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Six TV shows and movies to watch after Sex and the City

Hi, I'd like a cheeseburger, please, a large fries and something to watch after I finish Sex and the City.

Sex and the City - original series
Image credit: HBO

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An icon of early 21st Century pop culture, Sex and the City is back in a big way thanks to the original series now streaming on Netflix. And while some elements of this beloved HBO series now feel undeniably dated, there's a reason why it remains so popular.

With its dynamite combination of soapy storytelling, witty dialogue and a frank attitude to sex, Sex and the City broke new ground as an adult dramedy aimed squarely at women. Most importantly, it was fun as hell. The show’s writers were incredibly inventive, delivering an endless supply of absurd one-liners, relationship plot twists and slapstick fiascos. Twenty years on, SATC’s impact on the TV landscape is undeniable.

In addition to its official spinoffs (which you can watch and re-watch with help from our Sex and the City watch guide), SATC inspired a new generation of female-led comedies and dramas. So if you’re a SATC fan wondering what to watch next, you have plenty of options to choose from.

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl
Image credit: The CW

Premiering three years after the end of Sex and the City, Gossip Girl’s glossy brand of New York melodrama was clearly influenced by the lives of Carrie Bradshaw and friends. Adapted from a popular series of YA novels, this highschool drama follows the exploits of wealthy teenagers in the Upper East Side, led by free-spirited It Girl Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and her uptight bestie Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester).

Packed with trendy late-'00s music and fashion, Gossip Girl thrived on scandal. The main characters were selfish, amoral and spoiled. Their sex lives and drug habits were criticized as a bad influence on younger viewers. And, of course, the entire show was narrated by the titular Gossip Girl blogger, embodying a notoriously toxic and invasive era of celebrity journalism - and echoing Carrie’s iconic voiceovers in SATC.

Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Adapted from Helen Fielding’s Pride & Prejudice-inspired novel, this 2001 romcom is arguably the British counterpart to Sex and the City, which originated as a semi-autobiographical newspaper column. Both emerged from the '90s 'chick lit' genre, depicting 30-something women navigating life in the big city. (In this case Renée Zellweger as the awkward publishing assistant Bridget, embroiled in a love triangle with a sleazy Hugh Grant and a dreamy Colin Firth.) The British version of this formula feels more self-deprecating than the upbeat, aspirational tone of Sex and the City, but Bridget’s tumultuous search for love holds a similar appeal, balancing spiky humor and confessional writing with frothy entertainment value.

Girls

Girls
Image credit: HBO

Launching actress/creator Lena Dunham to instant (if divisive) stardom, Girls was the Millennial follow-up to Sex and the City, presenting a more youthful view of life in NYC. Like SATC, Girls is an adult-rated HBO series following the careers and love lives of four women with very different personalities, playing out in a distinctly R-rated setting. But while Dunham riffs on a similar framework, she set out to make a more grounded kind of show. The cast of Girls are less secure than the prosperous 30-somethings of SATC, and less glamorous than the unfeasibly cool teens of Gossip Girl. And when they fall for commitment-phobic men, those guys definitely aren’t as suave as Carrie’s Mr Big.

Featuring early-career roles for actors like Adam Driver, Allison Williams, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Girls skewered 20-something neuroses and explored topics like body image and abortion, continuing SATC’s provocative legacy for a new generation.

Broad City

Broad City
Image credit: Comedy Central

Also airing in the '10s, the hilarious Broad City offers a straightforwardly comedic counterpoint to Girls, starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson as a pair of chaotic BFFs. Starting out as a webseries, this raunchy hipster sitcom burst onto the scene with a refreshing mix of female-led stoner comedy and observational humor.

Sex and the City paved the way for Abbi and Ilana’s inventively disastrous personal lives, but their stories play out in a far less privileged setting. Broad City’s fast-paced episodic subplots are both more disgusting and more relatable, revolving around nightmarish temp jobs, awkward roommates, low-rent art shows and gross-out humor. The show also boasted an impressive array of celebrity guest stars - although most fans would probably prefer to forget the Hillary Clinton episode.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Another legendary chick lit adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada stars Anne Hathaway as an aspiring journalist who becomes the personal assistant to a tyrannical fashion magazine editor (Meryl Streep). While this career-centric dramedy lacks the edginess of Sex and the City, it definitely reflects a similar fascination with fashion and New York’s magazine industry. Introduced as a clueless newcomer, Anne Hathaway’s character must navigate a backstabbing workplace full of big personalities, accumulating a gorgeous wardrobe of designer outfits along the way.

Cougar Town

Cougar Town
Image credit: TBS

Often misjudged due to its cringey title - a name the cast and showrunners actually wanted to change - this Courteney Cox-led sitcom is an underrated gem from Scrubs and Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence. While season 1 introduced itself as a dubiously-conceived comedy about a stereotypical cougar (ie. Cox as a middle-aged divorcee who pursues younger men), it soon evolved into a more familiar style of ensemble show, earning positive reviews in later seasons. You can see a clear lineage between SATC’s central friendship and the dynamic between Cougar Town’s main cast, which includes Christa Miller (Scrubs) and the ebulliently funny Busy Phillipps.


Want something more like Sex and the City? Here's our guide to watching all three Sex and the City TV shows, the movies, and more.

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Bridget Jones Diary

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Sex and the City

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The Devil Wears Prada

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About the Author
Gavia Baker Whitelaw avatar

Gavia Baker Whitelaw

Contributing writer

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a pop culture journalist and critic. Previously a staff writer at the Daily Dot, she now freelances for a variety of outlets including TV Guide, Inverse and BBC Radio 4, in addition to co-hosting the film podcast Overinvested.
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