If You Liked Stranger Things, Try These Shows

If you have Netflix and even the merest interest in sci-fi, you’ve watched Stranger Things by now. I mean, I have a couple of friends who are managing to watch the series very slowly, one episode at a time, but most of us flew through it in less than a week. My husband and I have actually watched the whole thing twice already, and we’re thinking about a third go-round.

It’s just so good! The characters! The creepiness! The nostalgia! And it’s hard to find something worth watching after you’ve finished such a good show. So here are some ideas for you from a very picky sci-fi/fantasy fan.

On Netflix (streaming)

TV Shows

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I am so pumped that this is on Netflix now! We’ve been trying to tell people about it for a while. We watched it a few months ago via nefarious means, and it is fantastic. We’d both read the wonderful book by Susanna Clarke before watching the series, but I think the show is at least as good as the book in this particular case. I highly recommend it if you have any tolerance for fantasy. It’s not very creepy though, so if you need something creepier, read on.

2. Black Mirror. Everyone said DON’T WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE, so we never have. The episodes we have watched were futuristic and thought-provoking. Not creepy the way Stranger Things is, exactly, but creepy in different ways.

3. The Walking Dead. Super creepy, gory, etc. Fun survival/zombie horror. There’s something that really hooks you, at least for a season and a half, which is when I peaced out.

4. Dark Matter. This one isn’t super great, but it’s entertaining and I enjoyed it, even with my low tolerance for cheesy TV shows. It’s an interesting twist on the motley-band-of-space-pirates theme. Sci-fi, not very creepy, zero nostalgia factor.

5. Freaks and Geeks. You’ve seen this already, right? It’s set in the ’80s, it’s about a teenage girl and her tween brother & their respective groups of friends. I had to mention it because it’s good and it relates to Stranger Things in that way. It’s a comedy, though; not the least bit creepy or fantastical.

Movies

1. Contact. It’s an excellent movie. I hated it when I was a kid, but I get it now. Worth re-watching.

2. Europa Report. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember this one perfectly. I need to re-watch it. But I remember thinking that it deserved a higher rating than it has on most sites.

Not on Netflix

TV Shows

The Magicians1. The Magicians. This is another case where a book I loved was turned into a TV series. Don’t be fooled by the dumb artwork. They did change it in ways I don’t love, but it’s still very good. Rather bloody at times, fun in the way fantasy can be but the characters act like real people in the real, modern world—no orcs or dragons or anything like that. Highly recommended.

Movies

1. Coherence. This movie is one of those mindfuck sort of things. It’s really fun to watch, and creepy in a mostly not horrifying sort of way. Not very related to Stranger Things, but we’ve been telling people about this one for years and I don’t think anyone we know has watched it yet. So please do!

2. Super 8. Okay, the acting isn’t perfect, but it’s a Goonies-type sci-fi that’s related to Stranger Things, so give the kids a break. It’s a fun movie.

3. Under The Skin. There were scenes in Stranger Things that reminded me of this movie, but mainly in a visual way. It’s an odd one, but really interesting. Definitely worth watching.

Nothing really compares to Stranger Things, at least in my mind. But hopefully there will be something on this list that entertains you while we wait for a second season to be made. If you have TV show recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!

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9 thoughts on “If You Liked Stranger Things, Try These Shows

  1. I was considering Freaks and Geeks, except I always hate the weird spot it leaves off due to cancelation.

    We have ONE MORE episode of Stranger Things left. I almost made Mark push play last night but he has more self-control than I do!

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    • Oh, and OITNB is so, so good. Good enough to make me want to slog through both Piper Kerman’s and Cleary Wolters’s books (the former was good, but the latter is … not so much).

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      • I still have not made it to the end of Freaks and Geeks, not sure why. I’m kind of jealous that you made ST last so long for yourself. 😉

        There’s nothing about the premise of OITNB that appeals to me, but I’m going to have to give it a try some day anyway because so many people I know love it.

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  2. Nice blarg post.
    I really love Freaks and Geeks. In fact, I remember sitting down and watching the premiere episode in Belmond with Erik and Phil when we were wee high schoolers. I remember this was one of the first shows I really connected with on a level beyond “this is fun”. The show still really holds up.
    I’ve wondered for a long time now if I should start OITNB. Megan has watched all of it and she loved the first couple seasons, but said it went downhill from there. So knowing that, I’m doubting I’ll ever have the motivation to watch.
    I saw The Magicians was getting not-so-great reviews so I was pretty hesitant there as well. I think you might be the first person I know to recommend it, so I’m putting it back on my radar.
    I do really need to get into Black Mirror too. Anthology shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and Amazing Stories are all some of my favorite shows. I would probably start with the first episode though. I’m unlikely to give up on the first episode of an anthology show. I know there’s always rotten apples in such things.

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    • Our enjoyment of The Magicians may have something to do with the fact that we read the books first, so we already love the story and know where it’s headed. They did an excellent job casting the most important characters, and it’s always fun to see characters brought to life. My real recommendation would be: read books 1 and 2 (1 is a little rough, but keep going!), then watch the show. But that’s a big time commitment to ask for. 😉

      I’m not sure how I had never heard of Amazing Stories before. Definitely want to check that one out!

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      • Ha, I’ve heard such mixed things about the Magicians books as well. But it’s good to hear another recommendation.

        Yeah, Amazing Stories is like a more family-friendly Tales from the Crypt (being produced by Steven Spielberg) They’re sort of from the same era.

        As far as anthology shows go, I would definitely add The Outer Limits (old and new), Tales from the Darkside (’80s horror anthology), and Monsters (another ’80s horror anthology!). And as cheesy as they are, I still love the the Goosebumps TV show and Are You Afraid of the Dark? Megan and I usually watch anthology horror every Halloween season and last year we bought the Are You Afraid of the Dark Seasons 1-5 DVDs off Amazon (they sell a lot of old Nickelodeon shows on there now!). It’s still a lot of fun.

        I still haven’t ever gotten into Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Night Gallery. I need to get on that.

        As far as horror anthology FILMS go, Trick ‘r Treat is still my favorite. We watch that annually as well. Have you seen it?

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      • No, I haven’t. I have steered pretty clear of horror for most of my life (I used to turn SNICK off as soon as the hand-holding-a-match appeared on the screen for Are You Afraid of the Dark?). But in recent years I’ve learned to love alien and zombie horror. Anything with an element of sci-fi or fantasy, really. So I have barely dipped my toe into the world of anthologies—a couple of Twilight Zone episodes is all I can think of.

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  3. Ah, I see. I don’t think Trick ‘r Treat is super scary and the gore is fairly mild. It’s really just a lot of fun and it’s got these 5 anthology-type stories set on Halloween night that all intertwine to some degree by the conclusion. It’s my favorite Halloween film.

    I think the last “horror” film I saw was Crimson Peak, which really wasn’t scary and probably wasn’t meant to be very scary to begin with. It was however, a very beautiful looking movie by Guillermo del Toro. I wasn’t over the moon about it, but I would recommend it.

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