Top 10 Things to Watch If You Like Stranger Things



Top 10 Things to Watch If You Like Stranger Things

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nathan Sharp

Well that was good! Now what? Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things to Watch If You Like Stranger Things.

For this list, we're looking at movies and television shows that you should watch if you liked the aesthetics, themes, and story of Netflix's “Stranger Things.”

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Well that was good! Now what? Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things to Watch If You Like Stranger Things.

For this list, we're looking at movies and television shows that you should watch if you liked the aesthetics, themes, and story of Netflix's “Stranger Things.”

#10: “Stand by Me” (1986)

“Stand by Me” was adapted from a Stephen King novella titled “The Body,” and if you know anything about “Stranger Things,” you'll know that The Duffer Brothers lifted heavily from King's body of work (no pun intended). “Stand by Me,” tells the story of four young boys who set off on an adventure to locate a missing child's body. The camaraderie of middle-school-aged children is in full swing here, as are the relatively adult-themed situations they find themselves in. Like “Stranger Things,” it is about friendship and adventure, although it's also grounded in a more realistic story.

#9: “Midnight Special” (2016)

Like Stephen King, Spielberg and his movies were an enormous influence on “Stranger Things.” While “Midnight Special” wasn't directed by Mr. Spielberg - credit there goes to rising talent Jeff Nichols - it still tells a similar story and has comparable aesthetics to the influential director's filmography. The story centers on a child with unexplainable powers who is chased by both the government and a cult. The parallels to Eleven's story are obvious, and the movie contains many wondrous and emotional moments that stem from the child's power. It's Spielberg for a new generation.

#8: “The OA” (2016-)

“The OA” received a somewhat mixed reception upon release, but you should find at least some enjoyment here if you're a fan of “Stranger Things.” The story follows a once-blind woman who has regained her sight as she returns home after spending seven years being declared missing. When it was released, “The OA” was immediately compared to its sister series, as both aired on Netflix, are a hodgepodge of fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural, and feature a mysterious protagonist. If you liked the mysteries of “Stranger Things,” you owe it to yourself to give “The OA” a shot.

#7: “Poltergeist” (1982)

By this point, if you haven't seen “Poltergeist,” you haven't experienced home-grown horror at its finest. The movie is about a suburban family whose daughter is abducted and taken to another plane of existence by hostile ghosts. The plot comes from Steven Spielberg himself, and it definitely shows, hitting on many Spielbergian tropes, including a quiet family and supernatural occurrences disrupting a normal suburban life. While “Stranger Things” didn't venture quite as much into horror, it still mirrors the movie in many ways, including the suburban setting, and the existence of another dimension from which someone must be rescued.

#6: “It” (1990)

Both the miniseries and the 2017 movie are adaptations from Stephen King's classic novel, and if we've learned anything from this list so far, it's that “Stranger Things” is basically a Spielberg movie mixed with a Stephen King story. “It” follows similar themes to “Stand by Me” and “Stranger Things,” including childhood friendship, coming-of-age, and adventure, only with an alien entity which shape-shifts and violently murders children. While it may be a little dated and corny today, “It” is definitely worth a watch if you're craving some more childhood nostalgia mixed with genuine scares.

#5: “Wayward Pines” (2015-16)

If you're going to tackle this show about a Secret Service agent investigating disappearances in the odd titular town, we recommend you watch the first season only. It is suitably creepy and mysterious, and it offers a satisfying conclusion. “Stranger Things” creators the Duffer Brothers actually wrote for this show during its first season, and the similarities don't end there. Both shows follow mysterious occurrences in a quaint and picturesque town, and both have similar visual styles, especially during the creepy scenes. Think of it as the Duffers' practice run, and you'll love it.

#4: “The X-Files” (1993-2002; 2016-)

Despite some special effects that haven't aged well, “The X-Files” blazed the trail for supernatural-based television, and it's definitely worth a watch if you're feeling up to the momentous task. The series centers on two FBI agents who investigate supernatural and unexplainable phenomena, aka the titular X-Files. This show has everything that makes “Stranger Things” so tantalizing and addictive, including mysterious goings-on, monsters, shady government groups, conspiracies, and cover-ups. In short, if you enjoyed the science fiction aspect of “Stranger Things,” then “The X-Files” is essential viewing.

#3: “Super 8” (2011)

Even though “Super 8” is a modern movie written and directed by science fiction all-star J.J. Abrams, at its heart it's an old-school Spielberg flick through and through. The film follows a group of ambitious kids who are filming a movie when a train derails and unleashes a monster onto their small suburban town. The movie contains everything that makes both Spielberg's work and “Stranger Things” so memorable, including strong child performances, inventive visuals, and elements of nostalgia. In fact, you could say that “Super 8” was “Stranger Things” before “Stranger Things.” It set out to capture the magic and wonder of Spielberg for a new generation, and it does so admirably.

#2: “The Goonies” (1985)

We'll give you one guess as to who created the story for “The Goonies!” If you guessed Steven Spielberg, pat yourself on the back. “The Goonies” follows a group of children who find an old map, which in turn leads them on an adventure to find the treasure of a 17th-century pirate. A fun throwback to the journeys we used to embark on as children during summer vacation, it'll make you ache for the past. This one touches on all the Spielberg tropes, including childhood, adventure, friendship, family, and sentiment, and it does it in an exciting and nostalgic manner. This was the 80s at its most fun.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Misfits” (2009-13)
- “Eerie, Indiana” (1991-92)
- “Search Party” (2016-)

#1: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)

All the aforementioned themes come to a head with “E.T.,” which is basically “Stranger Things: The Movie.” “E.T.” centers on a group of children who discover and befriend an alien, similar to Mike and his friends discovering and befriending Eleven. It also touches on many of the same themes and story beats, like small town adventure, a mysterious government agency, the 80s, and keeping secrets from parental figures. Even the scene where Eleven flips the van with her mind is a direct homage to the movie. In fact, “Stranger Things” is basically “E.T.” spread over eight hours, only with a human instead of an alien.