There’s nothing quite as satisfying as paying a visit to Hawkins, Indiana. Stranger Things is just one of those shows that has perfected its formula to such an extent it can be declared a genuine crowd-pleaser (which is a true rarity in the age of streaming). Whether you tune in for the ’80s nostalgia, the blockbuster references, or the standout young cast, Stranger Things always delivers. Add in a mind-bending mystery and those pesky Demogorgans, and it’s no wonder the Netflix series has become such a phenomenon. But even the most ardent fan can’t survive on rewatching Eleven, Mike, and their pals taking on the Mind Flayer alone. Sometimes you just need something fun and new, and when that happens, why not try other shows like Stranger Things?
Here’s the thing: Stranger Things takes most of its inspiration from films, so if you’re looking for an exact match for the tone and feel of the show, then your best bet is to dive into Steven Spielberg’s back catalog, starting with 1982’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. But if you’re game to try a series that features many of the same elements that make the goings-on in Hawkins so compelling, we have you covered. From small towns hiding dark secrets to ragtag groups of young adults who face seemingly insurmountable odds on their own, the shows on this list capture the spirit of Stranger Things without being exact replicas.
With the wait between seasons getting longer and longer, everyone needs a few new shows to watch while we await Eleven’s triumphant return to Netflix. Luckily, the shows on this list will all give you major Stranger Things vibes, even though no fictional small town could ever replace Hawkins in our hearts. (Although Twin Peaks definitely comes close.)
Stranger Things Fans Will Get Lost In These Adventurous Shows
1. Dark (2017-2020)
Set both in modern times and in 1986, Dark is a German series about the mysterious disappearances of two children and how they connect to a small town’s dark secret. The series largely follows four families whose fates are intertwined, but Dark isn’t an easy show to sum up in a few lines. Thanks to its puzzle-box storytelling and intricate time-hopping plot, this show is truly one of a kind, and it will definitely draw in anyone who loves a good mystery.
2. I Am Not Okay with This (2020)
Netflix canceled this gem way too soon. The series follows Syd, an awkward teen who is trying to navigate her newfound superpowers and the perils of high school at the same time. And even though she hasn’t been forced to live like a lab rat, Syd will still remind you of Eleven in a major way.
3. Misfits (2009-2015)
Misfits is a British series set a world away from Hawkins, Indiana, but thanks to its sci-fi influences and talented young cast, it’s a perfect show for Stranger Things fans. The story kicks off when five disparate juvenile offenders bond after an electrical storm gifts them all with powers. From there, they end up embroiled in a series of mysteries that force them to realize just how much they need one another.
4. Ragnarok (2020- )
Set in a Norwegian town plagued by global warming, Ragnarok follows a young teen boy who is the reincarnation of Thor. The boy, Magne, is left with no choice but to challenge the most powerful family in town over the pollution their factories give off. There’s just one small problem: The family in question consists of Jötner (creatures from Norse mythology), who are posing as humans.
5. Outer Banks (2020- )
No, there’s nothing supernatural about Outer Banks (at least not yet), but the adventure series does serve up a compelling mystery and features a tight group of young friends. Also, much like Stranger Things, the series seems to draw inspiration from ’80s film classics like The Goonies, especially in its treasure hunt storyline.
Even More Shows to Stream If You Love Stranger Things
- The Society (2019)
- Wayward Pines (2015-2016)
- Locke & Key (2020- )
- Fringe (2008-2013)
- The X-Files (1993-2002)
- Twin Peaks (1990-1991; 2017)
- The OA (2016-2019)
- The Kettering Incident (2016)
- Eerie, Indiana (1991)
- Riverdale (2017)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
- Black Spot (2017- )
- American Horror Story: 1984 (2019)
- Dead of Summer (2016)
- The Returned (2012-2015)
- Lost (2004-2010)
- Raising Dion (2019- )
- The Outsider (2020)
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020)
- The Fades (2011)
- The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
- Supernatural (2005-2020)
- Nancy Drew (2019- )
- Just Add Magic (2015-2019)
- The A-List (2018- )