the absolute perfect choice to play Keating. I couldn’t think of a more talented actress to do so, because she is perfect in this role. Secondly, what I really love about How To Get Away With Murder for fans of The Chair is while it does incorporate the lifestyle of living at college, there’s this incredible storyline of murder, betrayal and mystery that’s even more captivating.
Fresh Meat (Amazon Prime)
In this TV series that hails from the United Kingdom, Fresh Meat follows the story of six students who are living together, about to embark on one of the most exciting times of their lives - university, and the struggles that come from within.
I loved Fresh Meat for many reasons. I feel that it’s one of the best options for fans of The Chair because it’s a bare basics college comedy that really goes in depth into the world of university. I especially love that they focus more on the aspects of living with a complete stranger at first, and the problems that can arise with being in a new environment like college. It’s so funny yet heartwarming - a really good pick.
In Felicity, we follow Felicity Porter, a young woman who is attending the University of New York (based off of the real-life New York University) for her four years of college, in a completely different environment from her home in Palo Alto, California.
Keri Russell definitely stands out in one of her first big roles in Felicity as the title character, but I think what makes me like this show so much - especially for fans of The Chair - is the simplicity of it. Felicity cuts it after four seasons, only covering Felicity’s time at college. It keeps the story tight and sharp, with no room for plot holes and plenty of adventures to explore in those four seasons.
Greek (Amazon Prime)
For those who have ever wondered what fraternity or sorority life is like, look no further than Greek. In this show, we follow students at the fictitious university, Cyprus-Rhodes, who all participate in the school’s Greek system, which is filled with plenty of problems, issues, and drama all around.
For fans of The Chair, I believe Greek would be a good series to watch just because it’s different from the normal high school/college dramedy. It doesn’t focus in too much on the schooling aspect, but still somehow keeps your attention with how much drama happens within the four walls of these big Greek houses.
School is coming back in session soon - which means there’s no better time than to binge-watch some awesome academic dramas or comedies now. Which one are you going to embark on next?
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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