10 Best TV Shows Like The Lake

10 Best TV Shows Like The Lake

With the release of The Lake on Amazon Prime Video on 17th June 2022, the strong tradition of shows exploring emotional journeys while on summer retreats is continued in fine form.

Despite the series’ light-hearted tone, The Lake takes the time to explore the topics of adoption, sexual and personal discovery, convoluted family trees, culture clashes, new beginnings, historical family grudges, and Machiavellian plotting. For fans of The Lake who enjoy delving into the human condition, these other shows are masters of their craft in examining these themes in a variety of engaging ways.

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Schitt’s Creek (2015 – 2020)

Set in another small, eccentric community, this series follows the Roses, a former Kardashian-like family, as they come to terms with new-found poverty, having been swindled out of their fortune by their accountant. Stripped of all of their assets by the unrelenting IRS, the only asset they are permitted to keep is the town of Schitt’s Creek which Johnny Rose bought for his son David as a joke.

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As a fellow Canadian comedy, the show sits comfortably in the company of The Lake, both being an unthreatening, easy watch. As with The Lake, the central characters struggle to fit in with those around them and they likewise face the much more formidable challenge of defining what they mean to each other as a family unit.

Arrested Development (2003 – 2019)

Cast of Arrested Development

Jason Bateman takes the lead in this comedy series which follows the riches to relative poverty tale of the Bluth family. George Bluth, a Californian property magnate, and family patriarch starts the series being sent down for his dubious business practices but utilizes his innate skills to live his best life in prison. Meanwhile, his son, Michael, is left to keep the property business afloat and put metaphorical plasters on the self-inflicted wounds of his remaining family members.

Arrested Development shares with The Lake an enduring undercurrent of comedic rivalry between siblings who all share a deep-seated resentment of the actions of their parents. Both shows also cast a humorous eye on the rebellion of teenagers against their parents, leading in each case to at least one questionable romantic interlude as a result of the complicated family relationships involved.

This Is Us (2016 – 2022)

This is Us Season 3 Cast

Starting as a simple tale about a couple who are looking to start a family, this show develops into a multi-generational analysis of the Pearson clan as they take on life’s everyday challenges and evolve as a group, pushing through some painful boundaries. The show reached its conclusion this year after six seasons of deftly portraying on-screen many very relatable moments.

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Like The Lake, one of the central storylines of This is Us follows the path of an adopted child who has been raised by a loving family but is seeking to reunite with their unknown blood parent to piece together all of their cultural origins. Also sharing the themes of sibling bust-ups, reconciliations, and making up for lost time, This is Us chooses to replace the comedic tone in The Lake with a hefty emotional punch in all of its most poignant scenes.

Outer Banks (2020 – 2022)

John B, Pope, JJ, and Kiara from Outer Banks posing with a Surfboard.

Set in a North Carolina coastal town, an extraordinarily good-looking teen gang of Pogues (the name of the group of working-class kids who always have ready access to a fully fueled boat) pit their wits against their rival kooks (the uber-wealthy students), with the character of Topper straddling the two factions, in a series akin to the classic movie The Goonies.

Similar to The Lake, the adults and younger generation all bear the scars of past family feuds and they all look to process their feelings while enjoying poetic, watery sunsets. While Outer Banks has a far more dramatic tone than The Lake, both shows share a journey of discovery for their teenage leads who rebel against their parents but ultimately remain there for each other in the key moments.

Sex Education (2019 – 2022)

Ender’s Game’s Asa Butterfield shows he is a child no more in this drama about sexual awakenings. Asa’s character uses his screen mother Gillian Anderson’s knowledge as a sex therapist to make money counseling his fellow students in their erotic odysseys at Moorfield High.

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The clearest connection this show has to The Lake is the humorous take on sexual exploration in both adults and teenagers. However, at their core, both The Lake and Sex Education are focused on the search for meaningful friendships and long-lasting relationships; the kids in each show constantly test the water of new experiences while the adults reframe their perspectives in light of the actions of their offspring.

Bloodline (2015 – 2017)

The Rayburn family all return to their parents’ luxury holiday resort for the 45th anniversary of the hotel for what should be a joyful celebration of a hard-earned successful hospitality business. The obvious obstacle to family harmony is a convincingly unhinged pre-Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Ben Mendelsohn playing Danny Rayburn who returns home from a long, self-imposed absence.

While not sharing The Lake’s comedic tone, the characters in Bloodline do also congregate by the water with the setting here being the Florida Keys. In both shows, the adult characters returning to their childhood playgrounds bear the scars of historic slights by family members but despite the years having driven a wedge between them they strive, mostly unsuccessfully, to find common ground.

Dawson’s Creek (1998 – 2003)

Forming the backbone of comfort watching for a generation of students, this show sees James Van Der Beeke’s eponymous Dawson play out his young adulthood in an impossibly peaceful coastal town in Massachusetts. Beautifully filmed and cleverly scripted, Dawson’s Creek is the fine wine of the coming-of-age genre.

As with The Lake, the waterside setting provides a restful backdrop for the characters to endure any drama that ensues. What is notable in each show is the desire for the main players to forge strong bonds with each other in the time that they have before they disperse into the lives that await them in the real world.

Call My Agent! (Dix Pour Cent) (2015 – 2020)

Call My Agent Netflix

Set in the world of a movie star agency, Call My Agent! draws back the star-studded curtain on the showbiz industry from the unusual perspective of France and cleverly combines the frantic schedules of its players with superb moments of dark comedic poignancy. This show was so good that it was remade in the UK, where it was honored with a story that was almost a carbon copy of the original.

As with The Lake, the backstory to this series creates several convoluted family connections and it is the youngest generation that has to navigate the majority of the consequences. Friendships, rivalries, and tactical moves bind these two shows together as they each explore the daily interactions of a close-knit group of strong characters.

Succession (2018 – 2022)

A family sitting for dinner in Succession

Succession is the epitome of dysfunctional family dynamics on screen. The show opens with the premise of a cantankerous CEO of a vast media business empire looking to retire after a long and highly successful career. This leaves a power vacuum at the top of the business and his children all feel they are worthy of sitting at his desk.

The family rivalry seen in The Lake is taken to a new level in Succession with the four siblings each being capable of turning on one another in an instant and the level of inter-family scheming is unrivaled in TV history. As with Maisy in The Lake, all of the Roy children are used to winning, and it remains unclear which of Kendall, Shiv, Roman, or Connor will triumph when the final hand is dealt.

Ted Lasso (2020 – 2022)

Ted Lasso in soccer stadium

Exploring a clash of UK/US sporting cultures, Ted Lasso is invited to trade in his role as a coach of a college American Football team to become the manager of a Premier League soccer team, knowing nothing about the beautiful game before he lands in London. However, plenty of traps await Ted in his new home.

As for Justin in The Lake, Ted soon discovers that he is a fish-out-of-water, navigating a hotbed of human emotion all around him as he struggles internally to gain closure on his failed romance in another continent. Both shows share a thoroughly amiable tone throughout and the issues explored are handled with a light touch.

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