On 4th of July weekend, the third season of Stranger Things premiered on Netflix to record-high viewership numbers, according to both the streaming company and Nielsen. Chances are you were among those viewers, and if you started the show last weekend, you probably also finished it, as the eight-episode season was basically hand-crafted to be binge-watched.
But if that’s the case, a year is much too long to wait for your next monsters-and-nostalgia fix. so we’ve compiled a list of shows to watch to tide you over until Stranger Things 4 premieres...whenever that might be. And after these, check out our guide to the best shows on Netflix to widen your horizon.
For an intricate and addictive sci-fi mythology
What happens when you take Stranger Things, mix it with a little Lost and Twin Peaks, add a much denser mythology and make it German? Something like Netflix’s supernatural drama Dark. If that description is at all off-putting, don’t be intimidated; it’s well worth your time and benefits from a binge, as there are many characters who are slightly easier to keep track of if they’re fresh in your mind. With 18 episodes available over two seasons, you’ll fly through it in no time (trust us), but once you reach the mind-blowing season two finale, you’re gonna wish you had more.
(Note: Don’t watch the dubbed version, as Netflix will guide you to do. It is not good. Put those subtitles on like the grown adult you are.)
For a slightly more grown-up post-apocalypse
Instead of giant, fleshy baddies and supernatural demogorgons, the monsters are us in the CW’s long-running and fan-favorite The 100. After Earth is decimated due to nuclear radiation, a group of humans boards the space station Ark to begin a new chapter of civilization—and everything is relatively fine for nearly a hundred years, until overpopulation threatens the crew’s quality of life. So what do they do? Send 100 teen delinquents back down to Earth to see if any of the planet is still habitable. Unfortunately for those teens, they discover factions of people who survived and want to continue surviving...by any means necessary. If you’re into the romantic couplings in Stranger Things but want something a little hotter and heavier, not to mention more grounded horror, then this is the teen drama for you.
The Toys That Made Us
For pure ’80s nostalgia
Take a break from the monsters and let pure waves of nostalgia wash over you with this Netflix documentary show about, as its name implies, the toys we grew up with as kids. The show focuses on a different franchise (Star Wars, Star Trek, Hello Kitty) or brand (Lego, Barbie) each episode, and we guarantee you’ll scream, “OMG I HAD THAT” at least once while watching. Eight episodes are already out, and four more are on their way later this year that tackle Power Rangers, Wrestling, My Little Pony and TMNT.
Stephen King's It (1990)
For a classic without which Stranger Things wouldn’t exist
Following 2017’s It remake, there’s been a bit of a Stephen King movie renaissance, with a Pet Sematary remake having been released as well as a forthcoming Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep. But nothing tops the original television miniseries of It, starring Tim Curry as the eponymous It, aka the terrifying Pennywise the Clown. The decades-spanning miniseries drew in 30 million viewers, and its success helped pave the way for networks to take risks on other supernatural and horror dramas, such as The X-Files and Buffy. Although Bill Skarsgard does a great job reinventing Pennywise in the recent film, many still cite Tim Curry as their one and only kid-murdering, alien clown.
For even more Stephen King–inspired horror
Fans and non-fans of Stephen King alike will find something to love in Hulu’s Castle Rock, which presents a much darker—but no less intriguing—tale than Stranger Things. The show follows a death-row lawyer named Henry who gets wrapped up in the town of Castle Rock’s history and secrets after an inmate seemingly appears out of nowhere and tells the guards Henry’s name. Those who know Stephen King will recognize certain names, like Shawshank and Torrance, and there are hundreds of Easter eggs scattered throughout the ten-episode first season. But those who don’t know a thing about the horror auteur’s oeuvre will still appreciate plenty of the jump scares, mysteries and characters along the way. Season two is expected later this year and will add Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes of Misery fame.
For your next Netflix ’80s binge
Stranger Things 3 explored many themes of women empowerment and featured old and new women characters alike in greater-visibility roles, and those vibes are very much present in the totally tubular ‘80s wrestling extravaganza GLOW. Meet and fall in love with the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, inspired by real-life people, as they navigate the male-dominated professional wrestling circuit. You won’t find any aliens or monsters here, but you’re sure to keep the ’80s vibes goin’ strong and discover a new group of characters, led by Alison Brie (Mad Men, Community) to adore. As Eleven would say, it’s bitchin’.
For more small-town mystery
You’ve probably heard of Riverdale. After all, it became something of an overnight sensation early in its first season. But maybe you haven’t watched or haven’t kept up, and in that case, it’s time either to jump on the bandwagon or jump back on it, because season two is all sorts of dark and twisty. While season one is a pretty straightforward murder mystery and high school drama, season two introduces a creepy cult, a genuinely terrifying villain called the Gargoyle King and a D&D-esque game that causes the kids of Riverdale to become violent IRL and commit suicide. There’s a lot going on, and it’s a fun new supernatural and scary direction for the show.
For something more terrifying than the demogorgon
If you’re willing to trade the 1980s for the 1800s and want something a little (see: much) scarier than Stranger Things, we recommend AMC’s The Terror, one of the best and most underrated shows of 2018. As a Royal Navy expedition finds itself being hunted by a creature called “Tuunbaq,” we see members of the crew start disappearing one by one, and the men onboard start to suspect something supernatural is at play. The show takes many cues from John Carpenter’s The Thing, with an isolated, arctic setting and a close-knit crew on the edge of insanity. And although creature designs are hard to pull off, especially for a lower-budget TV show, we’re pretty sure you’re gonna s**t your pants once you see the Tuunbaq. AMC also recently announced that this will be an anthology series, with a new story titled The Terror: Infamy airing in August.