Loki: Best Shows to Watch If You’re Missing the God of Mischief

TV

The God of mischief might be off in a different timeline prepping for a second season but we still need something to put in our eyes. Assuming you’ve already binged the MCU shows WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’ve rounded up some other great series that could scratch that Loki-shaped itch. Some of these are spiritually similar, some are great showcases of Loki’s cast and others explore similar themes. All are crackers though and well worth setting your tempad for. 

Flowers

Flowers cast pic Sophia de Martino Olivia Colman Julian Barratt

This Brit black comedy which aired on Channel 4 in the UK ran for two seasons, each equally special. Is it similar to Loki? Not at face value, but it does feature a stand out turn from Sophia Di Martino who stole the show as female Loki, Sylvie. Written by Will Sharpe, it’s the story of a highly dysfunctional family, with Julian Barrett and Olivia Coleman as parents on the verge of separation and Di Martino and Daniel Rigby as their troubled twins. Flowers is surreal, magical realistic, gothic and often bleak while remaining funny and moving at all times. Not a big world-hopping show like Loki, then, but it does tackle existential crisis head on, and it’ll only make you love Di Martino more. RF

Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country poster cropped

Like many Marvel projects, the Loki TV series has a deep bench of impressive acting talent. One of the most undersung (and honestly underutilized) members of the first season’s cast was Wunmi Mosaku, aka Hunter B-15, who was asked to depict a deep and abrupt change in loyalties over the course of six episodes. Mosaku pulls it off, mostly because she is a phenomenal actress. If you’re looking to see more of her work, look no further than HBO’s Lovecraft Country (but also watch In the Flesh, in which Mosaku plays the Season 2 antagonist), which also features He Who Remains’ Jonathan Majors in the main cast. (A two-fer!) Mosaku plays Ruby Baptiste, a Black singer living in 1950s Southside Chicago in this social horror. Come for Wunmi Mosaku and Jonathan Majors, stay for… Wunmi Mosaku and Jonathan Majors, but also for a TV series that has more supernatural twists than even the most bonkers episode of Loki. KB

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty

If your favorite part of Loki was the existence of a thriving multiverse, then we’ve got some good news. Beloved Adult Swim series Rick and Morty (that also admittedly can have an overzealous fandom) is all about the storytelling joy that multiverses can provide. Mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty Smith reside in a plane of infinite universes and therefore infinite possibilities for bizarre adventure. Rick and Morty alum Michael Waldron served as Loki‘s head writer and the writing staff consisted of several more vets of the animated hit. Fans of Loki’s many variants will certainly enjoy encountering the countless versions of Rick, Morty, and their family. Just wait until you meet Lawyer Morty. Look at the little guy go! AB

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Doctor Who

Doctor-Who-The-Fires-of-Pompeii-David-Tennant-and-Catherine-Tate

Not an original comparison, but one that absolutely stands up. After all, what was Loki episode three if not Doctor Who gifted a Disney budget? Nexus Events, the Sacred Timeline, doomed moons, memory reactivation… almost everything about Loki has one foot in the world of Doctor Who. The Marvel series may have had Time Keepers instead of Time Lords,  variants instead of regenerations, and an alligator in place of… well, which Doctor would be the most likely to eat a cat? (Troughton’s, obviously), but there’s common DNA here. The really good news for the Loki fan who hasn’t already travelled with the Doctor(s) through space and time is that instead of just six episodes, there are roughly 10 billion of them plus novelisations, audio adventures, comic strips, videogames and a TV movie. Allons-y! LM

The Night Manager

Tom Hiddleston’s bum. But also this is an excellent series adapted from the novel of the same name by John le Carré and directed by Oscar winner Susanne Bier. Hiddleston plays Jonathan Pine, manager of a luxury hotel who gets recruited to infiltrate the inner sanctum of Hugh Laurie’s violent and volatile arms dealer. Olivia Colman co-stars once again (Hiddleston, Laurie and Colman all won Golden Globes for their performances) with a supporting role for Elizabeth Debicki which was very much a precursor for her part in Tenet. Post-Night Manager, Hiddleston was top billed to be the next Bond, so given Tenet basically was Bond but on another timeline, and featured time travel as an integral part, Loki and The Night Manager are basically the same show… RF

Timeless

Timeless TV Show ABC

If you wish Loki had been a bit more of a time-hopping procedural, then we have a show for you. Timeless, which aired on NBC for two too-short seasons from 2016-2018, stars Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, a historian who gets recruited by a secret department within U.S. Homeland Security in order to stop a mysterious organization that has stolen a time machine. Lucy teams up with scientist Rufus and soldier Wyatt, and the three unlikely bedfellows must learn to work together in high-stakes settings like the Hindenburg, Ford’s Theatre, and the Alamo. Co-created by The Boys showrunner Erik Kripke, Timeless has tons of character-driven twists that make the time travel personal, tying together these characters and settings in unexpected ways. KB

Legion

Legion Dan Stevens

Loki is such a bold, creative superhero series that it’s hard to imagine that there’s every been anything quite like it. Believe or not – that’s not entirely true! While Loki is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first big heady sci-fi TV swing, it’s not Marvel’s first overall on television. From 2017 to 2019, Marvel-adjacent property Legion enjoyed a bizarre, colorful three-season run on FX. This series is based on the X-Men character David Haller a.k.a. Legion. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age, David also just happens to be a mutant with nigh-omnipotent powers. This show from Fargo‘s Noah Hawley revels in the strange potential of its premise. Legion is often confusing, but always intriguing. It’s a show that largely replaces superhero battles with dance offs. It’s well worth watching the entire run while you wait for Loki season 2. AB

The OA

The OA Brit Marling

Very different to Loki in tone but very similar in head-messing inter-dimensional WTF-ness, The OA is a strange and beautiful beast. If you could follow the Marvel show’s timeline hopping, then you’ve a strong chance of grasping the madness at play in Netflix’s The OA. It starts off as a story about the return of a woman (played by co-creator Brit Marling) who’s been missing for seven years, and ends up as a story about… parallel dimensions, arcane rituals, experimental physics, sci-fi magic and a kind-of-haunted house. It’s a total trip, in short, and should scratch any itch Loki fans are experiencing for TV of the weird variety. Speaking of which, give us season three, Netflix, you cowards. LM

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap

Before the TVA there was Doctor Sam Beckett. Played by puppy-faced Scott Bakula, Sam is a scientist who invented a “quantum accelerator” (time machine) that randomly transports him back in time to put right events which once went wrong. In each episode of Quantum Leap, Sam wakes up in the body of someone else at a distinct point in history and has to figure out his mission with the help of his best mate, in hologram form, Al (Dean Stockwell). Sam is essentially maintaining the sacred timeline at the expense of his own life and free will, which would make Al…. Miss Minutes? Either way, it’s a hugely good natured show which ran for five seasons and it’s well worth a visit. RF

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Continuum

Continuum poster cropped

Continuum protagonist Kiera (Rachel Nichols) has serious Sylvie energy. While they might not have much in common when it comes to their background—Sylvie is trying to take down the time authorities while Kiera, a cop from the corporate-controlled future, is an authority—they’re both incredibly focused women who will do what they have to in order to achieve their goals. Continuum follows Kiera, when she is unexpectedly stranded in our present. Desperate to get back to her family and her life in the future, Kiera teams up with a teen genius, as well as local detective Carlos Fonnegra. Filled with complex character arcs and alternate timelines, Continuum is a must for any fan of time travel TV. KB

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

Loki’s crime procedural/time-hopping/fantasy cocktail may have been made famous by Quantum Leap, but it achieved its apotheosis (that’s right, five syllables, count ‘em) in BBC One’s Life on Mars. That’s the story of Sam Tyler (John Simm), a Manchester police officer who’s hit by a car in 2006 and wakes up in 1973. Like Loki, Tyler has to piece together what’s really going on behind-the-scenes while running his own investigations. Tyler may not be a God, or have magical powers and other planets to visit, but Life on Mars still took him to some odd and captivating places. It ended prematurely after two seasons (at the request of Simm, who said he wanted to spend more time with his family), after which the tale continued with sequel Ashes to Ashes starring Keeley Hawes. Currently, plans are afoot for a belated third series. LM 

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