10 ‘New Girl’-esque Shows to Watch on Netflix Now That the Adorkable Sitcom Is No Longer Streaming There
Around this time last year, Netflix had one north star guiding all its comedy development: New Girl. Its own original series — at least the ones that got critical praise and award nominations — tended to be dark: Orange Is the New Black, set in a women’s prison; Russian Doll, about using a sci-fi time loop to grapple with generational trauma; BoJack Horseman, a very adult animated series about a deeply depressed ex-sitcom star who also happened to be equine. FOX’s New Girl, meanwhile, had stayed popular since Netflix started streaming it; no wonder executives were eager to find “big, broad stories that can be told on a budget” in the same way New Girl did.
If you’ve read this far, you probably know what New Girl is, but just in case: Los Angeles middle school teacher Jess (Zooey Deschanel) catches her boyfriend cheating and needs a new apartment fast. That’s how she ends up moving into a loft with three single dudes: Winston (Lamorne Morris), recently retired from playing basketball in Europe and trying to find himself; Schmidt (Max Greenfield), an intermittently lovable Type A nightmare; and Nick (Jake Johnson), the curmudgeonly bartender who could never find common ground with a ray of sunshine like Jess, unless…? Also present: Jess’ best friend Cece (Hannah Simone), a fashion model; and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), who exits the series after the pilot (so that Wayans could do Happy Endings instead), then returns (after Happy Endings got canceled). The loft roommates live, love, invent complicated party games, drink and manage to survive their 20s. The show’s cast is very charming and likable, and no I certainly will not describe it with the word FOX’s marketing department made up for it.
All that said, the pressure just got higher for Netflix to find its own New Girl: Its rights to the ORIGINAL New Girl have expired. As of April 17th, you’ll still be able to stream it on Hulu or Peacock, but for those who still want a New Girl-esque show without subscribing to any new platforms, we’ve assembled a list of shows on Netflix that can serve as your New Girl placebos.
The Bluth family of Southern California had it all: riches from real estate development, high status in the community. Unfortunately, patriarch George (Jeffrey Tambor) was running the company on various criminal schemes, and when he gets incarcerated, it falls to Michael (Jason Bateman), his only responsible child, to keep the company from going under and his family from drifting apart.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: The Bluths also live in a dwelling that would never pass a code inspection and yell at each other a lot.
Having skated by in his law career without any actual credentials, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) finally runs out of luck and has to earn a real degree if he ever wants to return to his career. After meeting and immediately developing a crush on fellow student Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Jeff forms a phony study group as a pretext to see her, only for it to attract a bunch of other weirdos from their class… who then become Jeff’s closest friends for the next several years.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Though the characters spend a lot of time with or near teachers, they rarely learn much.
Before she broke out as the creator and star of Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge made and starred in the U.K. series Crashing. Not to be confused with the HBO series of the same name, starring and loosely based on the life of Pete Holmes, this one revolves around Anthony (Damien Molony) and Kate (Louise Ford), an affianced couple living as property guardians in a decommissioned hospital for cheap rent — something hard to find in London. Waller-Bridge plays Lulu, a childhood friend of Anthony’s who soon moves into the hospital with him, Kate and their disparate housemates.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: In case you weren’t convinced that Lulu is just the U.K. Jess: She plays the ukulele! Also the part where they’re all living together somewhere weird.
Rebecca (Rachel Bloom, who also co-created the show) is a successful and highly compensated lawyer in New York, desperately keeping her mental health issues to herself. She also never quite got over her camp boyfriend Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), so when she runs into him by chance and learns he’s moving back to his hometown of West Covina, California, she decides that sounds pretty good and follows him there — telling herself, in a lavish musical number, that it’s a coincidence that her new city happens to be Josh’s. In fact, every episode includes several original songs to reveal Rebecca’s state of mind.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Rebecca is an exceedingly impulsive and quirky young brunette in the greater Los Angeles area; it’s only a few seasons in that we learn, in her case, “quirky” means “has borderline personality disorder.”
After unexpectedly getting pregnant in high school, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) decided to keep the baby and start a new life as a single mother, fleeing the disapproval of her patrician parents. As the series begins, however, her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) is high school-aged herself, and Lorelai can’t afford the private education her intelligent daughter needs to get the best start in life. Lorelai’s mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) agrees to pay Rory’s tuition on one condition: Lorelai and Rory have dinner with Emily and Lorelai’s father Richard (Edward Herrmann) every Friday night. The viewer sees the sharp contrast between the straitlaced elder Gilmores in Hartford, Connecticut, and the younger Gilmores’ offbeat friends and neighbors in their adopted town of Stars Hollow.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Before Nick the curmudgeonly bartender barely tolerating conversations with a loopy brunette, we had Luke the curmudgeonly diner owner barely tolerating conversations with a loopy brunette.
Ruth (Alison Brie) is trying to make it as an actor, but none of her training is serving her in mid-1980s Los Angeles, where the only auditions she can get are for underwritten roles on primetime soap operas. Then a sympathetic casting director gives her a tip on an unorthodox production: a live women’s wrestling show. Ruth is dubious (and out of shape), but comes to appreciate the sisterhood of castmates, and even her bitter director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron). Ruth’s relationship with Debbie (Betty Gilpin) — a friend until she finds out Ruth slept with her husband — goes through a lot of changes through the show’s three excellent seasons.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Sure, the New Girl loft was a frequent site of aggressive hand-to-hand combat, but these women actually know what they’re doing.
Comedian Maria Bamford partnered with Pam Brady (South Park) and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) to co-create this semi-autobiographical sitcom. The lightly fictionalized Maria lives in Los Angeles, wrangles with her manager Bruce (Fred Melamed) and works on reigniting her acting and stand-up career after taking a long leave of absence to treat her bipolar disorder. The supporting cast includes comedy legends Jenny Slate, Lennon Parham, Bridget Everett, June Diane Raphael, Mo Collins and Ana Gasteyer.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Maria’s elaborate flights of fancy make Jess look even-tempered.
Never Have I Ever
Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) was never cool, but she was making her way as a brainy high school student. Then her father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) dies, Devi develops sudden paralysis and her reputation changes. Once Devi regains her full range of motion, she returns for her sophomore year determined to lose her virginity to Paxton (Darren Barnet), the hottest guy in school — and no amount of needling from Ben (Jaren Lewison), her main rival for academic supremacy, will deter her from her plan. Unless she gets together with Ben instead…
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Ben is basically the second coming of Schmidt. (That’s a compliment!)
The crown jewel of NBC’s Thursday night sitcom lineup for most of the 1990s, Seinfeld revolves around the titular stand-up comic, Jerry Seinfeld (as himself, more or less), and his friends: angry loser George (Jason Alexander), who’s known Jerry since their adolescence in Queens; across-the-hall neighbor Kramer (Michael Richards), a classic New York eccentric; and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Jerry’s ex-turned-platonic pal. Famously, the show is about nothing — and definitely not about hugging or learning.
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: You want to see a short, snappish woman hanging out with three weird guys? Look no further.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
As a teenager, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) was abducted by a religious zealot who imprisoned her — with three other women — in an underground doomsday bunker. Years later, Kimmy is located, freed and shocked to learn that the world actually did not end; with no resources or friends, she falls into cohabitation with aspiring actor Titus (Tituss Burgess) and gets exposed to the lives of ultra-rich New Yorkers as a nanny to socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
What Makes It A Good New Girl Replacement: Like Jess, Kimmy is trying to navigate the big city with a childlike sense of wonderment. Unlike Jess, Kimmy has a good reason for being so naïve.