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If you’ve been on the internet at all recently you’ve probably seen some mention of Stranger Things. The Netflix original series 13 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2016 13 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2016 Netflix has released a lot of original content -- including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, and Master of None -- but 2016 is slated to be Netflix's most exciting year yet. Read More created by Matt and Ross Duffer was released in full (comprising eight episodes) on July 15, 2016. Seemingly overnight, the internet couldn’t stop talking about it.

We love this show for several reasons: its on-point casting, its 80s nostalgia and, last but not least, its deeply engrossing plot. In fact, the only real downside of Stranger Things seems to be that no one can stop themselves from binge-watching all eight hours of it.

stranger things

So, what’s a Stranger Things fan to do when they have finished all eight episodes and the next season isn’t due out anytime soon? Below are eight great TV shows 5 Original Web Series That Should Totally Be on TV 5 Original Web Series That Should Totally Be on TV There are a ton of wonderful Web series on YouTube, Vimeo, Blip, Hulu, and others. And some of these are so good they should totally be on "real" television. Read More you can watch on Netflix in the meantime.

While these TV shows are not perfect emulations of the tone, atmosphere, or writing of Stranger Things, they share similar qualities in some regards, which we’ve detailed for you below.

Warning: This post contains mild spoilers about Stranger Things and the other shows mentioned.

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Black Mirror

black mirror

Plot

Black Mirror isn’t so much a series as it is a collection of independent short films, each set in the not-so-distant-future in the UK.

Each episode presents some kind of technology Is Technology Ruining Your Brain? Is Technology Ruining Your Brain? Read More or scenario and then tells the story of people who live in a world with it.

For example, one particularly poignant episode features characters who all use a small implant called a Grain, which records every waking moment of their lives, and can be replayed in real-time. The personal conflicts and lifestyle choices that result from its use raises some well-timed questions for us about where we each draw the line between the kinds of technologies we accept and reject.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

If you’re a general fan of shows set in different time periods, you may like that Black Mirror is set in a slightly futuristic world. This is somewhat similar to the way that Stranger Things was set in the slightly outdated time period of the 80s: both shows take place in times opposite of one another, but are close enough to our current time that we can empathize with the characters and strange situations they face.

As a forewarning, the first episode of Black Mirror is the least characteristic of the show. You don’t need to watch the episodes chronologically at all, and, for many people, I’d recommend watching some of the other episodes first and then coming back to the first one.

Otherwise, you might the wrong impression about the content that will be featured in the rest of the show.

Watch Black Mirror on Netflix now.

The Killing

the killing

Plot

A teenage girl has gone missing in Seattle, Washington. Homicide detective Sarah Linden is about to retire from her job and move across the country when she is assigned to investigate the details of the case with her would-be-replacement, Stephen Holder. As Linden and Holder learn more about the details surrounding the girl’s disappearance, Linden finds herself obsessed with the case and unable to balance it with the rest of her life.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

The dark and sometimes desperate tone of this series is what might make it appeal to fans of Stranger Things.

The Killing is a bit more serious and deals more in real-life criminal events than Stranger Things, but the atmosphere in The Upside-Down, or when we’re watching Will’s mom desperately try to communicate with him, is similar to the impressions left by The Killing, as well.

Both series are also Netflix originals.

Watch The Killing on Netflix now.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

Plot

Laura Palmer, the homecoming queen of Twin Peaks, Washington, has been murdered, and FBI agent Dale Cooper is leading the investigation into her death. As he begins following leads, Cooper comes up with more and more questions, and it seems like the individuals of the town all have secrets.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

Twin Peaks is really only like Stranger Things because of the crime and mystery angles that Laura Palmer’s and Will Byers’ deaths bring to each show.

Much of the underlying plot for the series’ are driven by the other characters’ desire to know what happened, and strange events and revelations surprise viewers throughout both.

However, if you really liked the tone of Stranger Things, there’s a chance Twin Peaks might not be for you. Twin Peaks is somewhat less serious that the ominous and introspective tones How to Calm Your Mind Even in a Busy Office Environment How to Calm Your Mind Even in a Busy Office Environment As our workplaces become busier and more demanding, the idea of maintaining a calm mind might seem like an impossible dream. Some digital solutions lend a hand. Read More of Stranger Things. While Twin Peaks isn’t really a comedy, it does have some campy characteristics that make it come across a little too dramatic for some viewers.

Watch Twin Peaks on Netflix now.

Top of the Lake

top of the lake

Plot

This drama mystery series follows police inspector Robin Griffin, who is called in to question Tui Mitcham, who attempted to drown herself in Laketop, New Zealand. Robin learns that Tui was raped and is pregnant, and begins investigating the details of the crime.

How it’s Like Stranger Things

There’s just something about that small-town vibe that gives mystery and drama shows Got an Amazon Echo? Play Through Its Batman Murder Mystery Got an Amazon Echo? Play Through Its Batman Murder Mystery If you've got an Amazon Echo, Alexa has a fun interactive story about Batman waiting for you! Read More a unique feel, and Top of the Lake, as well as Stranger Things, plays into this.

The series use the small town settings of Laketop and Hawkins to provide an eerily colloquial backdrop to the key events of both storylines.

If you liked the everybody-knows-everybody feel of Hawkins in Stranger Things, you might enjoy the small town mystery setting of Top of the Lake.

Watch Top of the Lake on Netflix now.

Fringe

fringe

Plot

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have created the Fringe Division task force, which investigates unexplained and mysterious events related to a parallel universe. The team comprises Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop, and the show follows them as they use experimental, fringe science Top 5 Websites To Research Weird Science Claims Top 5 Websites To Research Weird Science Claims Read More to investigate “the Pattern”.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

The Upside-Down is portrayed much like a parallel universe in Stranger Things, with many of the same characteristics of the real world in place except covered in terrifying darkness and black goo.

In Fringe, the parallel universe isn’t quite as horrific, but it is definitely strange. Anyone who enjoyed the alternate reality aspect of Stranger Things should give Fringe a try.

Watch Fringe on Netflix now.

Freaks and Geeks

freaks and geeks

Plot

Freaks and Geeks follows the awkward teenage lives of Lindsay Weir and her younger brother Sam as they face the many challenges of middle- and high-school life. This hilarious and character-driven show is where many famous actors made their mark, including Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Philipps, and Jason Segel. Alas, the show was cancelled after one season, but its cult following lives on today.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

There are no reality-altering monsters or strange government facilities here. Instead, Freaks and Geeks is a nice complement to the 1980s setting of Stranger Things, with the entire season being based in the 1980–81 school year.

The show is also similar to Stranger Things in that Sam and his friend group are a lot like the D&D geeks 4 Fantastic Video Games Based On Dungeons And Dragons 4 Fantastic Video Games Based On Dungeons And Dragons If I mentioned tabletop RPGs to you, what is the first one that pops into your head? If I had to guess, I would assume you are thinking of Dungeons and Dragons. Sure, some people... Read More we recognize Mike Wheeler and his friends to be.

Watch Freaks and Geeks on Netflix now.

The Returned

the returned

Plot

Years after they died, several people suddenly reappear in their hometown. They don’t know they’ve died and they haven’t aged. They try to go back to living “normal” lives, but, when they do, a series of gruesome and inexplicable events begins to burden the town.

Based on the French series Les Revenants, The Returned was unfortunately cancelled after one season on A&E.

How It’s Like Stranger Things

The Returned has some of the same tensions that we see in Stranger Things:

In Stranger Things we see a group of normal kids trying to make sense of The Upside-Down and how or why it has taken their friends. In The Returned we see a clash between the living and the dead, with each trying to cope with the simultaneous presence (and loss) of the other.

There’s also the motif of dead characters coming back to life in The Returned and Will Byers’ death and re-discovery in Stranger Things.

Watch The Returned on Netflix now.

The X-Files

the x-files

Plot

FBI agent Dana Scully gets a new assignment working with fellow FBI agent “Spooky” Fox Mulder, who has a penchant for working on out-of-the-ordinary cases.

Teaming up, Mulder and Scully investigate strange case after strange case, many of which force Scully to question her otherwise rational explanations of criminal events.

How it’s like Stranger Things

Mulder and Scully (okay, mostly Mulder) are seen as weirdos by many of their fellow FBI agents, much like Mike and his friends are seen as outcasts in Stranger Things. However, as Mulder and Scully work together they develop a bond that fans of Stranger Things’ friendship motif might enjoy.

Oh, and then there’s the downright creepy cases that Mulder and Scully investigate with alarming regularity.

It’s not a stretch to say that The Upside-Down would fit in perfectly with the world of The X-Files.

Watch The X-Files on Netflix now.

What Will You Watch Next?

We fully expect Stranger Things to return with more seasons, because Netflix seems to know when it’s onto a winner. However, in the meantime these eight other similar TV shows should be enough to fill the void in your life.

Have you seen Stranger Things? If so, what did you think? Have you watched any of the TV shows we recommend above? If so, tell us which ones you think are the most comparable!

Image Credits:watching tv by guteksk7 via Shutterstock

  1. tvpromo
    November 23, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Hey Cathwrynn

  2. Jessica
    September 15, 2016 at 4:20 am

    I personally hate Twin Peaks, but I otherwise love every one of these suggestions. I would also include the show Harper's Island. And maybe even Haven. They don't have that great 80s vibe, but they do have that sci-fi/mystery feel. Also, skip The Returned and just watch Les Revenants. It is sooooooooo much better.

  3. Adam
    August 23, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I must say stranger things definitely used some ideas from the past such as species 8427 from the voyager series where they could travel to a parrel dimension which consisted of a similar fluid environment and creatures that appeared to be the same as in stranger things. Also a similar Alien process for breeding from the Alien movies. Other than that the show was clever and loved its use of the 80s themes, wardrobe, sets and characters. Very clever. Happy Wynonna had another shot of doing a great job.

  4. Faham
    August 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Twin peaks is obviously the trail blazer show that started this whole genre of spooky shows. Stranger things is almost set on the same template.

  5. Kmcm
    August 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Fringe is phenominal. Wayward pines is a good shout too.

  6. Derek Walsh
    August 10, 2016 at 8:03 am

    "As a forewarning, the first episode of Black Mirror is the least characteristic of the show."

    That's putting it mildly! Not for the faint-hearted, although definitely worth a watch.

    The first episode of Season 2, "Be Right Back" with Domhnall Gleeson is an incredible piece of television.

    • Kayla Matthews
      August 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Haha mild indeed, Derek! That show as a whole is so thoughtful and unsettling (in a good way), but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have second thoughts about continuing after the first episode. O.O

      And agreed! That's a really good episode. I also really liked Part 3 of "White Christmas", sad as it was.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  7. Joel Lee
    August 10, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Nice list! I love that you included Fringe. Starting with season 2, it's one of the best sci-fi shows I've ever watched. Highly recommend it.

    • Kayla Matthews
      August 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, Joel! I really wanted to include a variety of sci-fi, horror and straight-up 80s shows. Fringe seemed like a great fit for the sci-fi category. =)

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