If you liked Baby Reindeer.. 20 more dark, compelling shows to stream (2024)

The true story of a comedian whose life is plagued by a stalker, Baby Reindeer has had viewers captivated.

So what other dark, compelling shows are out there?

If you loved Baby Reindeer, you'll also be gripped by these choices - from a psychological thriller about a social media-obsessed fraudster to the tale of a writer who starts having flashbacks after a night out and realises that her drink was spiked.

Our critics have trawled through hundreds of options to bring you the most compelling - and disturbing - shows to stream right now.

Chloe

Psychological thriller about a social media obsessed fraudster

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

'I like to decide how people see me,' says Becky, the protagonist of this six-part psychological thriller - a sentiment no doubt shared by many on social media.

When we first meet Becky (Erin Doherty, who first made a splash as the young Princess Anne in series 3 and 4 of The Crown), she's leading a pretty grey life, living with her sick mum and working as a temp. But Becky adds colour to her days by pretending to be other people and playing cuckoo in the nest.

Fascinated by a beautiful woman called Chloe (Poppy Gilbert), whom she follows avidly, Becky is blindsided when Chloe dies suddenly, and takes the bold and reckless step of going deeper into her make-believe world by inserting herself into Chloe's inner circle. (One series)

Am I Being Unreasonable?

BAFTA-nominated comedy about a mum with a dark secret

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

Nic is unhappily married and her life revolves around reality TV, hiding from the cleaner and moaning about stuck-up school mums. Only her hilariously mature child, Ollie (Lenny Rush), keeps her sane, until new mum in town Jen arrives on the scene. This wickedly funny thriller is written by and stars real-life best friends Daisy May Cooper (This Country) and Selin Hizli as Nic and Jen, who laugh through life's lows - helped along by gin and Love Island jokes.

This is no traditional sitcom though - it often sweeps the rug from beneath our feet as we come to realise that Nic and Jen aren't quite the people we first thought they were. Cooper and Rush received well-deserved BAFTA nominations for their brilliant performances as mother and son. (Six episodes)

I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel writes and stars in this extraordinary exploration of sexual consent

Year: 2020

Certificate: 18

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

The multi-talented Michaela Coel (Black Earth Rising) created, wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in this stunning Bafta-nominated drama. She plays Arabella, a social media star turned writer who starts having flashbacks after a night out and realises that her drink was spiked in a bar and that she was raped. Over the course of 12 half-hour episodes, we see the impact this has on Arabella's life as she struggles to come to terms with what happened to her.

The tone switches between harrowing and hilarious as Coel explores a whole range of complex and difficult issues including sexual trauma, social media, race and shame. Look out for The Lazarus Project's Paapa Essiedu as Arabella's friend Kwame, whose heartbreaking subplot scrutinises the different forms of consent. Don't expect any neat conclusions here. (12 episodes)

Lover, Stalker, Killer

Online dating turns into deceit and murder in this documentary

Year: 2024

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

When newly single man Dave Kroupa decided to dip his toe into the murky waters of online dating, he thought he'd made it clear to the women he met that he wasn't looking for anything serious. But then two of the women he'd been seeing accidentally meet, and soon Kroupa is getting an increasingly scary and threatening string of text messages from one of them that accuse him of ruining her life...

The gripping tale of obsession and vengeance that follows is quite terrifying. And that's before a twist halfway through proceedings throws everything you think you know about the case upside down. (90 minutes)

Ripley

Andrew Scott stars in an eight-part take on the 1960s-set con artist story

Year: 2024

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

The 1999 movie of Patricia Highsmith's novel, The Talented Mr Ripley, left you wanting more of the con artist character at its centre. Andrew Scott gives you just that in Netflix's eight-part take on the same source material, following Ripley from New York to Italy as he insinuates himself into the life of clueless American playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) and his justly suspicious fiancée, Marge (Dakota Fanning).

Set in sunny Italy but filmed in black and white, the series has much more space to give us a rounded portrait of Ripley, to the extent that you may even find yourself sympathising with him early on: he's ripped off by an Italian taxi driver and trudges around the country, unable to speak the language, desperately looking for his ticket to a better life.

You see a lot of his struggle, in short - perhaps a little too much for some tastes. Still, it scarcely matters as Scott is, of course, brilliant in the lead. The character of Ripley is a mimic and Scott, as an actor, is fantastic at that - when he starts to copy Dickie it's genuinely unsettling and weirdly accurate, despite the fact that Scott looks nothing like Flynn. And that performance is allowed to stand largely on its own, with no fancy cuts and barely any background music. Flynn and Fanning are both excellent too, and Fanning in particular does a lot with a look. But this is Scott's show, and justly so. (Eight episodes)

The Ex-Wife

Thriller about a woman's search for her missing husband and child

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Paramount+

Watch now on My5

This high-concept, four-part thriller asks just how much you can trust your partner's ex, as a chilling story of disappearances and deception plays out. Tasha (Celine Buckens, so brilliant in the BBC drama Showtrial) looks like she has the perfect life with a loving, handsome husband and a beautiful child. But she also has her husband Jack's ex-wife, Jen, to contend with, a lingering presence who seems unable to let her former partner out of her life.

When Jack and their baby mysteriously vanish, though, Tasha has no choice but to turn to Jen for help. Full of twists and turns, this is a teasing, chilling tale that unsettles at every opportunity, leaving you constantly wondering who to believe and who to trust. (Four parts)

The Catch

Jason Watkins plays a fisherman drowning in disasters in a psychological thriller

Year: 2023

Certificate: pg

Watch now on My5

If you enjoyed the Channel 5 drama The Holiday with Jill Halfpenny, tune into this four-part psychological mystery, which is adapted from a novel by the same writer, TM Logan. It's set on the south-west coast, where we meet a man on rocky straits, played by the rather brilliant Jason Watkins - an actor who can appear lost and defiant in a single look.

He plays fisherman Ed Collier, and the drama doesn't hang about, painting a picture of Ed as a man on the edge, under pressure from multiple fronts. Not only is his business struggling, but Ed is also haunted by the harrowing death of his son 15 years previously. His daughter, Abbie, has a new boyfriend, Ryan, and the wildly overprotective Ed is instantly suspicious of this rich and handsome stranger. It's clear that Ed is only moments away from well and truly losing the plot - but what is he hiding? And surely Ryan is too good to be true?

The cast is impressive all round, with Oscar winner Brenda Fricker as Ed's mother-in-law, and rising stars Poppy Gilbert (from the BBC drama Chloe) and Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk and Netflix's 1899) as Ryan. (One series)

You

Creepy serial killer thriller that became a smash hit

Year: 2018-

Certificate: 18

Watch now on Netflix

You is one of Netflix's biggest hits, although it actually started out on the Lifetime channel in the US before the streamer snapped it up, and transformed the serial killer thriller into a global smash. Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley sets the skin crawling as our star, New York bookstore manager Joe, who seems OK at first - if a bit sleazy and pleased with himself - but reveals a darker side when he becomes obsessed with a customer. Joe narrates the series and pulls at our sympathies as his crimes mount over the course of the show. He's smart and funny, so easy to listen to and even start to understand or possibly root for - but he is, undoubtedly, a monster.

Series two finds Joe moving to Los Angeles and finding a new obsession, while the third heads to the Californian suburbs and gives us a dark love story that's reminiscent of Dexter. The fourth goes international, taking Joe to London and (briefly) Paris. The show really does strain credulity at times, but you don't watch this for kitchen sink drama. You is a truly addictive show that veers from unbearably tense to gasp-out-loud audacious, with flashes of humour to lighten the dark mood. (Four series)

Beef

Two people's lives are consumed by a road-rage incident

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

Everyone who drives can relate to a sense of irritation at other people on the road. Who are all these selfish people? Why are they making our lives difficult by driving like idiots? Have they never heard of indicating?

A road-rage incident is the trigger for Netflix's drama from studio-of-the moment A24, the company behind Everything Everywhere All At Once. The two people involved (played by The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun and the comedian Ali Wong) are both at the ends of their tether with their own lives, and the rage-fuelled moment steadily consumes both of them as it escalates well beyond the road into a comically vicious tit-for-tat. The question you have while watching is, will the expression of all this rage lead to a good place? While you wait to find out, the exploration of both their lives introduces us to some fascinating characters, and watch out in particular for the close-ups on Wong's face. She conveys a lot with a little. (Ten episodes)

The House Across The Street

Unsettling psychological thriller about the disappearance of a young girl

Certificate: pg

Watch now on My5

Life has not been treating Claudia well. A divorced single mother, recovering from cancer, she shares custody of her 12-year-old son Rhys with her ex-husband, and works as a nurse at a primary school.

Claudia is lonely, feeling her life is devoid of meaning as she struggles to make a connection with Rhys or her colleagues at the school. When a five-year-old girl, Emily, goes missing from the local playground, Claudia finds herself drawn to the girl's parents, and becomes ever more obsessed with the case. Meanwhile, she's slowly growing closer to George, a mysterious new teacher at the school, who's recently moved to the area.

Shirley Henderson stars as Claudia, with Line Of Duty's Craig Parkinson as George, in this unsettling four-part psychological thriller. The case then takes a darker turn and Claudia begins to come under suspicion - but is she simply seeking a sense of belonging in the community, or does she know more about the child's disappearance than she is prepared to admit? (One series)

Cheat

A row between a university lecturer and one of her students fatally escalates

Year: 2019

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Acorn TV

After the success of the 2017 drama Liar, those Williams brothers (also behind The Missing and Baptiste) are up to their old tricks again. This time you have to decide who's the innocent party between university lecturer Dr Leah Dale (Katherine Kelly) and her student Rose (Molly Windsor).

After Leah accuses Rose of cheating in one of her essays, things start to escalate to deranged levels as the two women become engaged in a battle of wills that will have fatal consequences. It's a tense thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. (Four episodes)

Liar

Joanne Froggatt's teacher accuses Ioan Gruffudd's smarmy surgeon of date-rape

Year: 2017-2020

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Acorn TV

In the first series of this thriller, teacher Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) goes on a date with a handsome surgeon Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd). They go back to her place and drink more wine. She says the evening ended in rape. He says it was consensual sex. One of them is lying, and the police prove less than helpful.

There were plenty of twists and turns and Froggatt's and Gruffudd's performances were good enough to keep audiences guessing. It was real watercooler TV. The second series - one too many for some - strained credibility to breaking point and beyond. Still, the ending was satisfying if unlikely. (Two series)

Candy

Jessica Biel stars as a churchgoer - and suspected axe-murderer

Year: 2022

Certificate: 18

Watch now on Disney+

Almost unrecognisable under a curly wig and a set of false teeth, Jessica Biel is icily hard to read as Candy Montgomery, a seemingly perfect church-going wife and mother in 1980s Texas. Seemingly perfect? Well, yes, because after her best friend Betty's brutal murder with an axe, the police discover that Candy had been having an affair with the dead woman's husband. Surely Candy can't also have been the one who wielded the axe that killed Betty - can she?

This engrossing thriller based on real events plays out over five parts shot through with perfect period detail and some great performances. Apart from the fantastic Biel, there's a beautifully understated passive-aggressive turn from Yellowjackets' Melanie Lynskey as the ill-fated Betty. (One series)

Can I Tell You A Secret?

Terrifying documentary about the hunt for an online stalker

Year: 2024

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

A message containing the words 'Can I tell you a secret?' dropping into their mailboxes was just the start of a nightmare for a number of British women. The man behind the message went on to infiltrate not just their lives but those of their family and friends, spreading discord and misery and threatening to destroy everything they held dear.

This tough, intimate and more than a little scary two-part documentary, produced by Louis Theroux, uses testimony from the women targeted to shape an account of the hunt for the man behind the online attacks, a hunt which ultimately ended up with a British judge handing down one of the toughest sentences ever seen for online stalking. (Two episodes)

Swarm

An obsession with a pop star turns bloody in this creepy seven-parter

Year: 2023

Certificate: 18

Watch now on Prime Video

Brace yourself for the experience of this US series, as a young woman named Dre's fascination with a Beyonce-esque pop star takes her - and us - on a journey into some very dark places indeed. Donald Glover of Atlanta fame turns his attention to something much less gently funny and much more horror-based for this TV project, penning a weird, unsettling and bloody seven-part tale of modern obsession that's guaranteed to fascinate and disturb.

It's far from just a horror show, too - there's a real social message under the story about what happens when people get left behind in society. One markedly different episode, late on in the run (no spoilers here), really does a great job of pointing that out without spelling it out.

Rising star Dominique Fishback (from Judas And The Black Messiah) stars in a show that oozes tense psychological menace all the way through, and features a role for Paris Jackson - daughter of Michael - as Hailey. (Seven episodes)

The Stranger

Richard Armitage stars in a twisty British mystery based on Harlan Coben's novel

Year: 2020

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

A young woman in a baseball hat wreaks havoc as she reveals long-buried secrets to those they will harm the most. Violence, blackmail and even death seem to follow in her wake. When she crosses the path of family man Adam Price (Obsession's Richard Armitage), she tells him something that he never even suspected about his wife Corinne (Smother's Dervla Kirwan). When Corinne then goes missing, Adam begins a desperate hunt to find her and unravel the identity of the stranger.

A powerful and intriguing mini-series with an excellent cast (Anthony Head, Stephen Rea, Siobhan Finneran, Paul Kaye and Jennifer Saunders all also appear), this is a dark, tense mystery that hides its secrets well. It's also typical of the shows that are based on Harlan Coben's page-turner novels so, if you like it, seek out Safe, Hold Tight and Stay Close - all of which are on Netflix as well. (Eight episodes)

Watcher

A young woman fears she's being stalked in this tense psycho thriller

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Sky

Watch now on NOW

After moving to Bucharest with her boyfriend, young American Julia (The Guest's Maika Monroe) notices a man watching her from the window of an apartment across the street. Is she being paranoid or is he really spying on her? Surely he can't be connected to The Spider, the serial killer terrorising the city by abducting and then beheading young women?

Jumpy and effective, this is a neat and tense psychological thriller with some proper thrills. Monroe makes a convincingly non-wimpy lead, while the presence of Brit Burn Gorman (The Offer, Jamestown) in the cast adds some quality creepiness to proceedings. (96 minutes)

The Tinder Swindler

How a con man wooed women online and swindled them out of millions

Year: 2022

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

The scale of the con revealed in this documentary is breathtaking. We start small, with the dating app romance between Cecilie Fjellhoy and a man she believes to be diamond billionaire who swept her up into a luxury life of private jets that wasn't at all what it seemed. It ended up costing her, and the other women who were unknowingly financing that lifestyle between them, very dearly indeed.

One of the worst things about it all is that you can so easily see how it happened, because of the heartbreakingly open way in which Cecilie - who is quite the romantic - describes her excitement at the first flush of their relationship. (114mins)

Clip contains swearing.

The Secrets She Keeps

Downton Abbey's Laura Carmichael stars in this dark thriller about two pregnant women

Year: 2020

Watch now on BBC iPlayer

On the surface, this six-part Australian drama is about two very different women - but they're both pregnant, both alone in different ways, and both have a secret. One of the women is Agatha, played by Downton's Laura Carmichael, with gentle eyes and a shy smile as if she were the most defenceless creature alive. The other is the beautiful influencer Meghan (The Couple Next Door's Jessica De Gouw), who seems to have it all, but her husband's money troubles and lack of interest in her have created an atmosphere ripe for deception.

When the two women meet by chance and a horrible crime takes place, they both fight to conceal the truth. Trust us, once you start watching, you won't be able to stop. (Two series)

Wilderness

Jenna Coleman stars in an exhilarating revenge thriller

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Prime Video

How many dramas have you watched that start with a couple who seem to have it all, but don't? Quite a few, we'd wager, but don't let the familiarity of the set-up put you off this exhilarating tale of revenge between husband and wife Will (The Haunting Of Hill House's Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Liv (Jenna Coleman), a woman who has sacrificed her independence to join his high-flying life in New York.

Needless to say, he has an affair - and the way Coleman conveys Liv's rage, hurt and determination through the twists of what follows is something very special, and deserves awards recognition. There's more here that defies expectation and keeps you guessing, but we won't go into that for obvious reasons. What we will say is that this drama also looks the absolute business, from its plush indoor locations to some stunning outdoor filming (the Grand Canyon is one stop on the couple's road trip) and, in possibly its most expensive move, the opening credits boast a re-recorded version of Taylor Swift's Look What You Made Me Do.

So, what exactly did he make her do? You'll have to watch to find out. (Six episodes)

If you liked Baby Reindeer.. 20 more dark, compelling shows to stream (2024)

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