There’s no other way to say it: I absolutely love Stranger Things. Each season has been an absolute joy to watch, and after watching Season 3 for the 2nd time through already, and having seen Seasons 1 and 2 three times each, I’m tapped out! I think it’s about time I look at other shows to watch – or rewatch, as the case may be!
I have to admit that I’m honestly not the biggest TV watcher anymore, so when I do find a show that really pulls me in, I know it’s something special – the early seasons of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad come to mind as some of my peak television watching moments. That being said, there are some truly incredible shows I’ve watched in recent years that have absolutely sucked me in and entertained me in ways I never would have expected – and today I want to share five of those shows with you. Here are five amazing television shows to dive into after Season 3 of Stranger Things!
Dark – Dark and one other show on this list feel the most like Stranger Things. In fact, many affectionately call Dark the “German Stranger Things“, and once you dive into it you’ll see why. I have to say, I think there is quite a bit that does stand out when comparing it to Netflix’s standout sci-fi summer hit, notably a much darker (apropos, since the show is literally called Dark) and grittier vibe. Overall, the show is incredibly well done, beautifully shot, and really is a tour-de-force the whole way through. So, if you can hang with a foreign language show with subtitles, and you love Stranger Things, setting aside a night to binge Dark is pretty much a no-brainer.
Westworld – Thematically, the HBO hit series is almost nothing like Netflix’s Stranger Things, but that doesn’t make Westworld any less impactful or enthralling for a TV watcher like myself. Westworld is arguably the flagship franchise for HBO now that Game of Thrones has bid us all adieu, and honestly, I think HBO is in pretty good hands seeing as the show had become an immense success and a fan-favorite even before GoT’s controversial conclusion. The first two seasons of Westworld were a cerebral mindblowing adventure, and with the excitement of the upcoming Season 3, and the inclusion of some rad new actors (namely Aaron Paul), it looks like it’s shaping up to be another amazing TV watching experience! Be sure to binge through Seasons 1 and 2 if you plan on watching Season 3 when it comes out sometime next year, though, because this is absolutely not a show you can miss even a single scene from and not go “wait WTF is going on?!” you know?
The Haunting of Hill House – Leaning more into the thriller/horror genre with The Haunting of Hill House, but I have to say I’m not sure there’s been a show in recent memory that pulled me in as quickly and unexpectedly as this one did. The show was expertly done, in my opinion, with amazing acting performances and some really tremendous atmosphere and world-building. Seriously, the ambiance, the score, the whole damn thing was just so good. It mixed the perfect blend of twists, turns, thrills, jump scares, jaw-dropping “holy crap” moments that you love to see from any kind of horror movie or show. And it was tastefully and respectfully done, too, and did a pretty good job not being just another cheap scare show. I can’t wait to see where they take Season 2, as they’re going more the American Horror Story anthology route (which I think is a great move for the series) with The Haunting of Bly Manor, which is set to release sometime in 2020.
Elfen Lied – Like the aforementioned Dark on Netflix, the anime Elfen Lied is the only other show on this list with close ties to Stranger Things. In fact, the Duffer brothers for the Netflix series have stated that they had some inspiration for Stranger Things, and more specifically for Millie Bobbie Brown’s character, Eleven, from the intense and violent anime. And once you’ve watched Season 1 of Stranger Things and Elfen Lied, you can definitely see where many of the show’s inspirations come from.
Elfen Lied follows the story of Lucy, a young girl experimented on and monitored due to a virus infecting her and giving her psionic powers. She escapes from the lab she’s being held in, uses her psionic powers to literally tear people limb from limb, only to find some friends and eventually try and use her powers for good – you know, that old chestnut! Seriously though, this anime is incredible – so long as you’re into the hyperviolent and graphic anime genre, because if you’re not, then you may want to pass on this one… But if you are, then watch the amazing Elfen Lied – and you’re essentially in for a much darker, much gorier, anime version of Stranger Things!
Hannibal – Okay, so I know that this show basically has nothing to do with Stranger Things – I mean, hey, Eleven likes to eat Eggo Waffles, and Hannibal likes to eat people… So, both shows have people eating… Stuff. That’s close enough, right? Right… Anyway! This show quickly become one of my absolute favorite television shows of all-time, and that was just after the first season. The acting is incredible (more on that shortly), it’s beautifully shot (I mean, they literally make food made from people look good), and it has an incredible score and ambiance that rivals almost any other show out there.
Regarding the acting, it’s a star-studded cast that does an incredible job modernizing Thomas Harris’ original work, with my favorite performance being Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of the titular villain, Hannibal Lecter. Seriously, Mads is so good in this show that when I think of the character Hannibal I don’t see Oscar-winning Sir Anthony Hopkins anymore, I see Mr. Mikkelsen – which is some seriously high praise. The show ended after three seasons, but in my opinion, it deserved so much more. But it was hard to get a large enough audience to watch such a violent and horrifying show on NBC, so despite it’s incredible scores on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, etc, three seasons is all we get – but it’s three amazing seasons you should watch ASAP! ***Fava beans and chianti not included***