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12 Shows Like Stranger Things to Watch While You Wait for Season 4

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 the shocking conclusion to Stranger Things Season 3, fans still don't officially know when — or if — the Netflix Original will return for a fourth season. However, given the popularity of the 80s sci-fi series, it seems likely we'll return to Hawkins, Indiana for at least one more season. Of course, who knows how long we'll have to wait for the newest chapter in the Stranger Things saga. 

But never fear, A.V. clubbers! While you can’t watch new episodes of Stranger Things just yet, you can catch up on these 12 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.

RELATED: The Best Sci-Fi Shows on Netflix This Month 

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 

Castle Rock

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: Hulu

If you enjoy the many Stephen King Easter Eggs in Stranger Things then you’ll love Castle Rock, a Hulu Original series set in the fictional Maine town, Castle Rock, where King based much of his work. The first season of the anthology series looks at the town through the eyes of Henry Matthew Deaver (Andre Holland), an attorney who left home years ago under a cloud of suspicion and has returned to fulfill a strange request. 

Populated with characters inspired by or directly pulled from King works like Misery, Salem’s Lot, Shawshank Redemption, It, Dreamcatcher, and many more, Castle Rock is a dizzying exploration of the Stephen King expanded universe that also manages to be more than just the sum of its parts. Catch up on the first season now so you’ll be ready when Season 2 premieres on October 23rd, 2019. 

RELATED: The 10 Greatest Sci-Fi TV Series Ever 

Sense8

shows like Stranger Things

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 later released a two hour finale special, which aired on June 8, 2018.

RELATED: 7 Books Like Stranger Things 

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 four seasons, the fun and fantastical show seems to have really found its voice.

RELATED: Inconceivably Great "The Princess Bride" Quotes 

Supernatural

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: The CW

If you enjoy both the spookier aspects of Stranger Things and the relationships and character developments explored in the show, allow us to suggest Supernatural. This CW series has been on air for a staggering 14 seasons, but the upcoming 15th season will be its last, so there’s no better time for completionists to start watching. 

Supernatural follows brothers Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). The brothers lost their mother at a young age in a mysterious attack that was likely related to the business of their father John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a hunter of supernatural beings. Now that the boys have become men, their father has gone missing. Sam and Dean pile into a Chevy Impala for a cross-country odyssey in searching of their missing demon-hunting dad, and along the way wind up tangling with some supernatural foes of their own. Similar to the The X-Files, Supernatural is a satisfying blend of monster-of-the-week episodes as well as episodes which tie into the series’ overarching mythology. 

RELATED: Urban Fantasy 101: 10 Books to Get You Started 

Roswell

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: The WB

If you love the dynamic 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 

Riverdale

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.

RELATED: 5 Genre TV Love Triangles Fans Will Never Get Over 

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 

Dark

shows like Stranger Things
  • Photo Credit: Netflix

Like its fellow Netflix Original series Stranger Things, the inciting incident of German sci-fi series Dark is the disappearance of a young man, Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz). Mikkel's disappearance, and the suicide of a local man, unlock dangerous secrets that have been long-repressed by four families in the small town of Winden, Germany. 

Mikkel is not the first or last child to have disappeared from Winden, and a search reveals answers that lie in time-traveling conspiracies spanning generations, and in the mysteries kept by a nuclear facility deep in the woods. Like Stranger Things, Dark has a sci-fi mystery at its center, a mistrust of science and technology in the hands of authorities, and explores the determined love of families who can't stop searching for their missing loved ones. However, Dark doesn't have the same sense of humor as Stranger Things does — so look elsewhere if you need your sci-fi horror mysteries to be punctured with moments of levity. 

RELATED: 8 Chilling Sci-Fi Horror Movies  

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. 

The series features Buffy alum and fan favorite James Marsters who has traded in his vampire fangs for a role as Victor Stein, one of the supervillain dads, and we’re certainly not complaining.

RELATED: 9 Superhero Powers That Are Ridiculous 

Featured still from "Stranger Things" via Netflix

Published on 30 Dec 2018

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