It's curtains for Barry. Bill Hader's dark comedy concluded with Season 4, with the series finale forcing its characters — most importantly, Barry himself — to face repercussions after years of telling themselves stories in order to get by. If you've reached the acceptance stage of grief, we have some recommendations for shows like Barry to check out.
Barry Berkman is nowhere near the first TV murderer to have feelings, and our list of similar shows includes dark comedies, killers for hire, and a whole lot of morally gray characters.
There's nothing like a show about a conflicted man who wants to do good things, but he's just so much better at doing bad things. Taking place before the events of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is the origin story of Bob Odenkirk's criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, going back to the early 2000s when he was still just a scrappy up-and-comer named Jimmy McGill. Better Call Saul is the blueprint for how to give a prequel real stakes — always tricky, since the audience goes in knowing how the story ends — thanks to its exceptional writing and the introduction of new characters just as compelling as Walter White (or, arguably, even more), like Rhea Seehorn's Kim Wexler and Tony Dalton's Lalo Salamanca. Like Barry, Better Call Saul expertly balances comedy and drama, grapples with questions of morality, and is really good at knowing how to make you root for a bad guy.
Barry got a lot of Dexter comparisons when it first premiered, which makes sense, seeing as Dexter is kind of the blueprint for Barry. Dexter tells the story of Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter expert who also happens to moonlight as a vigilante serial killer (he only kills people who really deserve it). Both Dexter and Barry wrestle with the struggle of outwardly presenting as normal-seeming people while privately grappling with their lives of blood and crime, and although the later seasons of Dexter really take a turn for the worst, those early episodes are still great. Plus, there was a 2021 revival to make up for the wrongdoings of the series finale.
Barry is one of TV's best dark comedies, but it draws a lot of inspiration from some twisted geniuses who paved the way. The Coen brothers are masters of pitch black comedy, meaning that Fargo (the show) is the ideal next watch for any Barry fan. Each season of Noah Hawley's anthology series, which is based on the Coens' classic 1996 film, takes place in a different era and revolves around a different crime, but all are linked by themes of greed, wealth, and desperation. Like Barry, Fargo is able to balance moments of gruesome violence with humor, and isn't afraid to go totally off the wall crazy. The first two seasons are the show at its absolute best, but even an OK season of Fargo is more entertaining and visually striking than a lot of other stuff on TV.
Hiro Murai is the thread that ties Barry and Atlanta together, having directed a handful episodes of both shows, but they have more in common than Murai's signature touch. Donald Glover, who also created the series, stars as Earn, an aimless, cynical college-dropout-turned-music-manager hustling to get his cousin's (Brian Tyree Henry) rap career off the ground, despite not really being qualified to manage anyone. At any given moment, the tone alternates between goofy comedy, acidic satire, and surrealist horror, not to mention how it nails its very real, very human dramatic beats. Remember the first time you watched Barry's Season 2 episode "ronny/lily" and it felt like you were being taken for the ride of a lifetime? Atlanta is kind of like if every episode of Barry got that weird.
My favorite part of any Danny McBride show is the dramatic escalation of what should be a very normal problem. That's the basis for Vice Principals, the most unsung entry in what McBride refers to his "misunderstood angry man trilogy" (alongside Eastbound & Down and The Righteous Gemstones), which revolves around two pathetic, scheming blowhards (played by McBride and Walton Goggins) who are co-vice principals at a high school. When the series starts, they're involved in a vicious rivalry as they vie for the position of principal, only deciding to band together after an outsider (Kimberly Hébert Gregory) is brought in for the job. The show's comedic moments are super dark in a way that will feel familiar to Barry fans, and it has a great time exploring the depraved places people will go to get what they want and what they'll do to cover up their own misdeeds.
One of Prime Video's hidden treasures, Patriot is a wondrously weird spy series about John Tavner (Michael Dorman), an aspiring folk singer dragged into a life of espionage by his father, forcing him to go undercover as an employee at a piping firm in Milwaukee. John and Barry have a lot in common, namely their reluctance to get involved with dangerous side gigs and the way they're influenced by the older male figures in their lives (Stephen Root's Fuches isn't Barry's dad, but he's certainly a stand-in for one). Patriot — from creator Steven Conrad, whose other series Perpetual Grace Ltd. could also be on this list — is probably the closest to Barry in terms of thematic elements and comedic style, which means you should probably drop everything and watch it right now.
You must love learning about the inner lives of hitmen, or else you wouldn't be reading this list, so allow me to recommend Mr Inbetween. The Australian comedy follows Ray (Scott Ryan, who also created the series) as he alternates between killing and regular guy-ing; expect to see him doing cool things like throwing bodies in shallow graves and explaining the birds and the bees to his daughter. Barry is all about a person balancing living a double life and trying to form relationships with people despite being haunted by the horrific things he's lying to them about, and Mr Inbetween similarly does a great job showing how hard it is to keep those two worlds from colliding.
If Barry isn't sociopathic enough for your tastes, try You. The psychological thriller follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a book restorer who also happens to be an obsessive stalker and murderer. He's constantly falling in love with women and using whatever means necessary to charm and manipulate them into falling in love with him. Every time, he swears it'll be different, that no one will get hurt and he'll for once have a normal relationship, and of course it never is. Barry is more tortured by the things he's done than Joe, but both shows make for conflicting viewing experiences that will constantly make you question why you're rooting for a killer to get away with the crimes he can't seem to stop committing.