RuPaul’s Drag Race has been instrumental in bringing the art of drag to the mainstream. Since its first season premiered in 2009, the show has spawned a number of franchises around the world—making death drops, tongue pops, and lip-syncing for your life a huge part of pop culture.
But while we’re waiting with bated breath and high heels for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 and All Stars Season 9, there are plenty of other shows to keep the avid Drag Race fan occupied. Here are our top picks.
America’s Next Top Model (2003-2012)
The end goal of America’s Next Top Model is discovering the next supermodel from a line-up of model hopefuls. The girls have to go through weekly modeling challenges — from editorial photoshoots to strutting down the runway in couture teeming with bedazzled live cockroaches.
Based on the girls’ performances, host and supermodel Tyra Banks then announces an elimination (or the lack of one). It’s a format that Drag Race fans are familiar with — Tyra Banks smized so RuPaul could amen!
Watch America’s Next Top Model on: Hulu Plus
FX’s Pose is a drama series set in 1980s New York at the height of the AIDS pandemic. It follows the lives of the queer Afro-American and Latinx communities that struggled for acceptance and support from mainstream society and within the LGBT+ community itself. Their adversities pushed them to find a home and family with each other, much like most Ru girls who become sisters.
It was also during this time that ball culture really took shape. Pose showcases several scenes where drag queens and kings walk down the runway in specific categories. It also demonstrates the camaraderie and, occasionally, rivalry in drag houses. There’s great trans representation, insightful drag history, and even a memorable queer wedding scene. And perhaps most importantly, Pose shows how the LGBT+ community can rally around and for each other.
Watch Pose on: Hulu
Queer Eye (2018–)
Queer Eye is a reboot of the hugely successful 2003 Bravo series of the same name. Like its predecessor, Netflix’s Queer Eye centers around a candidate in need of a makeover. And it’s not just any old makeover either — it’s a series of life-changing adjustments with the help of the “Fab Five,” a group of charismatic lifestyle experts who happen to be queer.
Each Fab Five member oversees a different aspect of the candidate’s life, namely, food and drink, design, grooming, culture and lifestyle, and fashion. Acting as advisors and life coaches, the Fab Five lends their queer eye to help people improve their life and relationships.
Watch Queer Eye on: Netflix
The Real Housewives of New York City (2008—)
The Real Housewives franchise is one of Bravo’s largest. There’s an installment in almost every major state in the US—and, very recently, in Dubai! However, RuPaul’s Drag Race fans would be remiss to sit out the Real Housewives of New York City. The New York installment produced some of the most iconic housewives, including Luann “The Duchess” de Lesseps and the first openly queer housewife in the entire franchise, Jenna Lyons.
Although the housewives themselves are extremely wealthy, they’re entertaining to watch. The audience gets to tag along on expensive shopping trips to designer boutiques and 5-star vacations in exotic destinations. But it’s not all sunshine and laughter because the housewives can get catty, and the drama is gag for. Drag Race fans who love fashion, extravagance, and drama will not be left wanting.
Watch The Real Housewives of New York City on: Bravo
Euphoria may not be as light and funny as the other shows on this list, but it’s definitely worth watching. The show follows a group of high schoolers who are coming to grips with reality and growing up. This includes discovering their gender identities and sexualities.
The main characters are a mixed bag of different personalities. You get a lesbian with a substance abuse issue, a transfer student who’s trans, and a closeted jock, to name a few. The storyline would strike a chord with RuPaul’s Drag Race fans, who are invested in how people’s formative years shape who they are as adults. Cue: emotional werk room conversations.
Watch Euphoria on: Netflix and Apple TV
Legendary enjoyed a three-season run on Max. It’s a voguing reality show where contestants are grouped into “houses” à la drag ballroom culture. Each house battles each other in balls and dance battles. Pop culture icons are invited to judge these battles, so keep an eye out for Law Roach’s reads and burns.
Voguing, death drops, and gravity-defying dance moves abound in Legendary. The contestants put on jaw-dropping performances on the runway in each episode, dancing to beats straight out of the drag ball scene.
Watch Legendary on: Amazon Prime Video and Netflix
Gaycation was a flagship docuseries by Viceland starring Elliot Page and Ian Daniel. Together, the two travel across the world and take viewers on vacation through the LGTBQIA+ lens. Not only do they explore breathtaking sites and experience foreign cultures, but they also dive into queer existence in various destinations.
As Page and Daniel immerse themselves in the LGBT+ communities across the globe, they talk to members of these communities and talk about their struggles and triumphs. These interactions provide the hosts with a good soundboard, demonstrating how important it is to go outside of your bubble. After all, society is bigger than the microcosm of your friends and immediate community.
Watch Gaycation on: Vice TV
Kill La Kill (2013)
Going a bit beyond the box, Kill La Kill is an animated series a Drag Race fan would definitely enjoy. Upon first look, Kill La Kill may look like a typical high school anime, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The story takes place in a special school where students are issued magic-wielding uniforms that give them superhuman abilities. This concept is absolutely at par with drag and how outfits and clothes can help transform you into someone else.
Kill La Kill is over-the-top and unhinged, especially since the students are trying to solve a murder. The plot is always thickening and completely sickening. Only one season has been released so far, but fans are still hoping for a second season after all these years.
Watch Kill La Kill on: Crunchyroll
The Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023)
The Ultimatum: Queer Love is an installment of The Ultimatum franchise released during pride season in 2023. It follows the premise of the other Ultimatum seasons, where couples on the brink of marriage or breaking up have to make a definitive choice. This season is particularly special, though, as it features a queer cast.
It’s filled with big characters, not unlike the queens we know and love on Drag Race. We follow the cast through saccharine sweet moments down to the emotional meltdowns. Most reality TV series that center on love and marriage tend to be pretty heteronormative, so The Ultimatum: Queer Love is a complete showstopper.
Watch The Ultimatum: Queer Love on: Netflix
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-2023)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is undoubtedly one of Amazon Prime’s most successful productions. The drama-comedy has been bagging award after award since it first came out in 2017. In 2023, the show has a total of 80 Emmy nominations and 7 wins under its belt—and for good reason. It captivates viewers with its witty humor and charming characters.
The show follows the title character, Midge Maisel, a typical New York wife turned comedienne in 1950s America. Clad in gorgeous structured dresses, Mrs. Maisel navigates the city’s intricate comedy circuit. The goal for her is to earn a spot on the Tonight Show. She smashes heteronormative stereotypes in the process and sharp, funny lines along the way.
Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on: Amazon Prime
If you’re a fan of makeup looks like the ones from RuPaul’s Drag Race, then Glow Up is right up your alley. The reality competition brings together a group of talented makeup artists looking to move up in the UK beauty industry. The show also features an impressive panel of judges, including industry stars Dominic Skinner and Val Garland. There are also guest judges and mentors, like Drag Race UK queens Cheddar Gorgeous, Black Peppa, and Victoria Scone.
Glow Up pushes the boundaries of makeup artistry. With each new season, the BBC Three show proves that there are no rules when it comes to makeup and beauty.
Watch Glow-Up on: Netflix