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9 Shows Like Stranger Things to Watch While You Wait for Season 3

Does waiting for more Stranger Things have you stuck in The Upside Down? These series will fill the Hawkins-sized hole in your heart.

While it may already feel like a lifetime since Eleven reunited with Mike and the gang to save the world in season 2 of Stranger Things, fans of the Netflix original still have a long wait before returning to Hawkins, Indiana. The third season of the 80s-era favorite is rumored to be set for a summer 2019 release date, but an official date has yet to be announced.

But, never fear, A.V. clubbers! While you can’t watch new episodes of Stranger Things just yet, you can catch up on some stellar shows like Stranger Things. We’ve rounded up some of the spookiest, campiest sci-fi and fantasy television shows out there, and they’re all giving us major Hawkins vibes. 

Some have only been around for a few years and others are certified classics, but they all feature a good dose of the magic, the friendship, and the scares we’ve come to expect from Stranger Things

The OA

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: Netflix

Another Netflix original series we can’t get enough of, The OA packs a ton of mystery, horror and adorable teenage friendships into its first season. 

The show focuses on a young woman named Prairie Johnson, played by series creator Brit Marling, who resurfaces after a seven year disappearance with mysterious scars and memories of an imprisonment she refuses to talk about. 

Assembling together an unlikely group of allies to help her on her quest, she sets out to free one of the other captives by somehow journeying to another dimension. Prairie’s seemingly supernatural power isn’t unlike Eleven’s, and the perseverance with which the group works together to help a friend brings us back to Hawkins every time.

Twin Peaks

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: CBS Television Distribution

Before Stranger Things was even a figment of the Duffer Brothers’ imaginations, there was Twin Peaks. This David Lynch classic is the slightly unsettling, completely fascinating tale of a strange town. It captivated audiences in the 90s, and was a big inspiration behind modern series like Stranger Things. 

Similar to the disappearance of Will Byers, the first season of Twin Peaks centers on the untimely death of one of the town’s young residents: Laura Palmer. Through an investigation into what happened to her, FBI Agent Dale Cooper uncovers other sinister, unexplained phenomena taking over the town of Twin Peaks. 

Although the cult favorite only lasted for two seasons during its original run, the show did return in May 2017 as a limited series over 25 years after it first aired. There’s also a feature-length prequel film, the eerie and mystifying Fire Walk With Me

RELATED: These Scary Shows of the 90s Are Coming Back to Terrify a New Generation 


how gay is your geek tv sense8
  • Photo Credit: Via Netflix

If you find yourself drawn to Stranger Things because of the friendships at she show’s core, check out Sense8

Another Netflix original that captured the hearts of binge-watchers everywhere, Sense8 follows eight strangers who suddenly learn that they are mentally and emotionally linked through a psychic connection. 

They soon find that they are “sensates,” humans who can communicate through one another and share knowledge and skills. The diverse cast of characters go on to discover their power and uncover the truth about their identities, and the unique characters have audiences falling in love. 

Loyal fans were understandably devastated that Netflix chose to cancel the show in 2017 after just two seasons. However, due to an overwhelming response from the show’s dedicated audience, Netflix decided to greenlight the release of a new two hour finale special, which will air on June 8, 2018.

RELATED: 8 of the Best Sci-Fi Shows on Netflix This Month 

The Magicians

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: SyFy

Focusing on a group of magically-inclined friends that are a bit older than our Hawkins protagonists, this Syfy original series nevertheless showcases the strong bonds that form when young people are tasked with saving the world together. 

Taking place at a magical grad school in New York where a group of students discovers a powerful hidden kingdom, The Magicians is sort of like a grown-up version of Harry Potter crossed with The Chronicles of Narnia. The series isn’t afraid to be a bit edgy, to experiment with sex and drugs, and to test its main characters at every turn. After three seasons, the fun and fantastical show seems to have really found its voice.

RELATED: Inconceivably Great "The Princess Bride" Quotes 


shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: The WB

If you’re living for the blossoming romance between Mike and Eleven, you’re bound to love this WB classic, which explores what happens when romantic relationships form between regular humans and some very human-like aliens. 

Set place in the motherland of ufology, Roswell is a three-season gem that follows Liz Parker, an average high schooler who falls in love with Max Evans, a mysterious, brooding newcomer who also happens to be a powerful alien king from another planet. 

Roswell stars young Katherine Heigl as Max’s alien sister, and was created by TV legend Jason Katims (of Friday Night Lights fame). The show is just as ridiculous and campy as it is genuinely gripping. 

RELATED: This Airman Claims He Met Aliens from the Roswell UFO Incident 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffy the vampire slayer tv
  • Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television

Before Eleven became the face of undeniable and unapologetic television girl power, Buffy was out there slaying vampires and kicking the “damsel in distress” narrative to the curb. 

This Joss Whedon marvel is a cornerstone of genre television today, and has captivated audiences since it premiered on the WB in 1996. Buffy turned the trope of the clueless blonde final girl on its head by making Buffy the chosen one: the one person in all the land who could vanquish the powers of evil and stake any vampire who got in her way. 

During the show’s seven season run, though, Buffy learns that she doesn’t have to do everything alone. The friends and family who stand by her side are what make this show so memorable, and Buffy’s ability to inspire others makes her “Scooby gang” a pretty formidable team.

RELATED: 8 Romantic Vampire Movies That Will Quench Your Thirst 


shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: The CW

Although a little less supernatural than some of our other selections, Riverdale is another new show about a group of teens living in a strangely eerie town, traversing the mysteries of high school relationships and hiding sinister secrets. 

A dark take on the characters from classic Archie comics, Riverdale is a descendant of Twin Peaks with a hint of Gossip Girl. Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead may not be quite as innocent as Mike, Dustin, Lucas and company, but their antics fall right in line with the Nancy/Steve/Jonathan love triangle that heats up season 2 of Stranger Things. Come for the murder mystery, stay for angsty Cole Sprouse.

The X-Files

sci-fi TV series
  • Photo Credit: Fox

You can hardly make a good sci-fi show these days without referencing a mainstay like The X-Files, and Stranger Things is no exception. 

This Fox powerhouse dominated primetime TV in the 90s, producing 9 seasons and 2 movies worth of alien-powered goodness. The show even returned over 20 years later for (shortened) seasons 10 and 11, reminding the sci-fi community why they could never get enough of Mulder and Scully. 

The X-Files is dark, creepy, disturbing, funny, dramatic and downright gross at times, but just like Stranger Things, audiences return for the relationship between the main characters. There may never be another pair like Mulder and Scully, and whether you’re rooting for them romantically or not, there’s no denying that a love like theirs can only result from a partnership that lasts a lifetime.

RELATED: 10 Books for X-Files Fans 

Marvel's Runaways

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: Hulu

The one superhero-powered addition to this list, Runaways still centers on a group of young protagonists who must hone their powers, band together, and fight the forces of evil. It just so happens, though, that those evil forces are their parents. The show focuses on a group of teens discovering that their moms and dads are actually super villains, while simultaneously realizing that they might just have the power to stop them. 

Although the Hulu original has only been around for one season thus far, we’re already invested in the friendships and relationships blooming among the characters. Plus, Buffy alum and fan favorite James Marsters traded in his vampire fangs for a role as Victor Stein, one of the supervillain dads, and we’re certainly not complaining.

Featured still from "Stranger Things" via Netflix

Published on 30 Dec 2018

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