By Shaurya Thapa
From iconic TV prequels to historical hustle stories, fans of Power Book III: Raising Kanan have a lot of other shows to binge on.
Power started out as a crime thriller dealing with the struggles of Ghost, a ruthless drug dealer who also wishes to pursue a legitimate business like starting a club. The overwhelming success of the six-season run has now spawned various spinoffs, with the second season of Power Book III: Raising Kanan having started in August.
A prequel story on the rise of Kanan (50 Cent's character in Power) amid the drug business of the 1990s, the show delves into themes of crime, social inequality and an empathetic underdog story. Such recurring sentiments would propel fans towards several more drug-centric dramas that humanize their protagonists more instead of just glamorizing their exploits.
Better Call Saul (2015–22)
Stream On Netflix
Saul Goodman was one of the best characters of Breaking Bad for several fans to the point that the lawyer got his very own spin-off. Garnering positive reviews from both critics and dedicated fans of the original show, the legal thriller deals with an ex-con who acquires a new identity as a small-time attorney who gets embroiled in all sorts of criminal and personal journeys.
For the character transitions that it shows and the way it eventually connects with Breaking Bad makes Better Call Saul a benchmark for TV prequels especially in the crime genre. Hence, without a doubt, fans of a prequel like Raising Kanan must watch a show like this which some even considered as a gold standard of modern television.
Stream on Hulu
As the city of Los Angeles gets embroiled in a massive crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s, a family decides to cash in on the crisis. It is well-established in history now that corrupt authority figures played a huge role in peddling the drugs especially in black-dominated neighborhoods. The narrative incorporates this angle as a CIA operative also joins in the crime family's business.
For all the emotional drama it shows in a drug-addicted decade, Snowfall serves as a worthy prequel to Raising Kanan which itself deals with the after-effects of the drug epidemic in the 1990s.
Stream On Hulu
Dopesick is a quintessential miniseries when it comes to understanding the opioid epidemic and how it was furthered by big pharmaceutical companies in America. The 2020 Hulu original TV show also covers the adverse negative impact these so-called 'legal drugs' can have on the general population.
In Raising Kanan, we see a young and hopeless teenager make his money and find his identity in the world of illegal drugs. But ultimately, he is a part of a morally and financially corrupt system that includes drugs pushed by companies like Dopesick's Purdue Pharma. In this sense, the Michael Keaton-starrer makes for an increasingly relevant watch.
Top Boy (2011–present)
Set in the housing estates of East London, Top Boy blends socio-political drama, crime thriller antics, and some deadpan sarcasm to tell the tale of a 20-year-old drug dealer who wishes to be the "top boy" of his neighborhood. Another parallel story deals with a gifted teenager from the same region who must grow up on his own terms as he comes from a troubled household.
In more ways than one, Top Boy's protagonists are reminiscent of the everyday hustle of a character like Kanan. Audiences get a glimpse of the dangers that plague them along with an occasional hint of hope as they ultimately try to pursue a normal life.
Godfather Of Harlem (2019–present)
Stream On Hulu
Based on the life of the crime boss Bumpy Johnson, Godfather of Harlem set in the 1960s provides for one of Forest Whitaker's best performances as he owns the role with an intimidating charm. As he clashes against the Genovese crime family after serving a ten-year prison sentence, the mob war can tear the whole city apart. And if this weren’t enough, Johnson also has close ties with rising political leader Malcolm X, intensifying the drama.
Raising Kanan attempts to be the criminal origin story that doesn’t really glamorize the life of violence and drugs the protagonist is forced to choose. In this sense, Bumpy Johnson’s morally ambiguous journey would provide for interesting conversation and must be watched by fans of Power.
How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (2019–present)
Stream On Netflix
The title itself is enough to draw in audiences for a good, fast-paced binge. The German-language Netflix comedy series starts off with a young man impressing his former girlfriend by selling drugs on the internet. This eventually turns into a profitable venture for him to the point that he becomes one of Europe's biggest drug dealers!
The mix of dark comedy and coming-of-age tropes in How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast) would make it a light-hearted segue from other drug-centric shows that often deal with heavier themes.
Stream On Starz
BMF aka Black Mafia Family is the tale of two brothers as they rise from nothing to start an elaborate drug and money-laundering organization that spans across several territories in America. Apart from covering the BMF’s rise to power (a real-life collective on whose history the show is loosely inspired by), the show also covers the social and financial crisis in the streets of Detroit in the 1980s.
Much like Raising Kanan and the other shows in the Power franchise, BMF highlights the essence of what it calls “thug capitalism” as a means to get closer to the American Dream. Another reason for fans of Raising Kanan to check it out is that 50 Cent also serves as executive producer.
We Own This City (2022)
Stream On HBO Max
A spiritual successor to one of the best HBO TV shows The Wire, We Own This City yet again sets the action in Baltimore, a city that still continues to be haunted by institutional crime and the drug trade. Incorporating several parallel perspectives of different characters within the justice system, the miniseries weaves a complicated story of morality and crime.
Shows like Raising Kanan and We Own This City are very different in terms of their plot but with enough heavy-minded themes, both shows succeed at presenting how seemingly innocent people get transformed by the systems in which they are forced to exist, for better or for worse.
Animal Kingdom (2016–22)
Stream On Netflix
After a personal tragedy, a man starts living with his grandmother only to discover that is the matriarch of a criminal clan of which his cousin brothers are also a part of. As the protagonist ambitiously climbs up the family ladder, a struggle for loyalty and power is bound to commence.
The family dynamics and emphasis on loyalty and brotherhood in the Australian series is what would instantly draw fans of Raising Kanan. Even though these are clichéd elements in the pantheon of crime dramas, Animal Kingdom reinvents them pretty well with some dark humor and good, old family drama.
Stream On Netflix
When it comes to shows on the history of the drug trade, Narcos is an easy option. Delving deep into the illegal drug trade in Colombia, the show charts the rise of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and his interactions with his trade rivals and Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
Of course, Raising Kanan’s characters have their reasons for capitalising on drugs, but there is a certain level of empathy that they evoke. Narcos might not have its share of likeable characters but for the sheer knowledge that it provides, it demands a viewing.Next: 10 Main Characters In Power Book IV: Force, Ranked By Bravery