If you are here, then by now, you are done binge-watching Based On A True Story. Peacock’s latest crime comedy is slowly becoming a rage thanks to its addictive murder mystery storyline with a dash of comedy. But the problem is, it gets over in no time, as there are only eight episodes. However, right now, we are not certain if or when we will get the second season of the show. So, what we need at the moment is a fix—a show as exciting as Based On A True Story. That is why I have decided to step in with a list of shows that might just do the trick for you. Not all of these are going to be murder mysteries, as I would be exploring things beyond the obvious similarity. My objective is to suggest a show to you that can mirror the same experience you had while watching Based On A True Story.
10. Only Murders In The Building
Let us begin with the most obvious television show. Hulu’s Only Murders In The Building revolves around three odd but true-crime enthusiasts whose curiosity compels them to solve mysteries around them. The show also has a horrific death, which occurs inside an Upper West Side building, true to the show’s title. The death is, of course, not a natural one, as the main trio suspects murder and starts their own investigation. This sounds a lot familiar, right? Well, it also employs the same storytelling approach as Based On A True Story, where it folds in a lot of comedic elements with the murder mystery plot.
The show has an eccentric star cast led by comedic geniuses like Martin Short, and Steve Martin. The third musketeer in the team is played by Selena Gomez, who brings teenage issues to add an extra layer to the show. The supporting cast has names like Amy Ryan, Cara Delevingne, Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, and even the legendary Meryl Streep, who is joining the show in its upcoming third season, which is going to premiere in August this year. So if you haven’t watched this show yet and are looking to fill the void left by Based On A True Story, then this is the perfect time to get started.
9. American Vandal
Despite being thematically similar to Only Murders In The Building, Based On A True Story reminded me more of another show. This time, I am talking about Netflix’s American Vandal, the mockumentary that got unfairly canceled even after delivering two brilliant seasons, where the sophomore season bettered the maiden one.
There is no murder in American Vandal. But you will surely notice the same brand of humor as that of Based On A True Story. While the first season is about the investigation regarding a drawing of a reproductive organ (you can guess which one, right?) in public, the completely bonkers second season is set in a Catholic school where someone intentionally laces the lunch with laxative to make everyone “you know what” in their pants. A fanatical mix of thrills and laughter, American Vandal will keep you hooked if you give the show a chance. I am sure that you are going to enjoy this show and end up hating Netflix for canceling it.
8. The Flight Attendant
The obvious reason to put this on the list is Kaley Cuoco. This was the show she did just before Based On A True Story, and considering the fact that this one got her nods from all major awards, including the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice, this should automatically be on your watchlist.
In case you are wondering, I am not just adding The Flight Attendant here because of Cuoco. Although much different in style and context, this one also bears the same addictive DNA as Based On A True Story. The show follows Casey (played by Cuoco), an alcoholic flight attendant who wakes up in a hotel room next to the bloody body of one of her passengers from her last flight. But Casey doesn’t remember how she ended up here. The dark comedy has The Big Bang Theory actress in top form while being ably supported by great writing and direction. The HBO Max original has two seasons, which will surely keep you occupied for a while.
7. Search Party
Without being biased, I would say Search Party is the best show on this list. When I first stumbled onto the show in 2016, I literally had no idea what I was getting into. The show begins with the disappearance of a young woman named Chantal, and her high school friends, led by Dory, start an investigation into the disappearance. In the subsequent seasons, the show focuses on the consequences of what happened in the earlier seasons.
From great acting to smart writing to engaging storylines, Search Party has it all to keep you on the edge of your seat. Alia Shawkat, star of the iconic Arrested Development, stars in the show as Dory, along with John Reynolds, John Early, Meredith Hagner, and a galore of recurring and guest stars, including the likes of Jeff Goldblum. The show is also five seasons long, which only means if you manage to get the hang of it, then you are sorted for quite a while.
6. The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window
Yes, that’s the name, in case you think I am joking. Built as a parody of the abysmal Amy Adams movie The Woman In The Window and things of a similar kind, the show takes the spoofing a bit too seriously and makes a joke out of everything in the process. The central idea is obviously ludicrous, just like your plumber being a serial killer, which compels me to add this show to the list.
Whether or not you are going to enjoy it depends on how you are watching it. Don’t go by the underwhelming ratings you are likely to find on the internet; rather, try this on your own and see how things pan out. It worked wonderfully for me, and I believe that some of you will feel the same. If not, you can just watch it for the brilliant Kristen Bell, who is at her supreme best here.
5. Behind Her Eyes
Alright, time to go a bit crazy. I did promise to explore beyond a certain limit, and this is the farthest I have gone. Two years ago, I randomly found something called Behind Her Eyes while casually browsing Netflix one night, and I started it instinctively. When I finished it, I realized that the morning had arrived, and I couldn’t think of anything else for a few days at least. It was that addictive, and that is my reason to include it in a list where you are looking for shows like Based On A True Story.
Behind Her Eyes follows the story of a single mother Simone falling for her boss David and the two getting into a relationship. But the trouble is that David is married to Adele, who also develops a tender friendship with Simone. While the plot does sound like something that would yield a romantic drama, it is far from that. I can bet a million dollars that you haven’t seen anything like this show in your life. Last but not least, David is played by Tom Bateman, aka The Westside Ripper.
4. The Afterparty
Apple TV Plus’ The Afterparty has a very interesting concept. Every episode tells the same story but there is a twist. The same events are explored from the perspective of a different character which brings about new information and facts and makes things interesting. All these characters gather at a high school reunion party, and a murder occurs after the party is over. One of the characters is the one who committed the crime, which makes everyone a suspect.
The novel concept of The Afterparty is very well complemented by the cast. Although there is only one season available at the moment, Apple is going to release the next one very soon. The show is designed as an anthology, and every season is going to have different (after) party settings and, of course, a murder. Haddish’s character, a detective, is supposed to remain a constant in the show, though. I don’t think I have to explain why this show is on this list, but in case you want to know, I am particularly focusing on the quirk aspect here, which can be seen in both Based On A True Story and The Afterparty.
Alright, here is the thing: I was in a dilemma about whether to suggest the original British version of Ghosts or the adapted American version. Having seen both of them, I would personally put the UK version ahead of the US one. But in all fairness, the American version is more in sync with the kind of show Based On A True Story is.
In both versions, a woman inherits a big, mansion-like house, which she plans to renovate and then run a hotel business with her husband. But there’s a hitch– the house is filled with a lot of spirits who have formed a society of their own. While the UK version hinges more on horror, the American version is lighter and focuses more on the comedy bits. Which one you pick is completely up to you. What I can tell you is that you are going to have an experience as good as Based On A True Story, even though these two shows are contextually and thematically much different.
2. Poker Face
Poker Face follows the “case of the week” format–something that had gone obsolete over the years until Rian Johnson revived it with this Peacock series. Already touted as one of the best shows of the year, Poker Face has won universal acclaim from critics and infinite love from the audience thanks to its zany humor, unconventional storylines, and sharp writing.
Natasha Lyone (Orange Is The New Black, Russian Doll) stars as Charlie, a waitress with a unique ability to tell if someone is lying, which basically makes her a human lie-detector. Of course, her ability lands Charlie in dangerous situations, which forms the crux of the show. With someone like Rian Johnson at the helm of it, you can expect Poker Face to be a mad, fun ride—something that you might hop on after finishing Based On A True Story. The show also has a slew of guest stars, from Adrien Brody to Ron Perlman to Judith Light and, of course, Noah Segan- who is a Rian Johnson regular.
1. Veronica Mars
I am going to draw the curtains on this list with another Kristen Bell show, but unlike the other one, the supremacy of Veronica Mars is unquestionable. The iconic noir thriller has a high school student investigating mysteries in each episode while also trying to solve a bigger, more layered mystery. The show keeps reinventing its style and format, but it always remains interesting enough to hold on to it. It is regarded as the greatest-ever teen show for its genuinely smart mysteries, riveting humor, and deft handling of grave subjects like class division and sexual assaults. The social commentary aspect of it is my reason for including Veronica Mars here.
Kristen Bell stars as both the protagonist and occasional narrator of the show, while Enrico Colantoni stars as detective Keith Mars, Veronica’s father, who guides her in some of the investigations. The show debuted in 2004 and went on for three seasons until its cancellation in 2007, following which it took a seven-year hiatus before coming back with a movie in 2014, thanks to a devoted cult following. Five years after that, the show returned with another season, with all the major characters returning to reprise their roles. Naturally, you have a lot to catch up if you haven’t managed to watch Veronica Mars yet.