Every day we get closer to new episodes of Never Have I Ever, which returns to Netflix for its third (and penultimate) season in August. That means there's still time for Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) to mess everything up, but in a super charming, lovable way, and time for you, the viewer, to officially declare allegiance to Team Paxton (Darren Barnet) or Team Ben (Jaren Lewison). There's just nothing like getting way too invested in a high school teen show romance.
While we wait for Season 3, there are plenty of shows out there that will fulfill your specific post-Never Have I Ever needs, including ones about the pains of adolescence, ones with complex mother/daughter relationships that will remind you of Devi and Nalini's (Poorna Jagannathan), and ones with plenty of juicy romantic subplots. Here are our recommendations for what to watch if you like Never Have I Ever.
Heartstopper joins Never Have I Ever in the very special category of recent teen romantic comedies that actually understand how to be both romantic and comedic. Adapted from Alice Oseman's webcomic of the same name, the British coming-of-age series follows Charlie (Joe Locke), a gay teen who falls for his new friend Nick (Kit Connor), a sensitive jock at his all-boys school. Heartstopper is a sweet and warm watch full of small pleasures, from the classic romantic mishaps and misunderstandings to the way it uses dreamy, whimsical animations that keep it true to its webcomic roots and make Charlie's crush feel uniquely alive. If Heartstopper and Never Have I Ever were set in the same universe, you can almost picture Charlie and Devi getting together to bond over their boy woes. -Allison Picurro
If you somehow found your way to Never Have I Ever without first watching co-creator Mindy Kaling's first TV series, The Mindy Project, now is the time to go back and watch what really feels like Never Have I Ever's mother, but, like, in a cool way and if TV shows had parents. The six-season series first aired on Fox before moving to Hulu to finish its run, and follows Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Kaling), an unlucky-in-love OB/GYN who never met a bold patterned dress she didn't love as she tries to build her career and find romance. The series is a rom-com that knows rom-coms, and frequently pays homage to many of the genre's classics. That influence is most definitely seen in Mindy's main romantic partner — surly doctor and enemy-turned-friend-turned-great-love Danny Castellano (Chris Messina). Come for the quick dialogue peppered with pop culture references, stay for Chris Messina's dancing. Thank me later.
If it's more Mindy Kaling you want, it's more Mindy Kaling you'll get. In between seasons of Never Have I Ever, Kaling created a whole new series about teens finding themselves. With The Sex Lives of College Girls, we get a break from reliving the mortification of high school to reliving the mortification of college. It follows a quartet of friends who are thrown together when they become freshman year roommates and begin to navigate their newfound freedom together. As the title promises, it does, in fact, deal with sex quite a lot, but in a fun, refreshing way that explores all the fumbling awkwardness of those in-between years where you're not quite adolescent but not quite an adult either. And because this is a Kaling show, many of its best moments come when it focuses on the friendships between its core four. What's better than that? -Allison Picurro
Here's the premise of MTV's 2011 sitcom Awkward.: Jenna (Ashley Rickards), a nobody at school, has an accident that everyone mistakes for a suicide attempt and becomes famous overnight. Oh, and she has just lost her virginity to extremely popular Matty (Beau Mirchoff) but has to keep it a secret. If that doesn't feel like some Devi Vishwakumar shenanigans, I don't know what does. The series follows Jenna as she navigates her new notoriety and the relationships that come her way because of it and much of it is, as the show's title alludes to, extremely awkward. Although they're going to school in very different eras, it seems like the teens of NHIE and Awkward could easily inhabit the same universe.
Never Have I Ever is very clear on its intent to not follow the cool kids in school (leave that to your Gossip Girls and the like), and instead focus on a group of real nerds (that's said with love, Devi). Should you be interested in more shows that mostly ditch the popular kids in favor of the outcasts, try Paul Feig and Judd Apatow's Freaks and Geeks, which recently found its way onto a streaming platform. The cult favorite that launched a whole slew of careers, follows siblings Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam (John Francis Daley) Weir as they attend high school in the early 1980s — Lindsay befriends the "freaks" at her school, whereas Sam is more of a "geek," naturally. The tone is wildly different from NHIE, but both dive deep into that universal feeling of not exactly fitting in amongst your high school peers.
Let's be honest: There's an abundance of teen TV shows to choose from but most of them don't center on teens of color. Like Never Have I Ever, Netflix's perpetually underrated teen show On My Block does just that as it follows four misfit friends as they begin high school in a fictional inner-city L.A. neighborhood called Freeridge. Also like Never Have I Ever, On My Block is able to balance sometimes wildly different tones: The adventures of Monsé (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), Jamal (Brett Gray), and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) range from wild and wacky comedy (the gnomes, anything involving Jamal, the gloriousness that is Jasmine) to heartbreaking drama as they navigate life in their neighborhood that is sometimes riddled with violence and the changing dynamics of their friendships as they get older.
The 2020 reboot of Saved By the Bell honestly had no business being as good as it was, but here we are! The series sees a new crop of students filling the halls of Bayside High — some with connections to OG characters — where familiar faces like Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley Lauren) and Slater (Mario Lopez) have joined the faculty because this is a reboot and how else were the writers going to get their characters involved in it? The show is bright, bold, and features whip-smart comedy that comes at you fast (all things you might also say about Never Have I Ever), while also tackling important subject matter like socio-economic disparity in education (but, like, in a funny way). The show gets better and better as the season moves forward and the core group of students we're following have an easy and endearing chemistry. And yes, it's true, Zack Attack does perform a reunion concert. Friends forever, indeed.
Sure, Never Have I Ever is a high school show, but one of its strongest elements is far and away the complicated relationship between Devi and her mother Nalini. Mohan always acted as a bridge between the mother and daughter who simply never understood one another, and with his passing, they are forced to confront their issues — it's not an easy relationship. If you're looking for an equally as interesting mother/teen daughter TV relationship, you should dive into Parenthood. The NBC ensemble drama explored all sorts of family dynamics as it followed the sprawling Braverman clan over its six seasons, but one of the standouts is single mom and oldest Braverman sister Sarah (Lauren Graham) and her daughter Amber (Mae Whitman). The two butt heads a lot but tend to make up in poignant, teary-eyed scenes that'll move you. When Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman cry, you cry. It's the law, I think. In a show full of special moments, watching this mother/daughter relationship evolve over the years will definitely stick with you.
One of the great tricks Never Have I Ever pulls off is that it parades around as a teen show when it's really a show about grief. Okay, fine, it's both — but the grief stuff is really compelling. The show lets Devi, a teenage girl, be angry and confused as she deals with the death of her father and then gives us other shades of grief in Nalini's sadness and frustration. Another series that provides an authentic look at the grieving process is Facebook Watch's Sorry For Your Loss. This lovely show is unfortunately only two seasons long, but it packs a lot of emotion into its short run. Elizabeth Olsen is excellent as Leigh, a woman trying to put her life back together after the sudden death of her husband Matt (Mamoudou Athie). It runs the gamut of emotions from heartbreaking to funny to uplifting and boasts a great supporting cast with Janet McTeer as Leigh's mother, Kelly Marie Tran as Leigh's recovering alcoholic younger sister, and Jovan Adepo as Matt's brother Danny, with whom Leigh has an increasingly complicated relationship. Oh! And Never Have I Ever fans will appreciate a pop-in from Nalini herself — Poorna Jagannathan plays Matt's therapist in a flashback.
Whether you're Team Paxton or Team Ben, if you're a fan of Never Have I Ever, you must be a fan of great TV love triangles. In Season 2, the series really kicks its central triangle up a notch as Devi juggles her feelings for both guys in her life — but also don't sleep on the great triangle forming over in cousin Kamala's orbit. Should you be in need of more love triangles to debate over, you should spend some time in Bluebell, Alabama, the small town where NYC doctor Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) ends up taking on her late father's practice. That show is boiling over with great love triangles, most of them overlapping and all of them so strong that you'll go back and forth on who you want to end up together several times throughout the series. Wade or George? George or Lavon? Zoe or Lemon? Lemon or Annabeth? I know it seems like I'm just naming random characters and also maybe fruit, but I'm not — all of those are actual people and are all involved in love triangles on this show. If you know, you know, but if you don't know, you should watch Hart of Dixie and find out. It's an easy, breezy rom-com full of small town eccentricities and lots of kissing. What more could you want, really?